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Abstract: This excerpt from Richard Neustadt's lecture "Presidents, Politics and Analysis" is written in the style of the Neustadt and May's "Thinking in Time" cases, with their emphasis on the use of historical analogy in considering policymaking. This excerpt specifically explores the mindset of American presidents--it mentions Truman, Kennedy, Ford and Reagan--when confronted with a foreign policy crisis. Neustadt advances the idea that, in crisis situations, presidents take on a role akin to that of sovereigns--and that a "sovereign's thinking sometimes points a different way from political thinking."
Learning Objective: This brief but provocative caselet, through the incorporation of pointed quotations from various chief executives, allows students to explore whether and why they agree with Neustadt's assertion.