Thirteen Days

The movie “Thirteen Days” is a movie about a series of discussion President of the United States of America goes through to resolve its political issues with Soviet Union. I have mentioned a list of decision-making traps and decision-making practice as follows.

Decision Making Traps

The Status Quo Trap

There were instances of this kind of Trap in the movie. First, Dean expressed that the Soviets understand only one language Action, respects only one word force. Second, the Joint Chiefs continually insisted the President to go for military measures and invade Cuba. Third, Rusk questioned the President on the culture of Unanimous vote.

Sunk-Cost Trap

An example of Sunk-Cost Trap is here. The President is found saying, “And here we are, fifty years later. One of their ships resists the inspection. We shoot out its rudder and board. They shoot down our planes in response. We bomb their anti-aircraft sites in response to that. They attack Berlin. We invade Cuba. They fire their missiles. We fire ours.”

Framing Trap

The following part of the movie is related to Framing Trap.

Our early analysis says this was probably written by Khruschev himself. It is a first draft, and shows no signs of being polished by the foreign ministry. In fact, it probably has not been approved by the Politburo. They would not have let the emotionalism go by. The analysts say someone under considerable stress wrote it.

Estimating Trap

Estimating traps were detected in the following instances. Dean said, “I hope that the cooler heads will prevail before the next step.” This shows lacks of willingness change his earlier perceptions even after debate. In addition, Bobby told Stevenson should have learnt a lesson from World War II on his proposal of a political solution.

Decision Making Practices

Multiple Alternatives

The key members, principals, the executive committee of the National Security council were sought to give their alternatives throughout out the movie. This practice lead to a lot of decisions and some of those incidents are mentioned below.

Bob said to Bobby that 6 months ago they gamed out a scenario. He mentioned it was slow and would not get rid of the missiles. And, the scenario called for a blockade. In one of the meetings, Adhlai clarifies the similarity in risks for the 2 options offered by the members while endorsing his view on the importance of back channel as the third option to deal with the situation.

Assumption Testing

One of the incidents I believe to be of Assumption testing is here. “If we go ahead with these air strikes, you know what it will come to in the end. Bobby to Bob said there is got to be something else, give it to me.”

President made second assumption testing remark as follows. Those aren’t just missiles we’ll be destroying. We kill Soviet soldiers, and they will respond. How would we respond if they killed ours? No, they will do something, General, I promise you that.  In addition, I believe it’ll be Berlin.

Well-defined Criteria (To select a good decision)

This has been one of the good aspects of the president. Here, the criteria set for taking a decision is based on peaceful initiatives (without using nuclear weapons). In addition, facts and evidences were sought after every opinion in the meetings. There was a clear distinction of roles among the various members which made the decision making process easier and selective.

Furthermore, in one of the group discussions, Admiral Anderson clarified rules of engagement for ships that do not follow the quarantine in a meeting.

Dissent & Debate

Dissent and debate was an aspect of almost all meetings organized in the movie. All the people in the meetings presented their views whenever they had a view.

Perception of Fairness (Reasonably accepts or reject)

I would like to present the cases with Perception of Fairness. First, President clearly denied Dean’s argument that the cooler heads would prevail before the next stage. Second, the decision of the President to cancel trip to Connecticut was rejected by Kenny and Bobby. Third, President rejected the guarantee of getting all the missile through surgical strike when mentioned by Cam. Fourth, Mcnamara proposed that they don’t shoot over a freighter that they suspected to be full of baby food.

Finally, I would like to conclude that the movie “Thirteen Days” contains a series of dissent and debate. The use of inquiry over advocacy is very visible from the President’s perception. In addition to that, various decision-making traps were dealt and decision-making practices were exercised to make the preparations effective and to deal with the political turmoil.

Categories: Opinion


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *