There is a need in the U.K. for a full and informed debate about the future of the country’s nuclear deterrent – and whether there is any reason for its retention - a need made all the more pertinent by increasing pressure on limited defense resource. It isn’t quite taking place yet.
“The UK deployed Trident nuclear missiles because they could cause the total breakdown of Russian cities by killing half their inhabitants, according to a top-secret document passed to the Sunday Herald,” proclaimed the Scottish newspaper at the weekend.
The vague tone of surprise is rather curious – what would be the point of a strategic deterrent if all it was going to do was lay waste to a few shopping kiosks on Leningradsky Prospekt and chip the paint work on St. Basil’s?
Elsewhere in the UK press there were also suggestions that Washington has been free-loading on the back of UK nuclear research.
The Guardian newspaper suggests that the U.S. used British nuclear facilities at Aldermaston to carry out modeling work on warhead performance.
The newspaper quotes Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat party defense spokesman as saying the British Parliament and the country “would react with ‘outrage’ at the prospect of British taxpayers funding a new US nuclear weapon.”
British taxpayers funding U.S. use of U.K. hydrocode perhaps – but this doesn’t quite equate to bank-rolling a complete weapons program.
Picture Credit Royal Navy/Crown Copyright