Thursday, June 22, 2006
Trident will be a Waste of our Money
The key questions to ask are:
i) Who will it defend us against? Once it was the USSR and even that argument was a bit dodgy; now the old Stalinist edifice has collapsed there seems even less reason. As that huge loss to the party,Robin Cook pointed out last July,'No other nuclear threat has stepped forward to replace the Soviet Union as a rationale for the British nuclear weapons system.'
ii) Would we ever use them? The answer to this has three parts: a)It is inconceivable we would use such weapons against a non nuclear power. By the same token, during our most recent and most important conflict back in 1983, Argentina was in no way deterred by our nuclear status from initiating force against us. b) It is inceivable we would ever use these missiles- available to us 'on lease' from the US- without the full approval of that country. And as Cook points out, policies binding us closer to the US are just not what the British public wants right now. c) The big priority at present is the war on terror and nuclear weapons are useless against such threat.
iii)Is it Value for Money? The cost is likely to be £25bn(the annual cost of the whole defence budget) over an extended period. Cook pointed out that such expenditure would force cuts in our 'the conventional capacity of our armed forces' which would detract from our ability to meet present commitments and be at variance with the views of 'a clear majority of the oficer corps'.
iv) Would our security be weakened without them? Cook points out that a number of nations have abandoned nuclear weapons in recent years- Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine and South Africa- none of which regard themselves 'as any less secure than before'.
It will be a great shame if Prime Minister Brown as one of his first policy commitments, makes a decision to waste ever more huge sums of taxpayers money to no effective end. For a powerful defence ot retaining the missile system, see this article.
(Interesting in the "Telegraph" article that the author appeals to Labourites directly:
"Labour Governments took Britain into Nato and modernised the old Polaris fleet, whereas the last Conservative Government disgracefully acquiesced in Serb aggression against Bosnia’s multi-ethnic democracy. It will be historically appropriate if Labour takes the right and patriotic course once more.")
Thanks for the references. But the Oliver Kamm link provides a good argument, especially when he suggests that we'd be at a disadvantage if we become non nuclear and are faced by a nuclear power in a dispute, for example over a Falklands type situation. I'm not sure he hasn't got a killler argument there.
As for the general point... as you might expect from a tyrannosaurus, I agree... a total waste of money.
The not nuclear option.
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