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Note that just about every USA scientist, including those working on it, thought the whole idea was ludicrous too. You don't have to find secret Soviet documents saying that. :-)

Still I have heard that claim about SDI killing the USSR argued, and there's a good case for it.

The argument is that the entire Cold War regieme depended on the concept of Mutually-Assured Destruction (MAD); the idea that neither side would attack the other directly because both sides knew full well that if they did so, the other side would be able to destroy the aggressor.

The important thing here is psycology. If one side got it in their heads somehow that it was in fact possible for one side to destroy the other without getting destroyed in return, then MAD no longer works. The truth of the matter isn't important, just what both sides believe to be the truth.

What SDI did was allow the American side to plausibly argue that they no longer believed the MAD condition to be true. Again, if they were right or wrong isn't that important. The Soviets would have had to develop some kind of clear counter to SDI that would convince Regan and his band of (insert your favorite adjective here) that MAD had been reasserted. That would have been really expensive, and the USSR just didn't have that kind of money or technology.

Now I'm not really sure I entirely buy this argument. If it were me I'd add SDI to all the US's other military spending, and say that the Soviet Union simply got to the point where it could no longer afford to keep up a credible military counterbalance. Once folks got the idea that there was no longer a real balance of power, the USSR's credibility at home and abroad simply collapsed.

I have heard that argued, and there's a good case for it.

The argument is that the entire Cold War regieme depended on the concept of Mutually-Assured Destruction (MAD); the idea that neither side would attack the other directly because both sides knew full well that if they did so, the other side would be able to destroy the aggressor.

The important thing here is psycology. If one side got it in their heads somehow that it was in fact possible for one side to destroy the other without getting destroyed in return, then MAD no longer works. The truth of the matter isn't important, just what both sides believe to be the truth.

What SDI did was allow the American side to plausibly argue that they no longer believed the MAD condition to be true. Again, if they were right or wrong isn't that important. The Soviets would have had to develop some kind of clear counter to SDI that would convince Regan and his band of (insert your favorite adjective here) that MAD had been reasserted. That would have been really expensive, and the USSR just didn't have that kind of money or technology.

Now I'm not really sure I entirely buy this argument. If it were me I'd add SDI to all the US's other military spending, and say that the Soviet Union simply got to the point where it could no longer afford to keep up a credible military counterbalance. Once folks got the idea that there was no longer a real balance of power, the USSR's credibility at home and abroad simply collapsed.

Note that just about every USA scientist, including those working on it, thought the whole idea was ludicrous too. You don't have to find secret Soviet documents saying that. :-)

Still I have heard that claim about SDI killing the USSR argued, and there's a good case for it.

The argument is that the entire Cold War regieme depended on the concept of Mutually-Assured Destruction (MAD); the idea that neither side would attack the other directly because both sides knew full well that if they did so, the other side would be able to destroy the aggressor.

The important thing here is psycology. If one side got it in their heads somehow that it was in fact possible for one side to destroy the other without getting destroyed in return, then MAD no longer works. The truth of the matter isn't important, just what both sides believe to be the truth.

What SDI did was allow the American side to plausibly argue that they no longer believed the MAD condition to be true. Again, if they were right or wrong isn't that important. The Soviets would have had to develop some kind of clear counter to SDI that would convince Regan and his band of (insert your favorite adjective here) that MAD had been reasserted. That would have been really expensive, and the USSR just didn't have that kind of money or technology.

Now I'm not really sure I entirely buy this argument. If it were me I'd add SDI to all the US's other military spending, and say that the Soviet Union simply got to the point where it could no longer afford to keep up a credible military counterbalance. Once folks got the idea that there was no longer a real balance of power, the USSR's credibility at home and abroad simply collapsed.

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I have heard that argued, and there's a good case for it.

The argument is that the entire Cold War regieme depended on the concept of Mutually-Assured Destruction (MAD); the idea that neither side would attack the other directly because both sides knew full well that if they did so, the other side would be able to destroy the aggressor.

The important thing here is psycology. If one side got it in their heads somehow that it was in fact possible for one side to destroy the other without getting destroyed in return, then MAD no longer works. The truth of the matter isn't important, just what both sides believe to be the truth.

What SDI did was allow the American side to plausibly argue that they no longer believed the MAD condition to be true. Again, if they were right or wrong isn't that important. The Soviets would have had to develop some kind of clear counter to SDI that would convince Regan and his band of (insert your favorite adjective here) that MAD had been reasserted. That would have been really expensive, and the USSR just didn't have that kind of money or technology.

Now I'm not really sure I entirely buy this argument. If it were me I'd add SDI to all the US's other military spending, and say that the Soviet Union simply got to the point where it could no longer afford to keep up a credible military counterbalance. Once folks got the idea that there was no longer a real balance of power, the USSR's credibility at home and abroad simply collapsed.