Time to end the MADness?

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).[1] 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It has now been proposed by some members of Congress that sole power in this matter should be withdrawn from the Commander n Chief.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


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24 Responses to Time to end the MADness?

  1. BillWade says:

    Would these folks be subject to the constraints of the Armed Force’s Personnel Reliability Program? If so, I wonder if Biden and Pelosi would be considered reliable enough. I was in charge of this program at Clark AB Philippines for a couple of years (Personnel portion), it was a small but important part of my job and I’ve seen personnel disqualified for things both of these politicians are purported to have done or seem to be doing.

    • Pat Lang says:

      The president is not subject to any such standard now. Like him they would be constitutional officials. You do know that members of congress and federal judges do not have security clearances? They have access due to their constitutional office in a non-Executive branch part of the federal government. People like Swalwell do not have clearances but they have access as required.

  2. 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.

    I agree with that completely. I’m just not sure how that can be done while there are highly placed politicians talking about unilateral nuclear disarmament. Nuclear-armed prospective opponents must be convinced you’ll use them. That means their use cannot be unthinkable while maintaining deterrence.

  3. The Twisted Genius says:

    I agree. MAD is nuts. It was just as nuts during the hottest times of the Cold War. In addition to putting war decisions back in the legislative branch where it belongs, we should declare a no first use policy and push the adoption of that policy among all nuclear capable nations.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Such a policy would be fine even though unenforceable.
      a promise of terrible retribution is better.

      • The Twisted Genius says:

        True, a holy oath of vengeance and retribution would definitely put the iron behind the words of a no first use policy.

        In the late 80s I had a chance to talk with a former senior advisor to Jaruzelski and the Polish military over several days. Once he got over visibly shuddering when I was introduced as a Special Forces officer, we got along well. He told me of WTO war plans and the fairly widespread belief that no matter how loud the sabers rattled, we would go to war in Europe, conventional or nuclear. Eastern and Western Europe would have been destroyed and, win or lose, even Moscow would have been set back to 1945. He was convinced it was all a ritualized display of aggression among apes.

        That may have been true, but all it would have taken was a handful of leaders without the wherewithal to think it through.

    • Michael Bates says:

      “I agree. MAD is nuts.”

      And yet here we are without having been blown up. While you make think MAD is nuts, it has the advantage of having proven to be en effective strategy thus far. That alternative strategies might prove equally effective going forward is unprovable and is a matter of faith more than anything else.

      Personally, I would give Joe Biden the time of day, never mind the nuclear codes. So I am open to a more “secure” model, though I am as yet undecided on whether what is now being proposed reaches that level.

  4. Peter Williams says:

    The Russian Federation has Perimetr to ensure the destruction of all NATO countries if the RF “is a smoking, glassy wreck.” MAD might be crazy, but it’s a reciprocal crazy.

  5. Deap says:

    Are Democrats playing good cop/bad cop?

    Send the message to our “enemies” there is a crazy man at the switch and they can’t be responsible for what might happen? So you better behave because we, on the list of dissenting Democrats, are worried you might be soon in very big doo doo.

    Sounds like the same…. play stupid games, win stupid prizes… Democrats engage in doing when they finally get too much power.

    Or is Old Joe really crackers enough to cause grave concern about him and the biscuit.

  6. Teddy says:

    “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.”

    As pointed out by one of our allies, we currently have major problems with the Usurper Biden:


    The Usurpers declining “mental status” is even noticeable to Congressional Dems:


  7. Seward says:

    At a parish Men’s group (now Zoom) to study scripture readings for Sunday, a senior mathematician at a nearby IC agency (where I worked 24 years) very uncharacteristically asked for prayers for peace, indicating war was very possible. While he couldn’t elucidate further, when I worked there senior people received the daily report of agency information sent to military commands, the White House, and the principal IC agency. So MAD might be more than a potentially right now. The papers say we only gave the Russians 4-5 minutes warning about our latest air strike in Syria. Any less might well be mistaken for the real thing, leading to a shoot-down, after which the fat would really be in the fire.

    • Fred says:


      So your friend thinks the Russians would mistake an air strike that was inside Iraq for an first strike ICBM launch? That’s pretty far fetched. Almost as bad as being “for peace” in re-entering the Iran Nuclear deal but bombing our ‘allies in peace’ because they are shipping missiles to Kataeb Hezbollah, which should not to be confused with “Lebanon’s Hezbollah”, or so the ‘explainers” explain.

      • Walrus says:


        I think Col. Lang has explained more than once that Russian and American forces must NEVER engage each other because of the immediate risk if escalation caused by public pressure.

        If the Russians had deliberately shot down the two F15 strike eagle aircraft with their own jets or S400 systems that could be enough to start WWIII.

        Putin has also warned that an attack on Syria, Iran and other Russian allies will be met with force. Then there is the dangerous NATO brinkmanship…..

        • JerseyJeffersonian says:


          Thank you, exactly so. Given the bunch of unhinged Russian-hating loonies such as Victoria “Cookies” Nuland and othe neocon/zionist reprobates surfacing in the top layers of the current US regime (lacking legitimacy, I don’t dignify this crowd by characterizing it as the government), this is now a clear and present danger.

          It amazes me, although it probably shouldn’t given how prevalent such ignorant – and more ominously, arrogant – attitudes are among our vaunted “elites” actually are, is how truculent these people are.

          The last thing that the Russians want to see are further attempts to carve out some sort of jihadi-sheltering region in northern Syria, not just for the benefit of the Syrians, but also out of concern about what such a zone in close proximity to their Caucasus region might reignite in the way of Sunni extremist terrorism. The Russians are well aware that the instigators are the US, Great Britain, France, and Israel, and largely for that stated purpose. Seward’s friend is well justified in his apprehensions about this brinksmanship.

        • Barbara Ann says:

          Precisely. What is not shown on the chart above “President considers nuclear strike” is vitally important. To get to there via the escalation ladder from something relatively inconsequential is worryingly easy. Having forces in close proximity to one another increases the risks greatly.

          The most worrying thing of all is the Gen. Keane type of eternal Cold Warrior Colonel Lang refers to. I don’t imagine many of these ideologues have the first clue as to Russia’s resolve re Iran and Syria, for example. Do those in policy making positions understand they are playing Soviet Russian roulette every time they go all gung ho in Syria?

          There is no room for surprises, accidents or even misinterpretations in the intricate pas de deux danced by the two nuclear superpowers. Everything must be rehearsed, mutually understood and carefully choreographed.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Barbara Ann

            what you have missed here is that it is not necessary for a future president to climb the escalatory ladder a la the “Wizard’s of Armageddon” theorization. A madman can be there all at once just because the voices spoke to him. who knows what voices Joe will hear in his basement.

  8. Escarlata says:

    Time to end this madness…



    Children, and their parents, will become clients for life in a new “medical” business…


    • Pat Lang says:


      If you mean that it is madness to allow and encourage male children to “decide” to emasculate themselves, then I certainly agree with that.

      • Escarlata says:

        Not only male, Pat, if yoiur stroll a bit the thread ( I wanted to linf preciselly thsoe videos, but got linked the whole thread, which, anyway has no waste..:) senator Rand Paul is telling the case of a girl Keyra Bell who erased her breasts as teenage and then regreted it once an adult…

    • Fred says:

      Female and male genital mutilation are now policies of the Democratic Party, as you see by the testimony of the nominated “Dr.” Levine. Maybe the ‘free press’ will as Dr. Jill Biden what she thinks of that.

      • JohninMK says:

        Mrs Biden is a PhD not a medical doctor so I doubt anyone will ask her views on this subject. I think it is education.

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