In 2016 the United Kingdom is set to renew the possession of giant warheads capable of obliterating entire states. So it seems rather alarming that the only referendum that is set to go ahead during Cameron’s next term is concerning our position in the European Union. This is despite the fact that in over twenty opinion polls conducted since 2005, most people are in favour of abandoning our nuclear deterrents when given a simple yes or no choice.
The costs of trident are substantial. The Ministry of Defence estimates a cost of between £17.5bn and £23.4bn, while the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) factors in supposed additional costs that could amount to £100bn.
There needs to be a consideration of what we are getting for this kind of money. Primarily, nuclear weapons help the population keep a peace of mind in an uncertain world of some nasty boys with their scary toys. Additionally, Trident helps to maintain prestige and influence as a global power, in and also plays a big role in our “special relationship” with the US and within NATO.
That said, this “peace of mind” does not equal a “mind of peace”. Are you truly seeking for a peaceful outcome to international tensions if you want to renew your possession of nuclear weapons? Consider the very credible arguments that instead, Trident actually contributes to the escalation, and not the deterrent, of military tension, impending threat and instability in international relations.
In the Western cowboy movies, no-one points a gun at those who do not have them, they only aim at the ones who are pointing at them.
Trident actually contributes to the escalation, and not the deterrent, of military tension, impending threat and instability in international relations
Recently, a Trident whistleblower, William McNeilly, unveiled that the weapon arsenal is a “nuclear disaster waiting to happen”. In the report, which was released on Wikileaks, McNeilly criticised the safety precautions and that apparently any person could infiltrate the submarines. Not only this, but possessing nuclear warheads seems rather dangerous in itself, especially if mismanaged. One little fault could set off an explosive outcome, quite literally.
And what of this “special relationship” with the US? Weapons should not be the basis of any relationship. Only nine nations (US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea) own nuclear weapons, of which the majority are owned by Russia and the US. Therefore, it seems like this “special relationship” is really just an obsequious one.
Japan, Canada, Germany and Italy all seem to have continuing global influence despite their lack of nukes
Of course, some Trident supporters argue that the UK’s position in the G8 summit would be seriously diminished should it be abandoned. On the other hand, only four out of the eight countries in G8 own them. Japan, Canada, Germany and Italy all seem to have continuing global influence despite their lack of nukes.
Indeed, according to the CND, our own weapons are assigned to the US-dominated NATO, and thus could not be used without the approval of the US President. As such, it remains their informed opinion that leasing these warheads from the US actually undermines, rather than protects, our political independence and sovereignty.
Photo by Kenichi Nobusue vi Flickr