The decision to procure a replacement for the Trident nuclear weapons system is madness. It is madness not because we don’t need a deterrence, but the cost will be prohibitive.
Let me make it clear. I hate the damned things, but as Thatcher said, we cannot dis-invent them. If a potential enemy has them, we cannot leave ourselves open to attack or blackmail. But they should always be used as a bargaining chip for an overall reduction.
I’m not talking about an enemy such as Al Qaeda here, or even Iran. I’m talking about preparedness for what faces us in the future – and a future we cannot predict. After all, who knows what relations will be in ten years with Russia or China.
So why am I against a replacement for Trident. I’m not. I’m against an expensive replacement. Far cheaper, and perhaps more effective, would be a new generation of cruise missile. They would be easier to handle, and could be dispersed in such a way that they would be harder to knock out, thus adding deterrent value.
Why isn’t this alternative taken? Because the replacement envisaged is only partly to do with deterrence. It is also a lot to do with big business, and guaranteeing lots of profit for the real big battalions.
© Anthony North, Mar 2007
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