Computational Rationality, NUTS & the Nuclear Leviathan

Deterritorial Investigations

“This paper focuses on game theory and its application to the nuclear security dilemma to argue that game theory’s mindless strategic rationality, not coincidentally, is profoundly entangled with the strategic posture it recommends. Nuclear strategy is ostensibly more effective the less intelligible it is to observers because deterrent threats achieve credibility at the price of absurdly endangering constituents with apocalyptic terror. Far from the popular conception of either the public or journalistic authors, the nuclear strategy sanctioned by game theory is not Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), but rather NUTS, Nuclear Utilization Targeting Selection. Whereas MAD is structured to symmetrically hold nuclear weapons in reserve to bi-laterally counter a nuclear attack, NUTS develops asymmetric advantage based on coercive bargaining, threatening to be the first to introduce nuclear warheads into conflict, and preparing to achieve escalation dominance at all levels of engagement. The mindless quality of game theory is useful in nuclear…

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