Short Paper – Deterrence And Mutually Assured Destruction

Effective arms control agreements are not generated by one nation’s willingness to make one-sided sacrifices; they are the product of the realization that all parties would gain from them. Nations enter into arms agreements because they have good reason to fear the consequences of unshackled military power.

For many years the Soviet Union and the U.S. engaged in an ever-escalating arms race involving the constant development of more innovative and powerful nuclear weapons. The Nonproliferation Treaty helped to slow down this escalation and put in place an agreement that helped to deter those nations without nuclear weapons from developing them. Military historians, career servicemen, and laymen have pondered why, with all of this capability, neither of these powers has initiated an attack (first-strike). Is this the result of the policy of mutually assured distraction (MAD)?

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After reading the module notes and all supplemental materials, respond to following:

  • Illustrate the concept of mutually assured destruction (MAD) and describe its role as a deterrent in the prevention of first-strike attacks.
  • Discuss the morality of the MAD concept.
  • Given the current state of world military affairs, discuss whether this policy can continue to be the cornerstone of our military policy.
  • Are there any alternatives other than the forging of effective arms control treaties?

Support your position using appropriate sources that are properly cited. Your paper should be 2 pages in length (not including title and reference pages). It must be formatted according to APA standards [PDF, File Size 131 KB], 6th edition, including title and reference pages.


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