Federico Maiocchi


Federico Maiocchi




I was born in Milan, Italy, on september, 9th, 1985. In december 2008, I got a degree in Political Science from the Università Statale di Milano, with a thesis in International Relations titled “The Influence of a Nuclear North Korea on the U.S.-Japan Alliance”, under the supervision of Prof. Alessandro Colombo. From 2010 to 2012 I followed the course of International Relation of Università Statale di Milano, and I had a Master Degree in International Relations on march, 2012, with a thesis in International Relations Theory with Prof. Alessandro Colombo, titled “Impact of Ideological Factors on the Post Bipolar International System’s Stability”. Since december, 2012, I am PhD Candidate at the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (SUM), and then in the Scuola Normale Superiore, with a research project about the relation between ideological factors and the decision making process of the Bush Administration during the post conflict management in the iraqi war of 2003.


Supervisor: Prof. Alessandro Colombo and Prof. Claudius Wagemann


Provisional title of the PhD research: Ideology and decision making processes: the case of the US military occupation of Iraq in 2003


Research project

The main focus of my PhD concerns the analysis of the relationship between the military foreign policy decision-making process of the United States and how ideology of a given decision making group could affect the outcome of the political decision during the Iraqi war of 2003. In this sense, the research question is the following: does the ideology of a particular unit, whether it be a particular U.S. department or even a single individual within it, had a relevance in influencing the decision-making process that led subsequently to the decision to adopt particular strategies after the military intervention in Iraq? The relation between ideology, belief systems, perceptions and decision making processes has been sufficiently analysed, in particular in the fields of foreign policy analysis and political psychology. Through the use of an explaining-outcome process tracing, my project aims to test if the ideology of the Bush’s administration, and the Department of Defense in particular, played a decisive role in shaping the U.S. post conflict management in Iraq. It is assumed, therefore, that ideology has a direct influence on a given set of outputs, which in this project is represented by three different strategic decisions during the military campaign in Iraq: the first one concerns the number of troops involved in the control and Iraqi’s land management during the post-conflict phase. The second one concerns the way in which the United States has decided to deal with the political faction defeat, i.e. the Ba’th Party. The third one regards the decision to dismember the Iraqi’s army and rebuild it during the postconflict phase. In order to test this hypothesis, I will apply the “group think” model proposed by Irving Janis in 1977. This model can be applied to what Janis describe as “political fiascos”, i.e. a decision making process that produces outcomes directly opposed to what was intended to be by the decision makers, which is a situation undoubtedly applicable to the one considered in my research project.