I recently did the math and realized that the nuclear age has been with us, and has consumed and shaped us, for more than 77 years. In all that time, mankind has lived under a forbidding shadow of worry and fear that has nevertheless kept the peace of the world. You can question that sanity all you want — I often have — but the facts are plain.

Growing up during the Cold War, the only way we could endure the grave consequences of that shadow was by not thinking about it. Otherwise, the concept of mutually assured destruction, or MAD, might literally have driven you mad. It was death, and it was life. Nothing else to ponder here.

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