Apparently Her Majesty’s Government is cosidering upgrading its nuclear submarine arsenal some time by 2040. But a row erupted on whether the UK should instead reject nuclear weapons as a whole. According to the Beebs, “the main [argument agains nuclear weapons] is that the old threat from the Soviet Union no longer exists and therefore the need for a nuclear weapon no longer exists.”
Now call me old fashioned and reactionary, but this smells a bit too much of pre-WWII disarmament drive and pacifism which was flourishing on the Island in the 30’s. Just to jogg your memory a bit: trying to lead by example, various British governments of the time unilaterally dismantled a lot of their fleet, reduced the armed forces, cut military spending and neglected development. The result being that Britain was caught with its pants down at the beginning of WWII, making it way easier for Nazi Germany to wage war in the early stages of the six-year bloodbath.
While the world has changed since then and while nuclear armament is an entirely different ball game I fail to see the reason in a country abandoning a strategic advantage over potential adversaries. Granted, the so-called “war on terror” is the order of the day and yes, if all the satellites of the world didn’t find Osama bin Laden (or didn’t they?) then is’t kind of hard to imagine what possible use nuclear weapons could be against an invisible enemy. But while you and I have the luxury of tackling problems one at the time a world power (I still consider Britain to be one) does not have that luxury.
OK, so it’d be great if there were no nuclear weapons, but this crazy planet is way beyond that. I strongly support the Non-proliferation treaty and am keen on the world becoming safer. However, I think that the times we live in are neither the time nor the place to for experimental disarmament. This goes beyond the current anti-terror and über-partiotic craze.
In the times when Pakistan and India are using their (albeit limited) nuclear capability to lay claim on a permament UN Security Council membership, when North Korea is obviously being bribed into not going forth with a nuclear option, when Iran is sending mixed signals about it’s nuclear programme (virtually inviting all kinds of crazed rednecks to come crashing a kebab-party) and Israel just itching to use its (non existing, of course) nuclear arsenal, then getting rid of the only thing that gets you a seat at that particular poker table is tantamount to assisted suicide.
I’m sure Winston wouldn’t approve…