International crisis

An international crisis is a crisis between nations. There are many definitions of an international crisis. Snyder "...a sequence of interactions between the governments of two or more sovereign states in severe conflict, short of actual war, but involving the perception of a dangerously high probability of war". [Snyder, Glenn H. and Diesing, Paul: 1977. Conflict Among Nations: Bargaining, Decision Making and System Structure in International Crises. defines an international crisis]


Lebow gives a breakdown of three types of international crises:
* Justification of Hostilities. [Lebow, Richard N.:1981. Between Peace and War: The Nature of International Crisis.] One of the nations decides, before the crisis starts, to go to war and constructs a crisis to justify it. The pattern of justificaion is almost always the same: Rouse public opinion, make impossible demands, try to legitimize the demands, deny your real intentions then employ the rejection of the demands as a reason for war. A recent example, commonly employed by critics of George W. Bush, is the Iraq disarmament crisis, which precipitated the Iraq War.
* Spinoff Crisis. The nations are involved in a war or crisis with another nation or nations and this precipitates another crisis, e.g. the Lusitania incident in 1915.
* Brinkmanship. Intentionally forcing a crisis to get the other side to back down. The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is a well-known example of brinkmanship.

With the exception of a justification of hostilities, the study of international crises assumes that neither side actually wants to go to war, but must be visibly prepared to do so. In the words of Groucho Marx, "Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it".


George's book presents an overview of the process and conflicting goals of crisis management as well as many examples. [George, Alexander L (ed): 1991. Avoiding War: Problems of Crisis Management.] He discusses a number of strategies, including:

Offensive strategies

*limited and reversible response
*controlled pressure
*fait accompli

Defensive strategies

*limited escalation
*test of capabilities
*"drawing a line"
* Buying time strategy
* Conveying commitment and resolve to avoid miscalculation by the adversary

List of defused crises

International crises tend to result in war, almost by definition; they are then remembered best not as crises but as causes of wars. For information on international crises that resulted immediately in war, see List of wars.

Given the above, some of the crises that are best-known "as crises" were defused. The following crises did not immediately provoke large-scale violence, but set of anger in countries:

*Anglo-Portuguese Crisis (1889-1890)
*Fashoda Incident (1898-1899)
*First Moroccan Crisis (1904-1906)
*Bosnian crisis (1908-1909)
*Agadir Crisis (1911)
*Remilitarization of the Rhineland (1936)
*Anschluss (1938)
*Sudetenland Crisis (1938)
*Iran crisis (1946-1947)
*Berlin Blockade (1948-1949)
*Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
*"Pueblo" incident (1968)
*Damansky Island Crisis (1969)
*Axe Murder Incident (1976)
*Beagle conflict (1978)
*Iran hostage crisis (1979)
*Able Archer 83 (1983)
*2001 Indian Parliament attack (2001)

Ongoing crises

*Iran international crisis
*World food price crisis
*World petroleum crisis
*Global Warming

ee also

*International relations
*Crisis management


# Snyder, Glenn H. and Diesing, Paul: 1977. Conflict Among Nations: Bargaining, Decision Making and System Structure in International Crises. ISBN 0-691-05664-1
# Lebow, Richard N.:1981. Between Peace and War: The Nature of International Crisis. ISBN 0-8018-2311-0
#George, Alexander L (ed): 1991. Avoiding War: Problems of Crisis Management. ISBN 0-8133-1232-9

External links

* [ International Crisis Behavior Project's Data Viewer] Searchable analyses of 447 crises from 1918-2005

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