Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Purpose of Our Nuclear Deterrent is to Ensure We Are Always Asked Nicely

Any country with nuclear weapons and competent delivery systems holds them for defensive, not aggressive reasons.  To argue that the Cold War is over and their cost could be more usefully diverted,   as Hattersley does in the Times today, is wholly specious.  At one time the Cold War enemy was the most likely enemy we wanted to stand up to.  But there were always other reasons for being able to look after ourselves.  When nuclear powers deal with any other state, including super-states, they are treated very differently from the unarmed.  Pakistan and North Korea underline this. 

Furthermore, it's bad enough to have the capacity of  independent nuclear deterrence degraded to having importance only in a past world and against past or specific, rather than any, threats, but coupled with:

  'Britain has a world role... peacekeeping, conflict resolution and fighting bush fires. ...—To finance it even adequately we need to abandon the pretensions of a superpower and ditch Trident now.' 

is highly tendentious too.  The United Kingdom's 'world role' is being horribly exposed in the Chilcot Inquiry as an off the wall agenda for defining inconvenient sovereign states as 'rogue' and then joining in aggressive wars against them in whatever status the United States cares to offer us, in breach of international law and of any moral notion of a just war.

To strip our country's defence capacities of deterrent and conventional resources for such a narrow and inadequate definition of the nature of any threat we could face, really will send us naked into any conference chamber.  And if our nuclear deterrent is not, as some argue, independent enough   that is a reason for making it so, not losing it.


Botogol said...

I think the most pressing reason for any country having a nuclear deterrent is to dissuade the Americans from invading.

After all
- it's really only the americans who are still, seriously, in the business of invading places.

- the US have never yet invaded a country that possesses nuclear weapons, and nor I do I think they ever will.

No wonder Pakistan, North Korea and Iran are so anxious to get some of their own. Can anyone blame them? Meanwhile any country WITH nuclear weapons will hang on to them - for much the same reason.

hatfield girl said...

Russia hasn't been backward in going forward recently, Bo.

Georgia should have cut its coat to suit its non-nuclear, if independent of the former USSR, status (apart from observing the time immemorial rule - do not attack Russia); but it got its mindset stuck in being inside an earlier nuclear shield.

I'm 100% for banning the bomb but if ANYONE has one I want one all of its own for the UK too.

roym said...

4 boats, 16 missiles, multiples warheads.. phew we could go down all guns blazing when they come for us once chilcott has published.

Botogol said...

hmm, I dunno: if no one else had a bomb .. well then that's when I might REALLY like to have one :-)

Nick Drew said...

bloody Hattersley again !

(wv = nupicion - wot a great word)

hatfield girl said...

Angels does good words, ND.

These are 'don't even think of it' weapons Bo, you're not supposed to long to see that mush -
room cloud.

hatfield girl said...

I have lost faith in Chilcot, Roy. He has a a push button underfoot, under the table (I used to have one, in the days of Midlands grandeur, under the dining room table though there was no-one in the kitchen to answer) and stops the evidence to the public when the witness is about to say something really interesting.

I wonder what they do to the public who are there in the flesh. Blind them and cut out their tongues as they leave the Inquiry room perhaps.