A Framework for Exploring Escalation Control

by William M. Jones


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An attempt to characterize specific crises in a way that permits an orderly study of alternative steps in a given crisis and rough comparisons among crises. One reason is to predict the utility of actual or proposed weapons systems. Another is to understand features of crisis management--e.g., the exploration of escalatory steps--so that recurrent stopping places short of mutual suicide may be identified. This report focuses on the interactions--the levels of tension--that develop between the United States and the USSR in crises, e.g., the Yom Kippur War. The approach is to view the crisis as a system subject to change by the actions of either or both superpowers and in some cases by third parties. The kinds of political and military moves a superpower can make are identified and depicted in a series of ordinally arranged matrices.

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