Crisis escalation is the process whereby each side in turn increases the scope of an international crisis or the violence of an international conflict in the hope that its adversary's self-imposed limits will be reached before its own.
President Kennedy, during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, deliberately escalated the crisis to the point where any further escalation exceeded the self-imposed limits of the former Soviet Union; and his administration also developed an explicit doctrine of controlled escalation to give credibility to the posture of the USA of extended deterrence in western Europe. The USSR then embraced a similar policy regarding the relation to a NATO attack on Warsaw Pact countries. President Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative was also an example of crisis escalation.
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