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#40 - PetroleumPinecone (09/05/2014) [-]
Go read "On Thermonuclear War" by Herman Kahn. Written in the 60s if memory serves, it basically details a load of statistical calculations that demonstrate that the theory of MAD is actually largely inaccurate. The principle of deterrence is sound, but if shit actually did hit the fan then there are a lot of variables to consider like duration, readiness, post-war preparation...the list goes on and on.
Basically he says that while nuclear war would suck majorly for all concerned, it bloody well is winnable with the right kind of preparation, and that wishfully thinking "well it would be so bad that noone in their right mind would actually do it" isn't contructive.
His job was to think of how to do the following (paraphrasing a bit):
1) Avoid nuclear war
2) If it can't be avoided, win it
3) If it can't be won, survive it.
Hell of a long read, 800 pages or so, and lots of calculations about decay of isotopes correlating with cancer increases etc., but even a skim through will be very interesting for anyone who already has a grounding with the principle of MAD.
#44 - azumeow (09/05/2014) [-]
Hey, listen, even if we're not talking total nuclear holocaust, it's still become very clear that NOBODY wants to actually use nukes. Hell, I doubt Kim Jong Il would use them if he had the capabilities to hit the US.
And I'm not sure if M.A.D. implies total annihilation, just...mutual destruction. Like, to the point where it probably isn't worth it.
#46 - PetroleumPinecone (09/05/2014) [-]
Oh absolutely, it would all go to shit for both sides, but that's not to say that noone sane wants to use nukes - given the right conditions of readiness (both offensive and defensive) and with a sufficient technological edge (be it in yield or delivery mechanisms, or defensive mechanisms) you can easily win a nuclear war. Hypothetically, from a purely military standpoint, the USA could go to town on North Korea with nukes with relative impunity because their best long range missile can't hit contintental USA and isn't projected to for at least 10 more years.
I wasn't saying detterence isn't a solid principle to start off with, but the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction is a misnomer at best. Not looking for an argument, just reccomending an exceptionally well reasoned book.
#70 - PetroleumPinecone (09/05/2014) [-]
Well North Korea does have nuclear capabilities, just very poor delivery mechanisms. Kahn's premise revolves around the disparity between the two belligerents in terms of delivery, defense, and readiness. Even in the scenario of a nuclear war between the USSR and the USA there were a wide range of possible results contingent on these factors.
You're confusing the principle of deterrence, which is indeed "you nuke me I nuke you (and it sucks for us both)" with that of MAD, which is that "if either of us starts the nuking neither of us will be left at the end of the day". Kahn was all for deterrence (along with a ton of other things) and in fact argued that by having reasonable post-war systems in place you enhanced your deterrence - there's even less chance of the other side starting a fight if you'll still be alive and well while they're in ruins.
A large part of the book is spent debunking the idea that if nuclear war starts both sides will be annihilated. I'm not doing it much justice by trying to summarise 800 pages of strategic thinking from a brilliant analytical mind at 6:38 in the morning, but I hope the point is clear enough.
#97 - misfitxcreepx (09/05/2014) [-]
Ok I see what you're saying.
My main point I think was just that while North Korea does have nuclear capabilities, they couldn't really "hit us" so that situation seemed to not coincide with mad or the principle of deterrence. It turns into "you nuke me I can't nuke you" type of thing.
But I see what you're saying. Two nations nuking each other doesn't mean the end of the world for those nations it just really fucking sucks for both. So while no one really wants to nuke/get nuked, it still pays off to make sure that in the case that it does happen they end up having the upper hand.
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