Harnessing Conflict in Foreign Policy Making: From Devil's to Multiple Advocacy



When making (foreign)policy, presidents must navigate between twin dangers: excessive conformity and destructive conflict among the policy advocates. The notions of devil's and multiple advocacy are reexamined in light of three decades of research in political science and psychology as coping strategies for dealing with these dangers. Devil's advocacy is of some help in promoting diversisity and mitgating tendencirs toward conformity, despite serious implementation difficulties. A substantial body of conceptual and empirical work bearing on the assessment of the more comprehensive multiple advocacy work has accumulated since its formulation in 1972. The main findings are (I) that practices associated with multiple advocacy have indeed contributed to improving and uncovering avoidable errors, (2) that the implementation of multiple advocacy has been uneven (which makes evaluation difficult), and (3) a number of suggestions for fine-tuning the prescriptive model and specfing conditions conducive to its effective application.