Foreign Policy Formation

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The law of motion captures our intuition about how the consequences of conflict and cooperation unfold in the real world. It formalizes something about how we naturally think about power struggles, even if we've never visualized it in that particular way before. The law of motion alone, however, is limited in what it can tell us about a system of agents, because it is based on the artificial assumption that none of the agents ever changes their relationships. In the real world, agents constantly alter their foreign policies in order to improve their position within a power structure. It is to this process — foreign policy formation — that we now turn.

This section covers:

  1. Quantitative Realism as a Game
  2. The Utility Function
  3. PrinceRank
  4. The Implications of PrinceRank
  5. Legal Moves
  6. Move Selection
  7. Move Sequences and Distributions
  8. The Effect of Institutions

There are other ways of reasoning about foreign policy formation that we have not (yet adequately) explored, such as machine learning, Axelrod-style computational tournaments, and mathematical game theory.

Our implementation assumes that when deciding what move to make, agents consider only the current power structure. One might generalize this and instead allow agents to consider not just the present power structure but its full history as well.

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