Talk:Mutually assured destruction

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older comments[edit]

added distinction between "mutual" and "mutually" which I would like to attribute - it seems obvious to me but someone may want to hear from a diplomat on it. good links sipri.se, transcend.org

I made reference to "multiparty" as a bridge term that is implied in the adverb "mutually" - as "multiparty assured destruction" no longer appears on google, the redirect could disappear. But it's interesting that literature of this period, making the arguments that two-player destructive games have third party consequences, is not visible on the net... hmm...


I'm no expert in the area, but I do read reasonably widely, and I've never seen the term "Mutual Assured Destruction" applied to the China-Taiwan or especially the Arab-Israeli conflict. They are unwinnable wars, true, but they are very different situations to the Cold War military balance.

Basically, I think everything after the first paragraph is irrelevant to MAD. Am I Robinson Crusoe here? --Robert Merkel


I think so. First, you are confusing "mutual" with "mutually". Read the text please. The two phrases reference an outcome and a process respectively.

Second, do a google search, and note that there is much use of these terms in reference to "unwinnable wars" and standoffs.

Its *because* they are "very different situations to the Cold War" that they needed a new term...


Can you point some links to this? I've never heard the term used in this sense in the literature.


There is a discussion of the "adverb issue" re: "significantly" at http://jove.prohosting.com/~jrprager/2001top.htm and it also uses the term "mutually" rather than "mutual" and refers quite generically to weapons of mass destruction rather than nukes specifically.


I'm sorry. To put it bluntly, that looks like the rantings of a crank rather than the arguments of someone who works in the field.

I have major problems with this article especially with regard to the China-Taiwan situation. I'm never heard MAD applied to this situation and it certainly doesn't happen often. Part of the reason is that it

  • isn't* a MAD situation. It's certainly possible for one side to

win the conflict without destroying itself. It is true that the first person to make a move loses, and so the situation is stalemate, but that's not MAD at all.


peace movement is certainly full of cranks - but "someone who works in the field" doesn't necessarily have a monopoly on comprehending the meaning of a policy that affects everyone... potentially fatally... so I'm inclined to 'go crank' on this one... it's not like the diplomats really solved the problem so maybe they don't understand it? We should have the guts to quote cranks who make sense and toss out terms by 'experts' who never solved a problem...

"I have found it necessary to fire a man once he considers himself an expert." - Henry Ford.

Anyway... the adjective clearly refers to an outcome of destruction of two paarties, the adverb clearly refers to the process of escalation and assurance of destruction that involves others too, and to me the shift in usage is tautological. That may make me biased in seeing actual usage... I'm inclined to see "Mutual" as an error in modern usage, and "mutually" in older literature as a sign of a different mind-set... "the peace process" taking root...

I agree China-Taiwan is different as their debate is about re-integration and the terms of it - but again refer to the process of escalation and assurance which is the same - only the outcome is different. The two sides don't threaten to *destroy* each other as India and Pakistan or Palestine and Israel sometimes do. We might distinguish it as a case that might appear to be the same but really isn't, because of the lack of 'assured destruction' of the nation itself, as opposed to the assured destruction of the government... a quite different matter, where 'loses' is measured differently.

Or, how something can be "mutually assured destruction" of governments or regimes without being "Mutual Assured Destruction" as understood originally.

Merge: Balance of terror[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
After over three years of open discussion, there does not appear to be consensus to merge. WTF? (talk) 01:55, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

I wanted to propose merging Balance of terror into this one. Generally speaking they refer to the same thing. The primary distinction between the two is really who has used which term when. From that perspective having two articles seems to violate WP:NAD. Really the only true distinction would seem to be that MAD refers to the actual threat whereas BOT refers to the perception/reaction to that threat. It doesn't seem to me that subtlety merits two articles.

Since Balace of terror is only a stub now anyway merging doesn't seem a big deal.

--Mcorazao (talk) 20:29, 17 September 2009 (UTC)


The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.