“Mutually assured destruction (MAD) is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender (see pre-emptive nuclear strike and second strike). It is based on the theory of deterrence, which holds that the threat of using strong weapons against the enemy prevents the enemy’s use of those same weapons. The strategy is a form of Nash equilibrium in which, once armed, neither side has any incentive to initiate a conflict or to disarm.” wiki on MAD
Comment: MAD was devised as a method to avoid nuclear war with the USSR. There is no longer a country called the USSR. Nor is there in existence a country anything like the USSR in its policies or ideology. Hard core Cold Warriors have steadfastly continued to believe that the USSR still exists and that the Russian Federation is merely the USSR in disguise. The insistence on maintaining a “launch on warning” posture is based on that sort of fantasy. If you listen carefully to Foxnews you will hear the more hard headed among their commentators slip in their blather from time to time and actually call Russia the USSR or “the Soviets.” Their collective obsession is such that they cannot accept a changed reality.
Well, pilgrims, there is a great danger in continuing to place such power, the power to destroy civilization in the hands of one or two people, i.e., the president and vice president of the US. Think of the consequences if a true lunatic or a person controlled by some band of lunatics becomes Commander in Chief of the US armed forces. There would literally be no way to prevent such a person from launching a nuclear strike on his or her own authority. Do not for a minute believe that the armed forces would not obey such an order. They would.
It has now been proposed by some members of Congress that sole power in this matter should be withdrawn from the Commander n Chief. The president commands the armed forces but the congress has the constitutional power to declare war. This distinction has not been taken seriously for many years, partly because of the need for MAD in the Soviet era and partly because the congress has been too gutless to face up to its responsibility.
What is proposed in Congress now is the creation of a triumvirate charged with making such a fateful decision, perhaps the President, SECDEF and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
It has been and will be argued that such an arrangement would be inadequate to maintain deterrence. I do not think so. The US possesses a vast array of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Some of these, especially the SLBM submarines (Boomers) would survive any first strike against the US. IMO enough would survive to destroy ANY attacker.
IMO deterrence should be maintained by making it clear to Russia, China, North Korea et al that the Dead Man’s Hand will utterly and completely destroy their countries even if the US itself is a smoking, glassy wreck. pl