Atlantic Council Senior Adviser Harlan Ullman writes for United Press International on contemporary global threats:
During the Cold War, a thermonuclear conflict between East and West would have eviscerated much of society on both sides of the Atlantic. This delicate balance of terror was labeled Mutual Assured Destruction, commonly known as MAD. The acronym had obvious double meaning. Committing national suicide in a thermonuclear exchange was a clear-cut case of insanity on the part of Washington and Moscow. Unfortunately, the simplistic and negative use of the term MAD was misleading as the Cold War had far more complicated geostrategic and ideological sides to it.
Today, the term MAD can be reused and made more relevant to the current real and potential dangers to society at large. MAD now should be redefined properly to mean Mutual Assured Disruption as it applies to societies, individuals and standards of living. And this disruption can flow from acts of man and nature.