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Regarding Project Syndicate writer Sergei Karaganov’s April 30 article, “The end of mutually assured destruction“: The doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) was the best American policy initiative to come out of the 1960s. It represents realpolitik at its finest with an emphasis on maintaining a multilateral balance of power. The reason for its durability and persistence is the role that it has played in keeping military adventurism and its would-be perpetrators in check.

Perhaps the most significant result of strategic nuclear deterrence was the opening up of the Soviet Union at the initiation of the general secretary of the Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev.

As the existence of a strategic arsenal of nuclear weapons essentially assured the end of the world, it enabled Gorbachev to respond correctly to the bellicose demagoguery of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, the penultimate frontman for the military industrial complex. Gorbachev’s response was to say “no” – the Soviets would not continue to waste their resources in a pointless arms race with the United States.

Conventional military superiority was not necessary for defense, since the strategic nuclear deterrent served to maintain peace. Gorbachev was not interested in involving the Soviet Union in military adventurism as the U.S. had done with its Invasion of Grenada (1983) and the Iran-Contra Affair (1986), and thus depriving the people of the Soviet Union of public resources for social welfare, modernizing and growing the economy, and so on.

There would appear to be no sound security-based rationale to do away with a policy that has basically worked as a strategic deterrent for more than 40 years now.

So I find it rather curious that former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and others connected with the security establishment – or the military industrial complex – are calling for an end to the policy.

In the end, it seems that multilateralism is a threat to the hegemony sought by would-be oligarchs with deep connections to America’s military industrial complex.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

darren vasaturo