MAD…and bodily fuels

Modelling the MAD Game (Mutual Assured Destruction) in the Cold War Era, as a simultaneous decisions game:

Two superpowers with nuclear capability to annihilate their opponent or retaliate imminently with equal or greater force are considering their strategies for escalation in the event of a military crisis.

Who are the players? *

  1. USA
  2. USSR

What are the available actions? *

  • Strike (Launch Nuclear Attack)
  • Do Nothing

It is also assumed that:

  • Both superpowers have enough nuclear firepower to completely annihilate their opponent
  • Both superpowers have a MAD policy in place and will automatically retaliate in equal or greater force   

What are the outcomes? *

  1. USA strikes, USSR does nothing
  2. USA does nothing, USSR does nothing
  3. USSR strikes, USA strikes
  4. USSR strikes, USA does nothing

What are the payoffs? *
What are the players’ preferences over outcomes? Payoffs mean the rewards that the players derive from their participation in the game; say monetary profit in business circumstances, but in many situations there may be non-pecuniary rewards (‘utility”).

  1. (-∞, -∞) Total Annihilation (immediate USSR MAD response)
  2. (0,0) Status Quo
  3. (-∞, -∞) Total Annihilation
  4. (-∞, -∞) Total Annihilation (immediate USA MAD response)

Conclusion: *

Do nothing is the only rational option. This is the principle of nuclear deterrent.