The First World War was ultra-bloody, but even during the most heated days the vast majority of the troops wasn't even in contact with the enemy, much less in the main effort battles or even becoming casualties that day. The vast majority was instead waiting in front of each other, or in some way supporting such troops. They were cancelling each other out.
Air power is countered and greatly diminished in its potential by air defences, which in turn provoke dedicated anti-air defences aircraft missions, equipment if not entire such specialised aircraft. In the end, the air defences can avoid destruction for quite some time if they are competent, and the result is that the air defences and a portion of the opposing air power cancel each other out.
It is a very widespread phenomenon in military history that most forces don't defeat each other, but instead cancel each other out. The examples above are by far not the only ones.
Navies have a nice term close to such mutual cancellation; "fleet in being"; the idea that a fleet by its mere existence restricts the freedom of action of the opponent. (It's also quite an excuse for being too useless to do anything directly useful for months or years, of course.)
The Western way of warfare has mostly been about being better at this cancellation game, trying to overcome such cancellations by superior quality. Better anti-radar missiles, better counterbattery fires et cetera. Other efforts were directed at doing the cancellation part of warfare with less resources. Advances in field fortifications belong to this category, for example.
Rarely was the focus on breaking out of this cancellation game, pulling together some resources and trying to circumvent the cancellation situations. Blitzkrieg was one such example; it wasn't about winning in trench warfare or doing it with fewer troops, but about going past trench warfare.
The interests of procurement bureaucracies, toy lovers and arms industries favour the idea of being better in the cancellation game by having the better tools. Thus expensive radars compete with expensive jammers, expensive tank upgrades compete with expensive anti-tank munitions et cetera.
This begs the question; where could we nowadays find - especially in doctrine advances - ways to improve the military by not playing the expensive game of mutual cancellation, but of circumventing cancellation for sake of direct benefits?
I suppose Luttwak delivered a key insight for this* decades ago already:
An unspectacular advance will remain without counter for a long time, whereas a spectacular advance will provoke a strong reaction, leading to a quick and powerful countermeasure.
So one way to avoid mutual cancellation would be to pursue incremental improvements instead of "revolutionary" ones. The arms industry doesn't like this, of course. This approach also has the drawback of not delivering much in terms of deterrence, since incremental qualitative improvements are not fully appraised by threats.
In operational art, the way to go is to muster the self-discipline and political support required for pursuing the Schwerpunkt concept whenever it's promising; this reduces the share of forces that's cancelling opposing forces and maximises the share of forces that's in the business of actually overwhelming opposing forces locally or in a small region.
Concepts such as "anti-access / area denial" ("A2/AD") and everything with "counter" in its description deserve more scrutiny than is usually offered. Many such things are necessary and purposeful, but a focus on such approached may lead to almost all military efforts being about mutual cancellation, which is a powerful recipe for a long, devastating war instead of quick and decisive warfare.
To "get things right" in the military domain means to deter well with least possible expenditures, avoiding wars altogether or minimizing the horrible consequences of warfare. I suppose the widespread emphasis on mutual cancellation of military potential is too strong, and we should be more sceptical of approaches that are about or predictably end in mutual cancellation.
(This was about one-sided suppression of tactical repertoires, an idea related to mutual cancellation.)
(Another similar thought, but more distantly related to mutual cancellation.)