New York Times on the Web Forums Science
Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's
war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars"
defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make
the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an
application of science be successful? Is a militarized space
inevitable, necessary or impossible?
Read Debates, a
new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every
(254 previous messages)
- 12:26pm Sep 6, 2000 EST (#255
Re: beckq #245. You have only provided a long convuluted
argument, #228 and #229, as to why MAD is a view and not a doctrine.
In that argument you contradicted yourself by agreeing that it "...
fits within your narrow dictionary view." Contradiction?
No Vic, you provided 3 different narrow dictionary terms.
"a statement of official government policy, esp. in foreign
affairs." Perhaps you would prefer another definition,
*** "a principle or body of principles presented for acceptance
or belief, as by a political, scientific, or philosophical group;
A third definition is "a rule or principle of law, esp. when
established by precedent." Which are you? Dogmatic? Doctrinaire? Or
are you just a lawyer?
I picked one that best fit my perspective into your narrow boxed
point of view. I then provided you in detail the reason I view that
term as better then say the first or the last. I explained to you
that my views and my supporting evidence demonstrate that MAD
evolved and is a principle view As I told you earlier today, I
believe in my point of view and feel that I need not express this in
anyway different. Thus below is the exact material I posted for you
Second your "American Heritage Dictionary" quote
"a principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or
belief, as by a political, scientific, or philosophical group;
Recall what I wrote:” MAD is NOT a doctrine. It is a principle
view of nuclear deterrence. Its evolution came into being due to the
insecurity of the Soviets and Americans. The race of insecurity. The
arms race. " So that view is indeed what I wrote and fits within
your narrow Dictionary view.
Why does he say this Vic? Because in 45 America was the only
nation to have the bomb. From 1945 till 1949 America went about the
world and threatened just about everyone with it, and more then
anything intimidates the Russians. This policy, later coined Massive
Retaliation made America’s military as well as civilian leadership
view the atomic bomb as a stick that could be threatened at anytime.
No ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’ existed. Why? because the Soviets
did not have the bomb-yet. In 1949 this changed-and the Soviets
entered the international situation with the bomb. Yet MAD still did
not exist because no parity of assured destruction existed between
the two countries.
Thus looking back at bqs view: :”MAD is NOT a doctrine. It is a
principle view of nuclear deterrence. Its evolution came into being
due to the insecurity of the Soviets and Americans. The race of
insecurity. The arms race. "
As this race evolved the parity for assured destruction slowly
began to appear. In particular after the launching of Sputnik-which
demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the Soviets could hit
America and destroy America with warheads. Massive Retaliation hit
its first wall: the evolution of technology by the Soviets and the
possible equal destruction of the United States if America continued
this policy. Thus again this support bqs view that MAD evolved
If you recall -following this event the administrations of the
50s and the debates of that times general elections followed two
major critical debates focused on
A) Who lost China? B) The missile gap.
The view of (B) was important because it threat Eisenhower’s
administration of Massive Retaliation. Why? Because such an action
now could well mean the destruction of the United States. Everything
about Einsowers view of nuclear weapons (New Look) all indicate that
the evolution of MAD would be the nail in the coffin of the policy
of Massive Retaliation, A policy that could end in failure not
because of the policy of MAD but because of the evolution of MAD.
Thus American strategy was off course because of the evolution of
MAD. America soon came to the conclusion that it was off course and
initiated a set of concepts that would strengthen the principles of
- 12:27pm Sep 6, 2000 EST (#256
Those being a second strike capability. The actually policy of
Massive Revelation caved in and was replaced by Flexible Response
under the Kennedy Administration. Thus what you really had was
America initially taking a position that highlighted that America
had the bomb and nobody else did. The policy of that period was very
brash because it ‘could be’. When the Soviets got the bomb and later
demonstrated they could hit America with the development of ICBM
technology America could not longer be as bold.
With the increase of the arms race the United States changed its
view to that of Brodie in terms of nuclear strategy. My fellow vic
take a look for Bernard Brodie (sp).Excellent introduction to
American nuclear concepts-in particular the reasoning for second
strike capabilities. All done to reinforce the principle of MAD . A
principle I argue because it evolved
My fellow vic take a look for Bernard Brodie (sp).Excellent
introduction to American nuclear concepts-in particular the
reasoning for second strike capabilities. All done to reinforce the
principle of MAD . A principle I argue because it evolved with the
incremental parity between America and the Soviets. America only
abaoned a policy that did not consider the principles of MAD and
fixed on ways of strengthening this principle-this byproduct of the
Anyways MAD described the superpowers essential military
stalemate as mutual deterrence.
Ahhh and what did Becq say:” MAD is NOT a doctrine. It is a
principle view of nuclear deterrence"
This mutual deterrence rested on the military potential for
psychological expectation of widespread death and destruction by
both combatants in a nuclear exchange”. That is not my words I admit
that comes from either Kegley or Whittkopf I forget which one.
Anyways the evolution of Soviet parity in vehicle launch and
delivery embraced the principles of MAD. This was not of course the
intent of the Soviets. The soviets were just in an arms race like
the Americans. The reasoning of the principle of MAD was a country
would not attack if they knew the enemy had the capability needed to
wait out a first strike then completely destroy with their
retaliating second strike.
Thus MAD is a principle view of nuclear deterrence that evolved
as the Soviets began to reach nuclear parity with America. When
America realized it they began to consider Brodie and the ideas he
suggested that would strengthen MAD, that being a second strike
capability. The Soviets did the same. That is why one cannot really
conclude that MAD is a policy. It is not. It is the byproduct of the
nuclear arms race between the United States and Soviet Union. That
is why its far more exciteing and interesting to know an issue
instead of going by simplistic views that indicate that one day
Kennedy woke up and made MAD a policy. That’s far from correct. If
we accept MAD as a policy as you so want
Then you have to explain how MAD was abandoned in the late 70s
and early 80s for the policy of NUTS. However if you view both
policies instead as principle’s MAD always remains due to the race
of insecurity between the two nations and Nuts actually attempts to
undermine and destroy MAD. MAD between America and Moscow even
And that brings us back to the entire focus of the initial
argument. SALT I continued to strengthen the principles of MAD-it
continued to strengthen MAD by maintaining that both sides continue
to hold each others civilians nuclear hostage.
(11607 following messages)
New York Times on the Web Forums Science