The Cuban Missile Crisis Essays

The Cuban Missile Crisis Essays

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Introduction
Game Theory, originally derived from the subject of Mathematics, aims to provide a way to understand strategic social interactions; such as in the case of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It can be understood as the study and explanation of strategically, mutually-dependent actions and decisions (strategies), made by what are assumed to be ‘rational’ decision-makers (players) in competitive conditions that involve both conflictual and cooperative options (games); where the objective of each player is to achieve the most desirable outcome from a set of potential outcomes (payoffs) (Carlson & Dacey 2013; Myerson 1991; Prisner 2014; Turocy 2001). Despite being a mathematical theory, its application in international relations has been prominent in order to explain the interactions, and help in the decision-making process for certain diplomatic situations; notably in terms of why states may seemingly illogically participate in war when the potential costs are presented to be much higher than the potential rewards.

The thirteen-day crisis essentially embodies the peak of confrontation and conflict between the United States (US) and the Soviet Union (USSR) during the time of the Cold War. The Cuban Missile Crisis is therefore extremely fitting to use as a case study for analysis in order to determine the practical usefulness of Game Theoretic proposals, models, and applications. Two basic models; Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) and Chicken, will be individually demonstrated in the form of a payoff matrix in order to analyse the crisis. The aim of this is to determine the usefulness of applying game theoretical models to a real-life situation of conflict, as applying the example models to the case study will also help in highlighting the ...


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...ould have been more attractive to both players; which would therefore lead to another symmetrical result. Assuming, for example, that the USA has information about the Soviet Union adopting option C, the best option for the USA is to adopt option B. This is because the payoff for the USA adopting the conflictual option B is 4, while the payoff for adopting a more cooperative option A is 3. On the other hand, assuming that the USA has information about the Soviet Union adopting option D, the best option for the USA would still be to adopt option B. This is because the payoff for adopting option B is 2, while the payoff for adopting option A is 1. The payoff matrix therefore demonstrates a flaw in in the Prisoner’s Dilemma model of the theory, as what is presented to be the most likely option to be adopted was not the payoff that occurred in 1962 event (Straffin 1993).

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