Searches for the term ‘mutually assured destruction’ — a 1960s coinage describing the grim result of a potential all-out nuclear war between the United States and the USSR — have risen more than 145% since this time last year, according to Dictionary.com. President Trump’s tough talk about a “fire and fury” response to North Korea’s nuclear threats is the cause of the bump, according to Jane Solomon, a lexicographer at Dictionary.com:
“Mutual Assured Destruction came to English in the 1960s in reference to the relationship between the US and the Soviet Union and the possibility of a nuclear attack, though its meaning has broadened since then to include any nation with nuclear weapons.”
Google searches for ‘mutually assured destruction’ saw a recent peak during the first week of May, with the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and — not surprisingly — South Korea topping the list of countries searching on the term. The definition of ‘mutually assured destruction’ or MAD describes the “complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender” in a full-scale nuclear war. The idea of MAD — that there can be no winners — is a major factor in deterrence when rational leaders are at the controls.