November 01, 2005

The Guardian on the Bomb

Guardian on the bomb:
"The salient fact is that Britain faces no threat remotely comparable to the one that confronted it during the cold war."
A bunch of ideologically driven fanatics, who have already declared war on us, are conducting that war through proxy and small wars, and will rather soon get the Bomb? Looks similar to the cold war to me, but with a less rational opponent.
Opponents of the British bomb argued that the Soviet Union was a status quo power, uninterested in world domination, and that in any case the British deterrent wasn't truly independent
Just as now opponents will claim that the ideological nutters of Islamofascism are a status quo power, even though they want to restablish a land empire and from that take over the world, and that Britain will slavishly follow US policy whatever.
There was a degree of truth in the first argument and rather a lot in the second, but the idea that it would be better to keep nuclear weapons just in case was always more convincing than the suggestion that we could depend on the goodwill of the Soviet leadership for our security. For how long would the Soviet Union have remained a status quo power if the prospect of an easy victory against the west had been in the offing? That, in a nutshell, is why Labour kept losing the argument in the 1980s.
And is exactly the same now, which is why the anti-nucleur brigade are still losing the argument. As even the Guardian admits
Does President Ahmadinejad's recent outburst change the strategic equation as far as Britain is concerned? No, but it might make sense for those living at a safe distance to be less judgmental of Israel's nuclear programme.
And after Isreal has been pushed into the sea and the Caliphate restored, do you honestly think that Islamism will simply stop, job done? No it won't. It will continue attacking everywhere until the entire world 'submits' just as the first Caliphate did when it was formed getting as far as the gates of Vienna.
the government's last line of defence is to argue that we cannot know what security challenges Britain will face in 2025 when Trident reaches the end of its operational life. But what country couldn't say the same? This sounds more like an argument for universal proliferation than anything else
And if the Guardian hadn't noticed universal proliferation is happening. Just about everyone with the technical capacity to build a Bomb either has, or is trying to (Japan being an exception, being constitutionally required to be Pacifists).
Besides, the scale of threat requiring a British nuclear response would take years, and probably decades, to emerge.
And it would also take years to rebuild our nucleur arsenal once it has gone, years that we would not have if the Guradian had it's way refusing to see any danger even if it is staring them in the face (from the desk opposite).
Issues of prestige mean that getting out of the nuclear business would be a courageous step, similar in many ways to the Wilson government's decision to pull back from east of Suez in 1967.
Courageous? Suez? The lowest point in British power in the twentieth century, it was a humiliating climbdown for Wilson.
Anything else would be a scandalous waste of public funds and ought to be opposed even by those of a hawkish disposition, on the pragmatic grounds that the money should be spent on capabilities with actual military use.
I think that there are many more and worse scandalous waste of public funds around or in the pipeline because of New Labour, such as the proposed ID Cards, at least nukes give you a lot of bang for your buck.
Unfortunately, it says something depressing about modern British politics that it is in many ways easier to imagine this being done by a Conservative government, unencumbered by the need to fight its demons and advertise its toughness, than by the current Labour leadership. Ministers will continue to obfuscate for the time being, but all the signs are that Labour is set to enjoy the unique distinction of having held two diametrically opposed positions on nuclear weapons within the space of 20 years - and being equally wrong on both occasions.
No they where wrong and have seen the (very very bright flash of) light. They where wrong about economics, they where wrong about nukes. They started following the Free Market and the economics went right (until Gordon started backsliding and therefore so did the economy), hopefully they will do the same with nukes.


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