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 ?
The Cold War philosophy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) did actually make some sense for Britain as America's "aircraft carrier" anchored off Europe.
Before this, Gaddis claims, the main concern of populations either side of the Berlin Wall was whether they could trust their leaders not to miscalculate events and press the button which would unleash a devastating, new type of warcraft, Mutual Assured Destruction.
There is both an urgent need and an opportunity to move from a security system based on mutual assured destruction to one based on mutual assured security,'' he concluded, urging the international community to move towards a future of nuclear transparency and cooperation.
She would enter the world of Mutual Assured Destruction, like the one we had to live in during the Cold War.
We have recognized that the hostility that characterized US and Soviet relations during the Cold War has ended, hostility that was enshrined in the doctrine of mutual assured destruction and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
During the Cold War, our nation's defense against a nuclear attack was based upon the concept of mutual assured destruction.
But mutual education is definitely not on the agenda of the average Washington pundit these days -- it's more like Mutual Assured Destruction.
In a recent "BreakPoint" commentary heard on 1,000 radio stations, Christian conservative Chuck Colson spoke of "the moral insanity" of mutual assured destruction.
George and Martha, America's metaphorical founding father and mother, are the proverbial nuclear family, cemented by the tenets of mutual assured destruction.
President Reagan's Star Wars proposal played its part in breaking the doomsday scenario stalemate of mutual assured destruction between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Never mind that it was the political equivalent of Mutual Assured Destruction, wiping out your own local guy as well as the other town's bum.
In less than 400 pages, he takes us from the first spear-thrusting Neanderthal through the age of mutual assured destruction.