Stability and Change in Belief Systems: The Operational Code of George W. Bush From Governor to Second Term President. Journal of Conflict Resolution 52, no. 6: 820-849.Abstract. 2008.
Cognitive frameworks and belief systems are the primary lenses through which presidents view the world. Two important questions are whether these beliefs ever change signiﬁcantly, and if so, what causes these changes? This article develops empirical data on the strategic and operational beliefs of President George W. Bush (GWB) as a means of examining the theoretical basis for how and why core beliefs change. The author analyzes the foreign policy operational code of President Bush in four separate phases of his political career: the immediate prepresidential phase; his nine months in ofﬁce prior to September 11, 2001; the six months immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks; and his last year in ofﬁce as a second-term president. The results of this article allow us to address several recurring questions that concern the Bush administration and presidents’ belief systems and decision making. They challenge traditional interpretations of the Bush presidency and provide some insights into the causal mechanisms that underlie belief change.