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Game Theory, Diplomatic History and Security Studies$
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Frank C. Zagare

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198831587

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198831587.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 July 2021

A General Explanation of the Cuban Missile Crisis

A General Explanation of the Cuban Missile Crisis

(p.83) 5 A General Explanation of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Game Theory, Diplomatic History and Security Studies

Frank C. Zagare

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops a new explanation of the Cuban missile crisis, from a general escalation model of interstate conflict. Specifically, the equilibrium structure of the Asymmetric Escalation Game with incomplete information is used to explain the initiation, development, and resolution of the crisis. This model brings with it a clear set of theoretical expectations about the conditions under which a limited conflict can occur. It also explains why intense interstate disputes occur and, if and when they do, they are successfully resolved (or not). Answers to all three of the foundational questions traditionally associated with the crisis are derived from an examination of the model’s strategic dynamic. The model’s applicability to the strategic relationship of the United States and North Korea is also discussed.

Keywords:   Cuban missile crisis, limited conflict, escalation, North Korea, United States

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