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.
References in periodicals archive ?
He's not going to tell them that they are ultimately going to have to live in a state of mutual deterrence with North Korea like they already do with Russia and China, because his default mode is sounding tough.
Strategic missile defenses were severely restricted by treaty for 30 years on the assumption that they undermined "stable" mutual deterrence.
This mutual deterrence is currently prevailing in the equation and balance of power between the two sides.
Both have since adopted a position of mutual deterrence, avoiding large clashes, engaging instead in tit-for-tat acts of violence.
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.
Zagare, "Toward a Reformulation of the Theory of Mutual Deterrence," International Studies Quarterly 29, no.
India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry: Perceptions, misperceptions and mutual deterrence.
Ideas about mutual deterrence based on second-strike capability and the deterrence "rationality" according to American or allied Western concepts might be inaccurate guides to the avoidance of war elsewhere.
There are actors in the Middle East for whom "mutual assured destruction'' is an invitation to a party -- not a system of mutual deterrence.
The fact that this has not happened now is an important marker that tells us much about the new mutual deterrence condition that now defines this hostile relationship.