Decision researchers describe a “prominence effect” that leads decision makers to choose an option with more defensible attributes when quantitative assessment of those options is difficult. Prominence is hypothesized as a factor in US policy decisions not to use military force to prevent or stop humanitarian crises. Prominence is also regarded as a behavioral failure affecting both the general public and public officials that can be mitigated to improve welfare outcomes in transnational security decisions. This article—by David G. Delaney and Paul Slovic—considers those hypotheses as they relate to attorneys advising the US president and other senior public officials addressing transnational security issues. It proposes a combination of institutional, organizational, and individual steps to mitigate prominence and related behavioral failures.
In light of recent foreign cyber-assaults that have jeopardized personal privacy in the United States, it is time for individuals to explore opportunities for private suits against foreign governments. In the first attempt to do this, Doe v. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the courts found that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act barred suit under the Wiretap Act’s private cause of action and the common law tort of intrusion upon seclusion. Kurland posits that either a new exception should be added to the FSIA to ameliorate this legal lacuna.
David Jonas and Dyllan Taxman’s insightful article— “JCP-No-Way: A Critique Of The Iran Nuclear Deal As A Non-Legally-Binding Political Commitment” —examines the Iran Nuclear Deal and its place in prior US arms treaties.
By positioning the Iran Nuclear Deal within the historical context of past agreements, American treaty-making, and national and international political norms, the authors conclude that the use of a non-binding political commitment to rein in Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions was both novel and inappropriate.
Instead, the authors argue that the Obama Administration should have used one of the available legally binding agreement options when negotiating with Iran. While the Trump Administration has since withdrawn from the Iran Nuclear Deal, this article highlights the importance of the US prioritizing future arms agreements that carry the force of law.