I’m going to start very early on here and disclose to the reader that i’m in favour of Britain’s nuclear deterrent and it has been brought to my attention that like I have stated in one of my earlier posts, should Scotland gain independence from the UK what effects it could have on England? One thing that would go would be the nuclear deterrent as in the form of the Trident missiles on board the Vanguard submarines, why I might hear you ask? Mainly because the four Vanguards the Royal Navy possess are based in Clyde on the West coast of Scotland, and since the Scottish have no wish to have a nuclear deterrent, one can only guess they would be dismantled or even sold off back to America. Purely on the basis that it would cost far too much to relocate/ build a capable station to encompass these four submarines, it just wouldn’t happen in our current fiscal climate. Although we don’t have to worry about Scottish Independence until 2014 it’s coming around a lot faster than you think.
We must ensure that we keep Trident for the simple factor that we need the assurance that no foreign aggressors can create a crisis the UK can’t handle. It’s also good for the peace we can administer in the international community, having that kind of deterrent is useful in critical situations where we could potentially be bullied if we didn’t have it. One thing I quickly want to add, we haven’t heard much from the Iranian’s of late other than the supply of chemical weapons to Syria of course, makes you wonder what is going on behind the scenes? I always think it’s the one region to watch out for considering only a few years ago Ahmadinejad declared that ‘Israel needs to wiped from the face of the earth’. Poor old Israel, the Jews never seem to catch a break! Hated on all sides, Hezbollah in the north and Lebanon and the Palestinians in Gaza. Not that I defend Israel as they did displace the Palestinians in the first place.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I want to outline that just because the reason we got the deterrent in the first place has gone, the reason for keeping it is that it’s even more dangerous than it was before. At least in the cold war we knew who the enemy was and who to keep the missiles targeted at and where to have the pointed. Back in 1994 all missiles were de-targetted from Russia, due to the Soviet Union disbanding a few years earlier. Now the system is set so that the Trident missiles can be set and target a potential threat within 15 minutes, not having a specific location to target like back in the cold war.
The political climate is perceived as a lot less hostile in the current day then it once was, I personally think that’s a load of bollocks! Any number of countries still have an underlying threat and could switch at any given time. Even in some of the so called ‘safe’ countries, even UN Security Council members Russia are at risk. It wasn’t even that long ago that Chechen rebels flared up, not on the scale that you once heard about back in the 90’s but the threat is still there. Imagine if Chechen extremists got their hands on some sort of nuclear material/ weapons? I don’t think for a second that the Russian’s wouldn’t handle it but all it takes is for one missile to be launched or a bomb to be detonated and you have an ever-lasting effect on the world, you only have to look at Yokohama and Nagasaki and imagine it in the ‘modern’ world. I don’t even need to mention the fact that the two Boston bombers are believed to have strong links to Chechnya, that is all you need to know.
Another thing to take into account is the Chinese. They have a foothold in Asia now as they are the biggest economy and driving force in the region. I understand that they are supporters of North Korea and would make it difficult to intervene should the situation escalate from the stage it’s at now. It’s weird how these massive nations continue to prop up these regimes who are clearly trying to instigate problems in the world, you could almost compare it to a child crying for attention, it’s quite pathetic if you think about it!!
India and Pakistan don’t escape this as well as yet again not long ago they were fighting over Kashmir as both lay claim to it and it only takes something major to kick off before they nuke each other and cause irreversible damage and ruin things in the region for years to come. This brings me back to the point of our importance in the EU, as we are the only NPT member other than France in the EU which is why we have the influence we do, and why we are a leading member in NATO as well. Not that we would shy away from our responsibilities within NATO or protecting nations from threat, but we will no longer be the nation they all look to. It’s also a good point to tie in with one of my previous posts of our importance to the US and our hold over Europe, if we were to lose our nuclear programme, it’s debatable the US would see much else we can offer them and would more than likely turn to France for some sort of partnership as they would become the major players in the EU and would have the influence.
Either way, even if we do manage to keep the Trident missiles they will have to be replaced in 2017 as they only have a life of 25-28 years and were made in ’92. So will be looking at a complete overhaul or whether they will even renew it, as we don’t know which government will be in power at the time!!
I shall continue my Trident blog soon!