mutual assured destruction

(redirected from Mutual deterrence)

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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Any belief in India that its military adventurism has 'worked' could erode the stability of mutual deterrence which Pakistan's military response of Feb 27 re-established.
From a different point of view, Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafiz writes in the privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper that irrespective of Israel's military superiority, the Palestinian resistance was able to foster the balance of mutual deterrence not only through a military scandal for the Israelis but also by shaking their internal politics.
The definition of Strategic Stability has turned around primarily around the maturity of relations of mutual deterrence. It is neither simple nor static, but it can be viewed broadly as the result of effective deterrence.
There will be more meetings, probably including a Kim visit to the White House, and the two countries will move, slowly and crabwise, toward the mutual deterrence that will define their future relationship.
There will be more meetings, probably including a Kim visit to the White House, and the two countries will move, slowly and crabwise, towards the mutual deterrence that will define their future relationship.
'We do not have Full Spectrum Deterrence because nuclear parity or mutual deterrence has pushed the war into another zone, which is ongoing and has not been deterred.
[I have always wondered if nuclear weapons-free zones-far from establishing nuclear parity and safety through mutual deterrence-rather favor emerging nuclear powers which have yet to achieve the celerity, distance and throw weight of the established nuclear powers that guaranteed by mutual deterrence the peace of the world: the US and former Soviet Union, Russia.]
As these drums of war beat ever louder the actual Lebanon-Israel border has never been quieter, and the mutual deterrence equation between the two sides that emerged following the 34-day war of summer 2006 appears alive and well and holding strongly.
Strategic missile defenses were severely restricted by treaty for 30 years on the assumption that they undermined "stable" mutual deterrence. However, missile threats facing the United States and its allies have been expanding for decades, and homeland and regional defenses now are accepted as essential contributors to security.
This mutual deterrence is currently prevailing in the equation and balance of power between the two sides.
"So we do think it's important that everyone in the region has a clear understanding that circumstances could evolve to the point that for mutual deterrence reasons, we might have to consider [a nuclear Japan]."
Today, as during the Cold War, mutual deterrence can save the world.