Although I admit this is an oversimplification of the actions taken in a very tough diplomatic and militaristic time, I believe that this flowchart effectively encompasses a great deal of the US thought process that seems to have gone on during the Cold War. Much of the decisions were based on assumptions and resulted in economic and psychological damage on both sides of the issue. This is also supposed to represent the ineffectiveness of the US action, and the ultimate end of the communist regime by its own collapse, rather than the involvement of foreign countries, namely the US.
Kennedy, David M., Lizabeth Cohen, and Thomas A. Bailey.
The American Pageant: A History of the Republic. 11th
ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.