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Breaking MAD: Calculated Insanity

Vox_Veritas
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9/28/2015 5:56:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
A while back I made a thread about MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), asking if when the time came the leaders of a humane government would be willing to retaliate against their enemy in the event of nuclear war (this would cause the annihilation of the civilian populace of the enemy nation).
Now let's discuss another pitfall of MAD: calculated insanity.
You see, imagine it this way. There's two guys playing a game of chicken (in this case the version where two cars charge each other at 50 MPH each). Normal reasoning goes like this: you do not want to lose the game by being the guy who backs down. However, you aren't willing to go through a collision. So, you wait until the absolute last moment and then back down if your opponent doesn't. Normal human beings want to win, but they're not generally willing to die in order to win. Why? Because it simply isn't worth it.
But let's say you have a guy who's so obsessed with winning the game that he will never be the guy who backs down. Even if he knows for a fact that his opponent won't back down he won't either, meaning that both would crash and die. Perhaps his motivation is that losing (or his opponent winning, if he hates the guy that much) is worse than death in his mind. Anyhow, in every game where there is no crash he will win consistently and without fail. It's insane because he risks imminent death so that he can win a game. It simply isn't worth it. But as a strategy it works.
So, back to MAD. Let's say that the Holy Britannian Empire and the European Union both have nukes and they both hate each other. For decades the leaders of both nations have been sharply aware that a nuclear war would assuredly annihilate both of them. Both sides want to win this Cold War, but neither side is willing to use the nuclear threat very often and both sides know that the other is unwilling to go to war over something unimportant. Why? Because it isn't worth the huge risk that'd be taken.
One day a guy named Hcuolel takes the throne of Britannia. He has a message for the EU: "Surrender to Britannia or I'll start a nuclear war and kill everyone!" Let's say that he is mentally deranged and therefore he is willing to start a nuclear war which will end humanity if the EU doesn't surrender.
From this point there are two things that can happen:
1. The EU thinks he's bluffing, in which case Hcuolel ends the world.
2. The EU realizes that this guy is actually serious. They must then decide whether they want to avoid losing or whether they were to continue living. If these leaders are rational, they will surrender.

So a leader can bypass MAD by calculated insanity and win in a given cold war situation provided that:
1. He is able to convince his opponent that he is willing to carry out this threat.
2. His opponent is rational.

Therefore, in MAD the rational are at the mercy of the irrational. The lunatic is king.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,286
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9/28/2015 6:21:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Vox_Veritas
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9/28/2015 3:29:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/28/2015 6:21:37 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:



In the event of Soviet forces invading West Germany (as the first video talks about), it probably would not trigger a nuclear war for NATO forces to pour into West Germany to defend it (provided that it does not press on to invade East Germany). What the USSR would experience is a failure to gain more territory and a loss of lives in terms of troops. This wouldn't be worth triggering nuclear war over.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,237
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10/1/2015 11:49:03 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/28/2015 5:56:52 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
A while back I made a thread about MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), asking if when the time came the leaders of a humane government would be willing to retaliate against their enemy in the event of nuclear war (this would cause the annihilation of the civilian populace of the enemy nation).
Now let's discuss another pitfall of MAD: calculated insanity.
You see, imagine it this way. There's two guys playing a game of chicken (in this case the version where two cars charge each other at 50 MPH each). Normal reasoning goes like this: you do not want to lose the game by being the guy who backs down. However, you aren't willing to go through a collision. So, you wait until the absolute last moment and then back down if your opponent doesn't. Normal human beings want to win, but they're not generally willing to die in order to win. Why? Because it simply isn't worth it.
But let's say you have a guy who's so obsessed with winning the game that he will never be the guy who backs down. Even if he knows for a fact that his opponent won't back down he won't either, meaning that both would crash and die. Perhaps his motivation is that losing (or his opponent winning, if he hates the guy that much) is worse than death in his mind. Anyhow, in every game where there is no crash he will win consistently and without fail. It's insane because he risks imminent death so that he can win a game. It simply isn't worth it. But as a strategy it works.
So, back to MAD. Let's say that the Holy Britannian Empire and the European Union both have nukes and they both hate each other. For decades the leaders of both nations have been sharply aware that a nuclear war would assuredly annihilate both of them. Both sides want to win this Cold War, but neither side is willing to use the nuclear threat very often and both sides know that the other is unwilling to go to war over something unimportant. Why? Because it isn't worth the huge risk that'd be taken.
One day a guy named Hcuolel takes the throne of Britannia. He has a message for the EU: "Surrender to Britannia or I'll start a nuclear war and kill everyone!" Let's say that he is mentally deranged and therefore he is willing to start a nuclear war which will end humanity if the EU doesn't surrender.
From this point there are two things that can happen:
1. The EU thinks he's bluffing, in which case Hcuolel ends the world.
2. The EU realizes that this guy is actually serious. They must then decide whether they want to avoid losing or whether they were to continue living. If these leaders are rational, they will surrender.

So a leader can bypass MAD by calculated insanity and win in a given cold war situation provided that:
1. He is able to convince his opponent that he is willing to carry out this threat.
2. His opponent is rational.

Therefore, in MAD the rational are at the mercy of the irrational. The lunatic is king.

Which is why the Western cultures are so worried about Iran and other such rogue nations getting the bomb: they have no desire to back down. Now we have to discussed first strike ability rather than MAD prevention.
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
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wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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10/3/2015 1:32:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/1/2015 11:49:03 AM, FaustianJustice wrote:
At 9/28/2015 5:56:52 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:

Therefore, in MAD the rational are at the mercy of the irrational. The lunatic is king.

Which is why the Western cultures are so worried about Iran and other such rogue nations getting the bomb: they have no desire to back down. Now we have to discussed first strike ability rather than MAD prevention.

North Korea is arguably far more a basket case than Iran, and it's been over 5 years since they tested nuclear weapons. Furthermore, they also continually develop missile technology that can target the US. Yet, here we are, North Korea is still dirt poor, and things are running as they have been without significant change.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
YYW
Posts: 36,339
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10/3/2015 1:39:00 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/28/2015 5:56:52 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Therefore, in MAD the rational are at the mercy of the irrational. The lunatic is king.

That's how Nixon played politics internationally...

There is another way, though, to tame the insane.....

You be so mean and scary that they don't come out to play (or you be really nice, while you let you henchmen do all the scary things).

The Reagan administration is a great example of that, because the world was on notice that if they even did a single thing that a powerful interest in the United States didn't like... catastrophically bad things would happen to them.
Tsar of DDO
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,075
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10/3/2015 1:51:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 1:39:00 AM, YYW wrote:
At 9/28/2015 5:56:52 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Therefore, in MAD the rational are at the mercy of the irrational. The lunatic is king.

That's how Nixon played politics internationally...

There is another way, though, to tame the insane.....

You be so mean and scary that they don't come out to play (or you be really nice, while you let you henchmen do all the scary things).

The Reagan administration is a great example of that, because the world was on notice that if they even did a single thing that a powerful interest in the United States didn't like... catastrophically bad things would happen to them.

So Ronald Reagan played the "I won't let the U.S. get pushed around; you so much as blink in a way that I don't like and I just might push the nuclear button!" role.
MAD is insane, right? Normally it is more beneficial for a nation to cooperate with other nations rather than be needlessly aggressive but with MAD it's more beneficial to be aggressive. You can make far greater gains threatening nuclear war than you could through peaceful means. The only way to counter this is to match aggression with aggression. The problem with this is that it creates the possibility of escalation.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
YYW
Posts: 36,339
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10/3/2015 2:00:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 1:51:36 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 10/3/2015 1:39:00 AM, YYW wrote:
At 9/28/2015 5:56:52 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Therefore, in MAD the rational are at the mercy of the irrational. The lunatic is king.

That's how Nixon played politics internationally...

There is another way, though, to tame the insane.....

You be so mean and scary that they don't come out to play (or you be really nice, while you let you henchmen do all the scary things).

The Reagan administration is a great example of that, because the world was on notice that if they even did a single thing that a powerful interest in the United States didn't like... catastrophically bad things would happen to them.

So Ronald Reagan played the "I won't let the U.S. get pushed around; you so much as blink in a way that I don't like and I just might push the nuclear button!" role.

Well, ostensibly, yes. In reality, Reagan was losing it by the time he took office. His mind was slipping, and everyone knew it, but he was America's grandfather and he still had a solid enough grasp on reality to read what he was told from a teleprompter.

Beneath the surface, what was going on was much nastier. Reagan in reality wasn't likely to have been a part of it, again, because there were a bunch of really nefarious people under him doing all kinds of things they shouldn't have and never kept him in the loop.

This was mostly happening internationally, but there were some domestic issues too. Basically, when the monied interests in the United States had some stake in any fight, covert operations were engaged in to address the problem with the force of the US military behind them.

I'm not saying this was per se bad, because I don't have an ethical problem with using the American military to ensure our own economic stability, but it did happen, and it happened on a scale that was mostly under reported by the American media though widely known among our enemies.

It's one of the reasons why Saddam waited until Reagan stepped down to create trouble in the Middle East... because he knew that Bush was both more possessed of his senses, less persuadable to use sufficient force, and much harder to manipulate or circumvent than Reagan was.

Reagan, as a man, was not a bad guy though. He was a bad president, only in the sense that many of the horrible things that happened under his watch occurred because he wasn't able to stop them. He was just a spokesman, and a very good one, but nothing more.

MAD is insane, right? Normally it is more beneficial for a nation to cooperate with other nations rather than be needlessly aggressive but with MAD it's more beneficial to be aggressive. You can make far greater gains threatening nuclear war than you could through peaceful means. The only way to counter this is to match aggression with aggression. The problem with this is that it creates the possibility of escalation.

MAD is complex. It created stability between the US and the USSR, although Kennedy nearly screwed the pooch on that one. But now, what MAD means is that the real conflicts we see are going to be border disputes, asymmetric engagements, and lesser power conflicts (many of which will be exacerbated by greater powers, and especially those greater powers with nuclear weapons).
Tsar of DDO
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,075
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10/3/2015 2:23:08 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I do, of course, understand that generally the populace of a nation locked in a cold war involving nukes is not willing to take the huge risk involved with calculated insanity (the greater the demands the greater the probability that those demands will be denied) just to make some gains.
Also, what I said earlier is wrong. There is a cost to be paid for calculated insanity. It turns nations against you.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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10/3/2015 2:50:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 1:51:36 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 10/3/2015 1:39:00 AM, YYW wrote:
At 9/28/2015 5:56:52 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Therefore, in MAD the rational are at the mercy of the irrational. The lunatic is king.

That's how Nixon played politics internationally...

There is another way, though, to tame the insane.....

You be so mean and scary that they don't come out to play (or you be really nice, while you let you henchmen do all the scary things).

The Reagan administration is a great example of that, because the world was on notice that if they even did a single thing that a powerful interest in the United States didn't like... catastrophically bad things would happen to them.

So Ronald Reagan played the "I won't let the U.S. get pushed around; you so much as blink in a way that I don't like and I just might push the nuclear button!" role.
MAD is insane, right? Normally it is more beneficial for a nation to cooperate with other nations rather than be needlessly aggressive

Please explain why this is true. The opposite is IMHO far more valid. Aggression is only "needless" if it does not involve achievable goals.

but with MAD it's more beneficial to be aggressive. You can make far greater gains threatening nuclear war than you could through peaceful means. The only way to counter this is to match aggression with aggression. The problem with this is that it creates the possibility of escalation.

Nixon played this same card. The main difference between Nixon and Reagan's approaches was that Nixon was already mired in a protracted conflict when he threatened nuclear weapons. Both were willing to resort to nuclear weapons to forward US interests.

If you think Nixon was "insane", then Reagan was several times more so.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?