Younger readers may not realise this but there was a time, not TOO long ago, when those we chose to lead us came up with an idea that was rightfully given the name MAD.
These letters stood for Mutually Assured Destruction.
Basically it meant the End of the World (through total nuclear war).
After the first use of the Atomic Bomb which ended World War 2, countries (primarily USA and Russia, or the USSR as it was then) realised that the awesome power of such a weapon (which they eventually increased by a factor of up to 25000!) would give the owners an unbeatable advantage in any future conflict and so set about ensuring they had the most ‘to defend themselves with’.
Within 10 years after the end of the War and largely due to total mistrust of each other and fear of the other’s willingness to use the weapons so as to wipe out the other’s country, each side had enough warheads to ensure the destruction, not only of each other’s military and weaponry, but – due to fallout – the entire enemy population! Taking with them pretty much everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere as radioactive dust clouds filled the atmosphere over half the earth.
Both the two main parties realised that there was always a slight chance that the other side would believe they could ‘win’ such a war (but at massive cost to both sides as well as the world) and initiate it themselves, believing they could then ‘start over’ with their side running the place. To try to prevent this from happening they came up with… Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).
In other words, if you dare to start World War 3 we’ll make sure that you don’t win by having enough firepower to destroy you entirely – even if it means taking ourselves out with you (along with everyone else – MAD indeed and in deed).
It is estimated that by 1969 the US alone had 30,000 nuclear warheads, with the USSR likely to have at least as many. It has been estimated (link here) that as few as 100 Hiroshima sized bombs (15 kilotons TNT equivalent) could destroy the world population and cause global nuclear winter lasting 25 plus years, destroying most plant and animal life on the planet.
Some of the weapons devised and tested had the power of up to 25000 Hiroshima bombs! (see Tsar Bomba)
Some attempts at sanity were made and treaties limiting and even reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world were initiated and the threat now seems to stand somewhere around 15,000 individual weapons, some fitted to multiple warhead firing devices/missiles. The power of these seems to vary between 5 kilotons and 1200 kilotons, meaning that if just 2 of the 1200 kiloton type were detonated we’d have a worse scenario than in the previously linked description.
So – the idea was to prevent war we’d make sure such a war would cost more than anyone was prepared to pay – the whole earth. That was the MAD idea designed to ensure we never used Nuclear Weapons – ever.
Now America is coming up with newer ‘improved’ nukes which will allow them to use these things!! Without wiping out all life on earth (hopefully). You can bet that if the US is, the Russians are too.
If you have the stomach for it you can read Nationalinterest.org’s Zachary Keck’s article on the subject here.
Now Trump is in charge of the US and it’s arsenal we’ll see just how MADder things can get.
Be afraid – be VERY afraid!