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Playing With / Mutually Assured Destruction

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Basic Trope: A country with nukes (or other serious weapons) will not attack another country that has similar weapons.

  • Straight: Tropestan hates Wikistan, but will never launch a nuclear warhead at them, because Tropestan knows that Wikistan also has nukes... and would not hesitate to retaliate.
  • Exaggerated: Tropestan will never send any branch of its military to Wikistan, because Tropestan knows that they have soldiers/sailors/airmen/Space Marines/etc. too.
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  • Downplayed: Wikistan's cannot literally meet Tropestan's capacity for military might pound for pound, but it still can cause enough chaos through a different method (such as a greater capacity for information warfare) that will drive Tropestan to ruin if they try a full frontal assault.
  • Justified: It's not a good idea to use something as serious as a nuke against a rival nation that has the same; to do so would cause them to retaliate (and possibly get other countries involved, too).
  • Inverted: Tropestan launches a nuke at Wikistan precisely because they have nukes, too; Tropestan wants to wipe out Wikistan by launching before Wikistan has a chance.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted:
    • If only for pragmatic reasons, Tropestan never intends to follow through with that threat, even if Wikistan does later send the worst diplomats ever.
    • It's not Wikistan; it's a country that either does not have nukes, or has much less powerful ones, not a superpower with the same (or better) weapons.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted:
  • Enforced: Truth in Television, Rule of Drama
  • Lampshaded: "We can't nuke Wikistan! If we do, they'll do the same to us!"
  • Invoked: Tropestan and Wikistan develop some kind of rivalry or hatred for one another... and both develop nuclear weapons, and are aware of their rival/enemy doing likewise.
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  • Exploited: The government of Wikistan gradually downsizes its military spendings (apart from the units that service its nukes and some other crucial ones like the Air Force and/or the Border Guard), being sure that as long as they have their nukes no one is going to invade them.
  • Defied:
    • General Bob takes over the military of Tropestan, and the first thing he does is to launch all the nukes it has at Wikistan. So his own country is gonna get bombed to kingdom come as well — what about it? As long as at least two Tropestan soldiers survive (and him to command them) and no Wikistanis survive at all, he's okay to call it a "victory".
    • The military leadership of Tropestan finds a less bloody way to take over Wikistan, like sending spec ops to Wikistan's nuclear facilities first to capture and disarm their nukes, so that the invasion by conventional forces would be easier; or supporting pro-Tropestan insurgencies in Wikistan so that they would eventually stage a coup in Wikistan's capitol and install a government loyal to Tropestan, etc.
    • Tropestan starts its military campaign to expand by attacking Dictionaryland to kingdom come with its nukes instead, because the latter country doesn't has nuclear measures in place (or maybe it does, but it's a variation of The Moscow Criterion and Tropestan's military decides it can afford to lose its capital).
  • Discussed: "Our intelligence reports tell us that so many of our neighboring countries actively developing mass destruction weapon programs. I say, shall we start pursuing it ourselves, so that in case of an invasion we could provide an adequate answer?"
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: With the ever surmounting forces of nuclear proliferation, both countries tend to leave themselves open to other problems besides Tropestan invading Wikistan and vice versa: terrorist groups, nuclear meltdowns, giant monsters, and even rogue superhumans getting their hands on either country's arsenal.
  • Reconstructed: It may not stop all of the crazies, but as long as there's enough sane (or sane...ish) people in command who are afraid of this, a possibility of peace still exists.
  • Played For Horror: Why stop at having any of them be used by adults when a child could build one and/or use it all by oneself? Aside from concerned parents, enviromentalists, pacifists, and one's Kideo Hojima with the optional rabid fanbase, even warhawks and terrorists would tremble at the thought of the world ending at the hands of a child!

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