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The Cultural Ideology model

Graham Allison, describes three models of evaluating and understanding state actions. Model 1 is the rational actor model which posits government action as a rational choice out of the many possible options. Model 2 is the Organisational process model which explains government action as an output of the various organisations that operate within it and their decisions. Model 3 is the government political model which explains government action as the resultant of political pulls & pressures at the time of decision making. The conclusion is that while we tend to look at decisions as being of Model 1 simplistically, it is more likely an output from model 2 and 3 as well. He admits to not knowing where one ends and the other begins.

Let’s take the example of the current crises in the Maldives. Chinese presence in the country is a strategic concern for India. The Maldives has forged deep co-operation with China and Saudi Arabia. India cant afford to let China establish a base in its backyard. Hence India is now on the back foot. It’s a suitor who has lost out to China so far.

Incidentally, Its president Abdulla Yameen had also clamped emergency on 5th Feb and extended for further 30 days unilaterally after jailing all his opposition and Judges who ruled against him. He has practically turned the island nation into a dictatorship. So there aren’t enough independent organisational output in the nation for a model 2 analysis nor is there a political opposition to allow for an effective model 3 analysis inside his country.

Model 4 — The Cultural Ideology model

The Maldives is a predominantly Muslim country, contributing more Islamic radicals, to terror groups, per capita than any other country in the world. Under the influence of Saudi Arabia, Salafism has crept into universities and being institutionalised by the Islamic ministry post the transition to democracy in 2008. It has a leader who is bulldozing opponents and alleged mouthpiece newspapers in his country are spewing venom against India. It’s interesting to note that the new friendship with China has nothing to do with cultural affinity. You cant pin the hostility to the current President as well. For instance, the airport building deal with an Indian company was repudiated in November 2012. It can not be put down to political views of Abdulla Yameen alone who took office in 2013.

Is it possible then that a cultural and ideological model can help unravel the levers we can use to get the Maldives back to its India First policy which has virtually been abandoned? I posit that analysing the changing contours of ideology along with cultural biases, of the country and its people, can provide some answers. This model will also help us find the right levers of influence in policy.

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Source URL: Medium

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