LibLink… we’re still fighting the cold war

The UK does not need a hair-trigger nuclear weapons system to keep it safe. To suggest otherwise is Cold War thinking at its most outdated – and last week it was a shame to see both the Conservative and Labour parties in denial…

…writes Danny Alexander in the Independent.

Danny goes on to argue that the level of alertness of a weapons system should be justified by a threat level – a doctrine that is accepted for conventional weapons. He points out that we have an opportunity to take a positive step towards disarmament, and that this debate should not be dominated by the ghosts of Thatcher and Kinnock, who, let’s remember, had a cold war to deal with.

Just last month in Berlin, President Obama announced a major reduction in the US nuclear arsenal and called for movement beyond “Cold War nuclear postures”. I want the UK to meet this call.

The idea that the military can get stuck planning for the last war rather than the next was recently illustrated, perhaps unfairly, by the “more horses than tanks” comment. But on this occasion it appears to be a political attachment to the cold war and its doctrines.

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9 Comments

  • jenny barnes 22nd Jul '13 - 2:27pm

    North Korea could only attack the UK if it gets ICBM technology; look at the globe, it’s much too far for anything else. And if they have that, oh – and a nuclear warhead that actually works – why would they attack the UK? I’m sure they would rather have a pop at South Korea, Japan, or the USA. We really aren’t that important.

    The 2/3 sub idea is a nonsense. If, for whatever mad reason, you decide that you want a nuclear deterrent, then buy a proper one, not one that only works sometimes, and that needs 4 or 5 subs. Maybe they only need a few missiles each, but it makes no sense to have a deterrent where your opponent only has to wait till they’re not at sea to take them out.

  • A Social Liberal 22nd Jul '13 - 5:39pm

    Oh dear, oh dear.

    Pakistan has a nuclear missile with a range of 2000 miles – I refer you to FAS latest brief to Congress. They also are currently building nuclear powered submarines and it will only be a matter of time before they tie the two together. Pakistan are not currently the UKs biggest fans and so, just as they did with Iran, they could quite easily sell their technology to the North Koreans. Thus we could face NK missiles in the not too distant future.

    The only way to combat this threat is to follow present doctrine and have one sub constantly at sea. Any other alternative is to open ourselves to a first strike on Faslane (or wherever they put nuclear capable subs in the future).

    However, the threat of a nuclear war is nowhere near as great as a medium size conventional war an so, given the state of the UKs finances we should cut our military cloth accordingly and bin our nuclear capability

  • jedibeeftrix 23rd Jul '13 - 12:55pm

    oops, there goes anothe few hundred thousand votes.

  • The trident review should offer the opportunity for considering how we can meet our obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and take concrete steps towards longer-term nuclear disarmament.

    Whether or not a decision is taken to step down the UK’s nuclear strike capability in the next parliament, we need to retain our focus on expanding the creation of Nuclear Waepons Free Zones in non-nuclear weapons states beginning with both Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe and followed by the Korean peninsula and the Indian sub-continent.

    Effective containment of nuclear weapons proliferation is the only feasible route thay may someday offer the prospect of a European-wide nuclear weapons free zone. If and when, Israel, Iran, India, Pakistan and North Korea have abandoned nuclear weapons, the way will be clear for the UK and France to follow suit.

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