Studies of crisis generally focus on the extraordinary stresses and strains impeding effective decision-making. This book suggests that poor decision-making is less important than the narrowing of political feasible options. The character of a crisis issue can unleash powerful domestic political forces which push leaders towards confrontation. Their military signals of resolve must be explained and justified in terms of the issue at stake in the dispute. How such justification strengthens national resolve depends on how that issue resonates with national culture. The author treats leaders as political role players with more or less confrontational obligations, rather than as disembodied actors able to tackle policy problems as though they were personal ones. The book dissects crisis-decision-making analysis, and explores the political triggers of escalation through a comparative analysis of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the Middle East crisis of 1973 , the Cyprus crisis of 1974 and the Falklands/Malvinas crisis of 1982.
Hobson's choice - an introduction; the neglect of politics; the Falklands/Malvinas crisis (case study I); the political characterization of crisis; the Cuban missile crisis (case study II); the 1973 Middle East crisis (case study III); the 1974 Cyprus crisis (case study IV); conclusion.