An international “crisis” is the anxious space between peace and war. It is defined by three things: time, threat, and the likelihood of violence. The shorter the time, the greater the sense of threat to important interests, and the greater the chance of physical harm, the more intense the crisis. By definition, it cannot go on indefinitely: like the analogous medical term, it’s the point at which things must get better or worse. The July crisis of 1914 lasted only weeks, for example, but plunged the Great Powers into their first global war.
Mikoyan wrote that the military’s position “staggered” him, and Soviet civilian leaders, aghast, squashed the idea quickly. With both sides looking to make Vietnam a larger fight, however, it’s lucky that the spring of 1965 didn’t turn out to be a lot hotter than it already was.