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“Changed the calculus”?

This sentence:

“By securing a permanent US commitment to the defence of all its members from 1949 onwards, Nato changed the calculus confronting potential aggressors.”

appeared in this Daily Telegraph article.

I think I grasp what the author is getting at, but it does seem a most unusual and perhaps incorrect use of “calculus.”

Or am I behind the times once again?

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@HS "Calculus" is perhaps first encountered as some awful maths concept and formula at school, and seems to be the most common meaning. However, there are alternatives, including specialist meanings in dentistry and medicine, and also a more general meaning as follows:

"A decision-making method, especially one appropriate for a specialised realm. " (wiktionary)

"calculation; estimation or computation" (

2008 December 16, “Cameron calls for bankers’ ‘day of reckoning’”, Financial Times:

The Tory leader refused to state how many financiers he thought should end up in jail, saying: “There is not some simple calculus."

If a Tory PM has used the word in this meaning, it must be okay, mustn't it?

jayles the unwoven May 10, 2016, 4:51pm

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