So GovUK is debating the replacement of our Trident Nuclear Capability. And I ask, why on Earth should we replace it?
Whether or not you believe nuclear weaponry ever helped establish peace – and I could argue both ways – I can’t understand why nukes are in any way relevant now. The old enemy is gone now, and the new ones are unlikely to be defeated, held at bay, or slowed by the same toys. Mutually Assured Destruction (definitely MAD) was the old order, where the balance of terror prevented either side from gaining too much sway in world affairs. Nuclear capability didn’t even end the Cold War, the Soviet’s fell to economics, when their brand of top down communism failed to feed their own people.
The new enemies are mostly not states in their own right, many of them are not even people led. Terrorists, whether by stated inimical philosophy or by dint of being attacked by Western resource-driven empirialism, tend not to have base locations, home countries; nowhere to bomb. Our other opponents are of our own making; global climate change, loss of resource (land, water, food, power) and population explosion. Where should we bomb to defeat any of these forces?
As a Pagan, finding my own spirituality within Nature, within the Land, Sea and Sky, and connected to the spirit within each and all, how ever could I justify the devastation that would be visited upon our world should we find it ‘necessary’ to use nuclear weaponry? I am not a pacifist, nor yet am I ignorant of those brave souls who fought to make and keep this Land my home, but morally I cannot condone even considering owning any part of the massive stockpile of planet-killing missiles and bombs our leaders covet. And as for ever actually using it…
And how, in deciding that we ‘must have’ these newer, better, more efficient devices of extinction, can we stand on our hind legs and berate other sovereign countries; denying their right to hold similarly atrocious power? Britain has signed onto the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but argues that replacement is not proliferation. Rubbish! Britain has also signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and one has to examine how we build a ‘replacement’ system with any confidence if it hasn’t been live fired? The government says it can model the bombs effectiveness on computer, but you only have to examine the partnership of GovUK and Computers to realise we’ve never been good with state led computation.
And the cost! Each of the Trident missiles (that were never fired in anger, and can be said therefore to be wasted) costed £16.8M. Sixteen point eight MILLION POUNDS. Each! Even after we have reduced our nuclear capability by some 70% we still have forty-eight of these things at sea on one of four Vanguard submarines at any one time. [opens calc.exe] That’s over £800MILLION! And there are schools having to lose valued and needed teachers for lack of cash…
The old Trident system was deemed to be ‘independant’, but was built and maintained by our puppet masters to the west. Assuming the same provisions apply with any new system we would be at the beck and call (once more) of a country whose own human rights record, pro-war stance and developing theocracy leave much to be desired. May it not be so.
Oh, and folks. It’s NUCLEAR, ok. Not NUKULER. Even Radio 4 has started dumbing down now. Gods!