What derived from WWII was the Cold War and the emergent property of containment. The war was cold because nobody wins if it’s hot.
We think of containment as a derivative value, deriving from the incentive to act, but it now has an added identity, operating with causal attributes that are in fact the incentive to properly act in priority. (See articles by griffithlighton on proprietary risk.)
Containment is not new. Opposing forces seek to contain the risk of invasion by reducing the incentive. (The risk does not reduce, remember. It is still there, measured by the “logistics” — the technique — for containing it.) The opposing party has to at least think the value of deterrence exists to contain any incentive to obtain land, or the wealth of nations, by force.
What contains the incentive to use nuclear weapons is the “flexible response.” Ironically, this is the freedom to use them whenever a party wants. The only thing that exists to contain the probability is the “first strike.”
Flexible response and the first-strike option adds identity to the working concept of deterrence. The value that naturally derives is to not attain conditions that will warrant a first strike. Instead, being flexible, we resort to conventional means of military action up to the point that a nuclear strike is an option. Instead of the probable risk deriving containment, the probability then derives from containment of the risk and its measurable “attainment.”
Attainment denotes the value of a public menace. (See other articles by griffithlighton on attainment and “nuisance value.”) To contain the derivative value (the added identity, existing on demand) we have to be sure there is no incentive to use nuclear weapons — it is imperative (always was and always will be)!
Are we doing that?
Effectively, over time, the structural elements are reshaped to form a new logic of existence, but the element of resistance is the same, having perfect symmetry of charge and parity under transformation (CPT-symmetry).