15 March 2007

Britain's independent nuclear deterrent

As I write this the House of Commons has voted for the replacement of the UK’s Trident nuclear submarines, carried only because the Conservative Party almost entirely is voting with the Labour government – as nearly 100 Labour MPs have voted against it. 409 in favour, against 161.
The arguments put in favour of Trident are that it is inappropriate for the UK to abandon its nuclear deterrent when nuclear proliferation (Iran, North Korea) continues, potentially posing a serious threat to its security. Another consideration is that while Russia is no longer an enemy, it is not exactly a very good friend – the risk that Russia could once again have ambitions eastward cannot be foreseen 25 years in advance. Indeed, anyone who 25 years ago would have forecast a quasi-genocidal war in Sarajevo would have been looked at askance. In addition, having a nuclear deterrent puts Britain with France and the US, as the three leading Western defence powers. While the UK could certainly expect the US nuclear umbrella to be used for its defence, abandoning its nuclear deterrence would send a negative message to the US, and greatly harm bilateral relations.
Those against Trident believe it is a waste of money (£15 billion) that could be spent on social services (note they NEVER argue for tax cuts, funny that), but are primarily driven by two motives. First is a utopian vision for nuclear disarmament, with the naïve belief that if the UK disarms, it will encourage non-proliferation elsewhere. Those opposed to Trident are part of the so-called “peace movement” and claim to want a nuclear free world.
Let’s look at nuclear disarmament, which has happened on a grand scale since the end of the Cold War, with the US, UK, France and Russia all substantially reducing their nuclear arsenals since the late 1980s. This happened not because any one party unilaterally disarmed, but because the USSR – a regime far too many in the “peace movement” either supported or whose sins it ignored – was defeated economically, politically and philosophically. Had the nuclear disarmament called by the very same type of people in the 1980s occurred, the Soviet Union would not have been brought to its knees – something that far too many in the so called “peace movement” didn’t like (ignoring the Soviet launched imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Korea and the Middle East).
Further nuclear disarmament or the termination of nuclear programmes has occurred either because a threat was removed (South Africa) or a threat was real (Libya). North Korea pursued a nuclear weapon because it lost the Soviet nuclear umbrella and needed a tool of blackmail so its bankrupt system – and it seems to have worked. India and Pakistan had the capability for many years before “turning the last bolt”, but the sub continent’s nuclear deterrent has worked. Iran on the other hand is pursuing nuclear weapons as it embarks on its own ambition to obliterate Israel. Israel’s nuclear deterrence is just that – it has also largely worked to defend it since the Yom Kippur War. None of the almost all fascist Arab states dare touch it – and Israelis wont dare remove their greatest tool. Meanwhile, on its own, and subject to few protests from the so-called peace movement, China builds up its nuclear arsenal. However, that’s apparently ok (don't see Chinese flags burnt or major protests outside Chinese embassies).
There is an argument that since the end of the Cold War, Europe is at peace and no longer needs nuclear weapons. This is incredibly naïve – while many ex. communist states are now EU members (indeed almost all European ones are now), Russia is not. Russia remains a state to watch. Britain’s nuclear deterrent keeps Russia from doing anything silly.
A nuclear weapon free world will only come will all those holding nuclear weapons at present are truly open liberal democracies, with no sectarianism and no states vowing to wipe them off the earth, with no terrorists seeking to fight jihad, and no rogue states engaging in blackmail. That means an end to Islamism, an end to Marxism-Leninism, an end to kleptocratic fascism. In other words, a truly free world of secular peaceful states.
Unfortunately the so-called peace movement grants moral equivalency between the UK, Iran, North Korea, Russia and China. The UK has never seriously threatened its nuclear weapons in anger, Russia (as the Soviet Union) not long ago sought to eliminate freedom and liberal democracy in the West.

Now is not the time to be naïve and pander to the one eyed hypocrisy of the so-called peace movement, which seeks as a priority disarmament of open free liberal societies, but has little interest in disarming closed, authoritarian states. Stupid or another agenda? You decide.

1 comment:

darren said...

Well said.
And pacifism only works when everybody is a pacifist.
The commies weren't in the last century, just as the jihadists aren't in this.
It is good to see how UK Labour has changed its views over Trident and nuclear weapons.
I remeber their unilateralism of the 1980s and their 1983 Election Manifesto which was branded as 'the longest suicide note in history."