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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
It provides a concise historical sketch of the evolution of the post-World War II security environment from the emergence of nuclear powers to the Cold War-era deterrence theory of mutual assured destruction. This background sets the stage for a discussion of the pursuit of active defenses, which centers on Reagan's tenacious quest to provide national options against nuclear missile attack other than to "push the button or do nothing." Lakoff contends that Reagan's public announcement of the SDI program, quickly nicknamed "Star Wars," caught most of his advisors by surprise.
''We have a mutual assured destruction on economics,'' said Zagoria.
"SAC helped make possible the feminine mystique and much else besides." (6) The "malignant" Reagan legacy of SDI's spurious promise of a technical solution to global military supremacy ignores the existence of an aggressive Soviet Empire and the moral case for shifting deterrence from mutual assured destruction to defense.
Delendo est Carthago seemed the ultimate in imposing defeat until mutual assured destruction (MAD) came along, but salted soil and radioactive residue both raise doubts about such successes.
They appear to believe that the portrayal by the actor Peter Sellers of an advocate of mutual assured destruction in the film Dr Strangelove was a tribute to their position, while those of logic saw the hypocrisy therein.
But does our "non-negotiable" support for Israel make us more secure, or is it a MAD policy akin to the insane Cold War strategy of "mutual assured destruction?" Such a strategy may, in the war on terror between "radical Islam" and "freedom-loving democracies," result in the mutual assured destruction of both the United States and Israel.
Analysts fear that such attempts by hostile rivals to maintain an uneasy stability by placing their trust in the unreliable old Cold War principle of mutual assured destruction, may soon proliferate throughout the region.
In Betts's brief treatment of the incident, he points out that Team B's criticism "focused primarily on the criticism of 'mirror imaging'" and that it "compared apples and oranges--American political intent with Soviet strategic intent, and American public rhetoric (emphasizing mutual assured destruction) with Soviet operational doctrine" (p.
Thus China's exercise of the nuclear option will not happen, for it means mutual assured destruction. And China would not be so insane as to destroy a global trading system from which it has profited more than any other nation.
This article was the foundation of the doctrine of secured second strike, and, though he certainly depreciated the notion, of the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction. His alternative was not just missile defense, but increased emphasis on conventional weapons, including later precision-guided munitions.
This "assured communication" is in striking contrast with the Cold War rhetoric of "mutual assured destruction."

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