12 March 2007

Trident (again)

As you're probably aware, the Commons is to vote on whether to renew Britain's nuclear deterrent, Trident, on Wednesday. You're also probably aware that a minister and a PPS are resigning over the issue.

I read the Defence White Paper on this today after a recommendation from a Labour-supporting friend. While it's not changed my mind on the issue (I still support non-renewal and negotiations on multi-lateral disarmament, with the Lib Dem proposal as second best), it has clarified a few points.

So let's say a few things:
  • The Americans do not have a veto over whether we can launch our nuclear weapons. We do not rely on American satellites.
  • It's completely unclear and deliberately so what our targeting policy is. It is by no means a given that Pyongyang, Beijing or Tehran will not nuked. It's also no means a given that they won't. That's nuclear deterrence for you.
  • All of the other four "permitted" nuclear states are modernising their weapons and even improving them (Russia's SS-27s anyone?). Britain is merely renovating them. CND would be a lot more credible if they campaigned against those countries as welll, especially the People's Republic. They may well be a British campaign, but their briefings say nothing about the Chinese. Some people would call that biased.
  • The subs are, for the moment, pretty much undetectable.

Comments are welcome.

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