Freesteel Blog » Numerous new nuclear nukes are not zero

Numerous new nuclear nukes are not zero

Friday, December 12th, 2008 at 12:58 am Written by:

Way back in the mists of last year, our esteemed UK Parliament voted twice to build another round of nuclear powered nuclear missile carrying submarines aimed at god knows what.

The decision was made somewhere, it made no sense, and all our democratic representatives fell into line like so many hired actors given the ridiculous premise that a famine-struck North Korea on the other side of the globe is going to bomb us if we don’t have nukes on permanent alert.

The motion was proposed by Margaret Beckett, who said:

Why does this country need to retain its nuclear weapons? I am inclined to turn the question on its head and ask instead whether this is the time for us to abandon our nuclear deterrent, or to deny future Governments and Parliaments the ability to maintain it. It is true that the cold war has ended. Actually, it had ended before the existing deterrent came into service, as it had been ordered some years before. It is also true that, as of today, we do not identify an enemy with both a nuclear capability and the ability and intent to use it against our vital interests.

Many of the Labour Party members, historically anti-nuclear until Tony Blair triangulated the life out of them, didn’t agree we should build yet more nukes, but Blair had the votes of the opposition Conservative Party, who can be counted on 100% of the way behind any war or military deal.

There was, however, one notable dissenting voice in the Conservative Party. Michael Ancram said:

The truth is that the idea of automatic reactive mass obliteration, which was so fundamental to the concept of mutually assured destruction, does not wash any more, and people in the west would not accept it. Yet Trident’s credibility rests on it. To me, Trident was a deterrent of the 20th century; it is not a deterrent of the 21st. We should be looking for something more proportionate and therefore more credible, and that might well not be nuclear. If we need time to do that, we should make that time.

If the deterrent is nuclear, should it be Trident? Trident was originally chosen because it was mobile and invisible, and therefore invulnerable to pre-emptive strike. We are told that that is still the case today. But will it still be invisible in 20 years? That is the crucial question. Do we believe that, by then, advances in technology will not have found a means of tracking submarines underwater from space or from the sea itself? If so, Trident will be redundant and the massive expenditure will have been wasted. Are we prepared to bet against that?

Are there alternatives? Having chosen Trident, the Government are determined not to weaken their position by conceding that there might be alternatives. I understand that. They have a case to make.

After paying tribute to his colleague, Malcolm Rifkind disagreed, and said:

The worry about the new states seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, such as Iran and North Korea, is that they do not have the tradition of restraint—until recently, India and Pakistan did not even introduce a hotline to minimise the risks associated with nuclear weapons. To imagine that this country’s security would somehow be safeguarded in a world in which new nuclear powers are coming forward and in which, were the advice accepted, western Europe was to be the one region that not only did not have the capacity to deal with such threats but had by its own choice ceased to have that capacity, would be very foolish.

Why am I going on about this?

Well, just now I found out about, and straight away signed the Global Zero declaration:

We, the undersigned, believe that to protect our children, our grandchildren and our civilization from the threat of nuclear catastrophe, we must eliminate all nuclear weapons globally. We therefore commit to working for a legally binding verifiable agreement, including all nations, to eliminate nuclear weapons by a date certain.

Among the prominent signatories are Malcolm Rifkind and Margaret Beckett.

I would really like to ask them: What is their goddamned point?

I collect this voting data so that people can ask them to explain themselves when they roll into these new nuclear disarmament conferences, as if they didn’t just eighteen months ago put their names onto the decisive roll committing to the completion of a major nuclear weapons project for the year 2030.

The Global Zero FAQ explains:

Zero is a laudable goal, but is it realistic?

It probably wasn’t — until recently. In recent months, the threat of proliferation and nuclear terrorism has led to a growing chorus of world leaders calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons — including conservative realists and military leaders. And the public supports them: recent polling shows that the worldwide public, including in the nuclear weapons countries, overwhelmingly favors Zero. This new and unprecedented support for Zero from key governments around the world has made reaching this goal — while still difficult — possible. The alternative — continuing with the status quo and the ongoing spread of nuclear weapons — is not a realistic solution to the problem.

So what’s going on?

Have there been any nuclear events I don’t know about in the last two years to have got the attention of the power elite? You know, like the accidental launch of one of these rusty old mega-death missiles that are kept on stand-by in their silos for no good reason? Such an event would be exciting enough to get people’s attention and make them realize that we can’t go on living with this, and that this joke has got to end before a lot of people get seriously hurt, and the public quite reasonably blames them for it.

I don’t know. Maybe something did occur, and was covered up. And the word has come down from the political elite of a change of policy. And now these puppets, Malcolm Rifkind and Margaret Beckett, are just acting it out like it’s their idea all along. And as long as nobody asks them to explain what changed their minds and what’s going on behind it, we’ll just get along fine. We’ll continue writing letters to our MPs, and it will continue to have no use, because they’re the wrong people to be talking to. These MPs do know who we should be talking to, who they take their orders from, but we don’t demand they be honest about it with us.

If we don’t start paying more attention, Parliament will deteriorate into a rump as grotesque as the US Electoral College. By the way, they meet on Monday to officially appoint the new POTUS.

This dance of people and offices, with so many professionals owing their allegiance to an office whose holder can be substituted at any time gets stranger every time I think about it.

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