By Rafal Rohozinski, Consulting Senior Fellow, Future Conflict and Cyber Security, IISS
Nuclear weapons formed the basis of strategic stability between the nuclear superpowers for the past 70 years. The threat of instantaneous and mutual annihilation helped concentrate minds, including the establishment of clear and unambiguous "rules of the game" among the superpowers. States continued to compete, but competition was never allowed to compromise overall strategic stability.
Nuclear deterrence was based on a simple calculus. Once launched, nuclear weapons were nearly impossible to stop and even limited use would result in civilization-ending consequences. In former U.S. president Ronald Reagan's words, nuclear war was "unthinkable." The knowledge that entire countries could be obliterated was a sufficient guarantor of strategic stability based on Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).
Read the full article at the Globe and Mail.