China-US rivalry tests MAD theory

Recent revelations of China’s expansive nuclear ambitions and pursuit of advanced weapons that can evade missile defences raise fresh doubts about the durability of Mutual Assured Destruction deterrence.

The flags of the US and China fly from a lamppost in the Chinatown neighbourhood of Boston, Massachusetts. PHOTO: REUTERS

An intensifying China-US rivalry may soon test the limits of deterrence theory.

Since the first atomic detonation in July 1945, military thinkers have struggled to rationalise the use of force when there is a risk of unleashing radioactive consequences. Physicist and Los Alamos Laboratory chief J. Robert Oppenheimer captured the transition to the new era by quoting the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month

  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.