No Minister

On The Doctrine of Immutable Doctrines

In a recent post Dr Wayne Mapp, one time Defense Minister for a tin pot Antipodean country whose military not long ago was scared shitless by Fiji, cited the doctrine of ‘mutually assured destruction’ as the prime reason Japan’s current Deputy Defense Minister was wrong to warn of a surprise Chinese nuclear attack on Hawaii.

Before dissecting his doctrine, let’s look at the background of the gentleman Dr Mapp tells us is wrong.

Yasuhide Nakayama is responsible for a military organization having 240,000 active personnel and an annual budget of US$50 billion. Let that sink in, dear reader. The total GDP of the aforementioned tin pot Antipodean outfit is US$193 billion of which less than one percent now is spent on defense. (Thanks to clueless Labour.) Further, it is worth remembering Mr Nakayama’s country has considerable first hand experience with both surprise attacks on Hawaii and nuclear attack.

Now for the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. This was the lynch pin of western defense strategy during the cold war and is credited with preventing hostilities between the Soviet Union and the United States over some forty years.

However, one must wonder how effective it might be in preventing major conflict between China/Russia and the USA/japan/India/Australia/Philippines in today’s climate.

Times change and doctrines which were thought immutable turn out to be illusory. Consider the much vaunted Maginot Line, Impregnable Singapore and poor old Admiral Phillips’ doctrine of battleships’ immunity from dive bombers.

The immutable doctrine on which Dr Mapp relies is flawed – indeed, fatally flawed.

First, it relies on both parties being competent and capable of reacting within just twenty minutes when attacked. In my view, one would struggle to have even 20% confidence the US has such capability. Their cadaverous president, clearly propelled fraudulently into office, can’t remember where he put the keys to the nuclear codes.

Second, it relies on both parties being unwilling to sacrifice large numbers of their own citizens to gain some perceived goal. Last week Xi wore in public the uniform of his hero Mao Tse Tung who killed over ninety thousand Chinese in his Great Long March. I believe Xi would not hesitate to make a similar sacrifice If he thought it would bring him significant advantage.

As each day goes by, China’s aggressive behaviour accelerates.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is china-nuke-japan-860x475.jpg

“When we liberate Taiwan, if Japan dares to intervene by force, even it if only deploys one soldier, one plane and one ship, we will not only return reciprocal fire but also start a full-scale war against Japan,” the video says.

“We will use nuclear bombs first. We will use nuclear bombs continuously until Japan declares unconditional surrender for the second time,” referring to the end of World War II and Japan’s surrender after the United States used atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Today’s message to Japan was the coup de grace for those relying on an old and obsolete doctrine.

Written by adolffinkensen

July 17, 2021 at 4:16 pm

Posted in China, New Zealand

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10 Responses

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  1. Readers may also be interested in this recent take on the subject by noted geo-political analyst, Paul Buchanan, Nuclear strategy in a post-deterrence age:

    It was from him that I learned that the original logic of deterrence, Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) was being replaced as early as the late 1970s with something known as Flexible Response. That evolution continues to this day, with additional nuclear armed actors now factored into the equation.

    Tom Hunter

    July 17, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    • All the major powers obviously believe nuclear deterrence works. They are all spending tens of billions renewing their current systems.
      When I was in the UK doing my PhD (quite some time ago) I studied deterrence policy in some detail. I agree that the major powers no longer think the appropriate response to a single strike is to obliterate the entire country of their adversary. But they certainly want their adversary to know that any strike will be met with a counter strike that will cause unacceptable damage. All the major powers have platforms and systems that will survive any conceivable first strike to ensure that such a counter strike will happen. They also don’t signal how big the counterstrike will be. That level of uncertainty is supposed to make the idea of a first strike untenable.


      July 18, 2021 at 8:37 am

  2. Adolf
    Utter nonsense by the Japanese Deputy Minister. Size of the country has nothing to do with it. I have met enough people in such positions to know that size of the nation is no guarantee of commonsense of everyone in the system.
    It is absurd to seriously suggest that China would attack the US (Hawaii specifically) in a nuclear first strike. The nuclear deterrent between the major nations is just about the most robust foreign/military doctrine in existence. Not just in the past, but currently.
    You must surely recall that the US right used to say Mao was crazy enough to start a nuclear war with the United States. Of course that talk stopped after the Nixon visit. There is not the slightest indication that the Chinese leadership has gone so rogue as to actually contemplate a first strike.
    Even in China, not every statement is an indication of official policy. The grainy photo of a logistics ship is hardly an example of high professionalism.


    July 17, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    • It’s just a piece of crude anti Chinese propaganda of unknown provenance Dr Mapp


      July 18, 2021 at 5:06 am

  3. … crude anti Chinese propaganda …

    Perhaps, but it’s from a blogger and yet not as crude as the anti-Japanese propaganda released by an organ of the Chinese state!

    Admittedly this Japan-bashing has been going on in China now for over a decade in schools and elsewhere. Even in the 2000’s I wondered what the point of it was and could only conclude that, like all Communist regimes, the CCP needed an enemy to maintain its legitimacy, and with its history of war in China still being recent in people’s memories, Japan was the ideal target.

    But when you’ve got crap like this happening it’s a concern because every nuclear state should be sober about nuclear weapons. Even at their most vitriolic I don’t recall the Soviets putting out propaganda like this.

    Tom Hunter

    July 18, 2021 at 8:41 am

  4. Even in the 2000’s I wondered what the point of it was …

    Three words explain it all – Rape of Nanking

    Little Dorrit

    July 18, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    • Does that have an expiration date?

      Tom Hunter

      July 18, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    • Should it? Perhaps you should ask those who survived Changi. There may be one or two left.

      Little Dorrit

      July 18, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    • So Japan should be punished forever?

      Tom Hunter

      July 18, 2021 at 1:55 pm


    Food for thought from an Indian perspective


    July 18, 2021 at 3:11 pm

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