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Towards a British non-nuclear defence policy

Towards a British non-nuclear defence policy

  • Despite the swinging cuts to the mainstream defence budget money is always found for the UK’s nuclear arsenal.

Submitted by George Callaghan…

The United Kingdom developed nuclear arms in 1952. Despite the British having done most of the early work on the US nuclear weapons program the US refused to share its nuclear technology with the United Kingdom. The UK beggared itself to have nuclear arms.

Nuclear weapons have only been used by one country. The United States dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was despite Japan already being on its last legs. Moreover, neither of these cities was of much military significance. If the Allies had agreed to let Nippon retain the emperor then the Japanese would have already surrendered by that point. Once Japan capitulated the United State permitted Hirohito to retain his throne anyway. The Hitler of Asia got off scot free while his underlings were hanged. This was because Hirohito’s collaboration with the US make the American occupation a very easy task.

What is the purpose of the UK possessing nuclear weapons? Thatcher was an outspoken advocate for a nuclear defence policy. She spoke of its deterrent effect. A would be aggressor will not nuke the United Kingdom because he knows his country would then be incinerated by British nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons are of questionable legality. They make no distinction between civilians and military personnel. They would take out a whole conurbation. They are therefore indiscriminate.

The British nuclear weapons program is ruinously expensive. The British Army is smaller now than at any time since the mid-18th century. This is despite the UK’s population being almost ten times higher than in the mid-18th century. Why on earth does the UK spend a fortune on nuclear arms when it has such a puny army? The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy have suffered severe cutbacks.

The idea of having nuclear arms is not to use them. On the other hand, the army, navy and RAF are used frequently. Would it not be more sensible to beef up conventional armed forces?

Despite the swinging cuts to the mainstream defence budget money is always found for the UK’s nuclear arsenal. The British nuclear capability is undergoing an upgrade. The nuclear triad consists of nuclear warheads that can be dropped from planes, fired from submarines or launched by rocket. There are four nuclear submarines and at least one of them is on patrol at any one time. Therefore, the UK has a continuous ‘at sea’ nuclear weapons presence. The idea being that other countries will know that they could be struck at any time.

As conventional forces have been cut to the bone surely the UK should look at its least useful defence capability. The nuclear capability uses up a huge chunk of the defence budget. If nukes were axed and the money was spent on conventional forces this would give the UK a defence capability that could actually be used. It would also mean more jobs. People would acquire skills in the forces that could be transferred to other areas. The United Kingdom should stop beggaring itself for something that will never be used.

Apart from the armed forces there are myriad other things that the money could be spent on rather than defence. The NHS, education, a tax cut, paying off the national debt, more foreign aid, pensions or green energy: the list is endless. Nuclear arms is about the worst thing to spend on. The majority of the population agree. But you will not get Parliament voting that way. How democratic is the UK when the politicians so often go against public opinion?

Many soldiers, sailors and air force personnel agree. The UK should move to a non-nuclear defence policy. Lord Mountbatten advocated this decades ago.

Nuclear arms are immoral. They would fry clothes into skin. Consider the annihilation of an entire city. It is so horrific as to be downright evil.

See Also

But I hear you say – how else can we prevent other countries from nuking us? Good question. There are 193 sovereign states in the world. 185 of them do not have nuclear weapons. How many of them have been nuked? One. That is right. 1/185 is the chance. Then again since 1945 it is 0/185. Somehow all the others have managed not to be nuked even without nuclear arms. Since the 1990s Kazakhstan, Ukraine and South Africa have given up nuclear weapons. No one has nuked them.

But what if a country with a monstrous regime blackmailed us into surrendering or else they would nuke us? In that case I would surrender. A nuclear war would wipe out the human race. Which is worse: tyranny or the deaths of 7 000 000 000 people? Anyway it is not as though you cannot be tyrannized by your own government even if you have nukes.

The United Kingdom and other nuclear weapons states consider it entirely acceptable for them to possess nuclear arms. But they will not tolerate another country joining the club. Pull up the ladder behind you! Why should other countries not have them? Where is the logic or fairness in that. We need nukes for our defence. But the Iranians do not? How else can they discourage a nuclear weapons country from attacking them with nukes? The record of nuclear weapons states on human rights and non-aggression is not perfect I think you might agree! Look at the US, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan. None of them are famous for human rights, non-intervention in other countries or indeed honesty.

Even if another country did launch nuclear weapons at the United Kingdom by then it is too late. Should one retaliate? Of course not! If the UK is going to be obliterated it does no good to wipe out the other country. All those tens of millions of people will die to no avail.

The point of having nuclear weapons is partly to be in the big league of world powers. Is it worth it?

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Dan KuhnMichel HovidJohn MilnerLindsey GrahamHistory on Parade Recent comment authors
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Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

‘The post-war Labour government spent vastly more on defence than on the welfare state partly in an attempt to give Britain influence. Whilst it was deciding whether the UK should also develop an independent nuclear deterrent, the foreign secretary Ernest Bevin arrived back from demeaning negotiations in Washington. “I never wish to be spoken to like that by an American again,” he said, “Britain must have the bomb”’.

– Michael Portillo (Sunday Times, 3/12/2006: http://www.michaelportillo.co.uk/articles/art_nipress/special.htm)

Wacky Limeys
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Wacky Limeys

Who the F___ do the Brits think they need to defend themselves from? Whole friggin’ island’s turned into a never-ending season of Monty Python skits.

History on Parade
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History on Parade

The Varangians, man. Don’t you remember when their cousins invaded England? And a savage lot they were too.

If not for the anti-savage bulwarks of Ukraine and the UK, we’d all be speaking Varangian today. Remember when their cousin Eric the Red invaded Canada? The Ukrainians held them off there too, saving British troops and America too. We must be eternally grateful to these two great nations for keeping the world order safe from marauding Varangians. Yet more concrete proof that such behavior is genetically programmed in them.

Lindsey Graham
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Lindsey Graham

I never knew this. Thank you for the history lesson. Do you mind if I use it in my next speech to the Senate?

John Milner
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John Milner

What does it matter now that the UK forces are commanded by EUfor…the European army. There is a D notice issued on this which is why the main stream media do not talk about it. This has been decided by May’s government without public debate. The nuclear component of UK forces now come under the French military. As for why have a nuclear deterrent only one word need be said ‘Gaddafi’. If Libya had had nuclear weapons the US and UK would not have attacked the country. North Korea has a nuclear force and remains free of US invasion. Since… Read more »

Michel Hovid
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Michel Hovid

The British never had a nuclear defense system on their own as they used the weapons the US gave them and their nuclear arsenal was integrated in the US defense strategy

Dan Kuhn
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Is this writer so nieve as to believe that the decision to have nuclear weapons is a British decision. That decision my friend is made in washington. Who bennefited from the purchase of the Trident submarines? It certainly was not Great Britain it was the MIC in the US of A.They made the sale and pocketed the profits.

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