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Mutually Assured Destruction

April 18, 2010

Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was a phrase we heard during the cold war: if the Americans launch nukes on the Russians—or vice versa—it will result in a nuclear war that will wipe half the world off the map. It’ll be a winless war.

I’m going to revive this phrase if I hear another family member talk about the threat of the Chinese (who have nukes, dontcha know!).

If the Chinese attacked America—or vice versa—there would be Mutually Assured Economic Destruction. Our economic systems are symbiotic: if we destroy the other we destroy ourselves.

The far right people out there seem not to be cognizant of this fact.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Beelzebub permalink
    April 18, 2010 6:17 pm

    I guess the irony of MAD is that it doesn’t reduce hostilities — it just keeps them to a more traditional level. Can’t take it to eleven anymore, so war is still classical music when everything else has turned to rock and roll. But when particular heads of state go on about how Iran shouldn’t have nukes, I find myself wondering why that is — MAD, after all, right? What’s it matter if Iran has ’em? I guess Iranians are just irrational and don’t care if their country gets blown to smithereens or not, while Americans are perfectly rational (know the value of a dollar, after all).

    Wouldn’t there be hardly any qualitative difference, everything else being equal, between a world where every nation possessed nuclear weapons and one where none did? If mutually assured destruction is a good way of describing why it is that nuclear-armed nations don’t use nukes against each other, that is.

    Anyway, the Chinese don’t have anything to gain from attacking America, but I think the case can be made (through historical precedent) that the heads of state of both nations probably see plenty of reason to behave antagonistically towards each other, even if outright war is precluded.

  2. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    April 18, 2010 8:02 pm

    Right on.

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