mutual assured destruction

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mutual assured destruction:

see nuclear strategynuclear strategy,
a policy for the use of nuclear weapons. The first atomic bombs were used in the context of the Allies' World War II policy of strategic bombing. Early in the cold war, U.S.
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mutual(ly) assured destruction (MAD)

(STRATEGIC THEORY) a situation where the nuclear arsenals of opposed nation states or alliances are approximately equivalent in capacity and invulnerability so that:
  1. neither could inflict sufficient damage on the other to immobilize it and prevent a retaliatory attack; and
  2. unacceptably high levels of destruction would inevitably result for both parties to the conflict if one were to launch an attack given that mechanisms for automatic retaliation are built-in to defence systems. Thus, assuming rational behaviour, the outcome of MAD was theorized to be that no attack will occur. Apart from the ever-present risk of nuclear war happening by accident, a further weakness of strategic thinking based on MAD is that it encouraged a continuous escalation of the ARMS RACE, including attempts to design defensive systems (e.g. the so-called ‘Star Wars’ programme) which would allow the possibility of victory in a nuclear war (see also SECOND STRIKE CAPABILITY). A further strategic option which earlier had also led to escalation of the arms race was the doctrine of ‘flexible response’: that in situations of limited attack, the ability to deliver an exactly appropriate level of response is required. This also led to the proliferation of new categories of nuclear weapons. see also NUCLEAR DETERRENCE.
References in periodicals archive ?
This research project resulted in the dawning of the Atomic Age and the destruction of two Japanese cities, ending the Second World War and ushering in the Cold War era threat of mutually assured destruction by nuclear war.
This review offers a much needed opportunity for NATO to shed its archaic policies of Cold War brinkmanship and mutually assured destruction and to become part of the most significant security trend of the 21st century: nuclear disarmament.
A draw could mean mutually assured destruction and at least one big derby game next term.
Indeed, Bernard Lewis, the dean of Islamic studies, has said that to someone with the religious views of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, mutually assured destruction is "not a deterrent; it's an inducement.
MAD - Mutually assured destruction for new weapon technology fits nicely.
It is a huge expense but, as we have had a kind of peace for the last 50 years, based on Mutually Assured Destruction.
It could prove a fascinating example of mutually assured destruction.
Richelson gives us good reason to long for the good old days, when all we had to worry about was mutually assured destruction.
At that point of mutually assured destruction, rest assured it will not be war, but peace that obsesses the policymakers.
RAND's interest in game theory was also responsible for popularizing ideas like mutually assured destruction and the prisoner's dilemma.
IN reply to John Hamilton's letter on the nuclear deterrent, it is a fact that, since 1945, the nuclear deterrent and the policy of mutually assured destruction have prevented a world war.
In the Cold War, we deterred Soviet aggression through a policy of mutually assured destruction.