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    (Original post by Metrobeans)
    I don't think we're developing nuclear weapons with the aim of using them. Rather, we're trying to prevent MAD and for that purpose I think they are effective: Deterring attacks from other countries.
    I dont think they act as much detterance when other countries know that they will not be used. In fact we would break international law if we did. And for such a high cost, is it worth having something with no effect?
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    (Original post by DayneD89)
    I dont think they act as much detterance when other countries know that they will not be used. In fact we would break international law if we did. And for such a high cost, is it worth having something with no effect?

    Like breaking international law has ever stopped the UK government...

    They are a deterrent and would be used to retaliate.
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    (Original post by Minardi)
    Yes, the wholesale reduction of the so called national speed limit to 50mph.
    There is an argument for roads to be judged on a area by area basis. There are certainly single lane roads which are quite safe and others which are too dangerous for a 60MPH limit. A blanket speed-reduction isn't the perfect solution and there are other factors that cause road accidents, but if I remember correctly, reducing the speed limit would save 250 lives. I am in in favour.
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    (Original post by DayneD89)
    Why are they essential? Firstly because we would never use them. The first nuclear bomb dropped on the unsuspecting civilians of Hiroshima in 1945 killed more than 100,000 people: Britain’s current Trident system has a destructive capacity 200 times greater. These are highly expensive weapons that any country would be condemed and likely attacked for using.
    Now, being a bleeding heart, liberal pacifist, I'm hardly in favour of nuclear proliferation. But I can see a crap argument when it's put in front of me. Nuclear weapons, if they are necessary at all, function as a deterrent. The idea is that by their very existence we ensure that we'll never have to use them: our enemies know that if they step too far, or use weapons of mass destruction to attack us or our allies, we have the capability to blow them off the face of the earth. So, they won't. That's the point.

    They are illegal too: the Geneva Conventions prohibit the use of indiscriminate weapons likely to cause deaths to civilians and non-combatants, and the International Court of Justice charged with upholding the convention ruled in 1996 that nuclear weapons fall into this category and their use would therefore be unlawful.
    Nuance, Dayne, is not your strength. Indeed, the Geneva Convention prohibits the use of indiscriminate weapons. As you accurately pointed out, we don't use them. And I think if we got ourselves into the kind of situation where we had to use them - i.e. a world war involving weapons of mass destruction - international legality would be the least of our concerns.

    It will be renewed at a cost estimated to be some $76 billion over the next 30 years. That’s cash that could sort climate change, build a new school or hospital in almost every town in the UK – or employ 300,000 nurses or teachers.
    This I agree with.
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    (Original post by DayneD89)
    Why are they essential? Firstly because we would never use them. The first nuclear bomb dropped on the unsuspecting civilians of Hiroshima in 1945 killed more than 100,000 people: Britain’s current Trident system has a destructive capacity 200 times greater. These are highly expensive weapons that any country would be condemed and likely attacked for using.
    Its not about whether we would use them or not, according to modern strategic thought, nuclear arms are one of the most versatile weapons available, they can be used in any part of the 4 utility priciples of force. The use of the bomb on Nagasaki or Hiroshima is difficult to judge because it is likely that without them far more than that would have died trying to assult the Japanese mainland.

    Just for reference maintaining a nuclear capability is relatively cheap but renewing or creating it on the other hand isnt.

    They are illegal too: the Geneva Conventions prohibit the use of indiscriminate weapons likely to cause deaths to civilians and non-combatants, and the International Court of Justice charged with upholding the convention ruled in 1996 that nuclear weapons fall into this category and their use would therefore be unlawful.
    The international system is anarchic, there are no rules, apart from the threat of MAD and the moral condemnation there is nothing to stop a power using nuclear weapons. The ICJ and the Geneva convention is of second concern to state interests, they will always trump international concerns in the eyes of states.

    It will be renewed at a cost estimated to be some $76 billion over the next 30 years. That’s cash that could sort climate change, build a new school or hospital in almost every town in the UK – or employ 300,000 nurses or teachers.
    I think thats actually a small price to pay for ensuring Britains place in the world. £38 Billion is roughly equivalent of 5% of a years spending, over a period of 30 years its an insignificant amount. I think you underestimate the importance of nuclear weapons. If they were so unimportant then why are many states attempting to acquire them and others posturing war to prevent them?

    EDIT: Detterence is not the only use of nuclear force, arguably nuclear weapons could be used for defence, compellence or swaggering too, they have multiple purposes.
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    (Original post by DayneD89)
    is it worth having something with no effect?
    I would argue against that, Ive been doing alot of reading in modern strategic thought recently and I would suggest that nuclear weapons play an important role in the modern world, a role that shouldnt be underestimated.
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    (Original post by davireland)
    I think thats actually a small price to pay for ensuring Britains place in the world.
    i'd rather have money spent on things that actually benefit our people than waste massive amounts on defence so we can say we're a 'big world power' :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Metrobeans)
    There is an argument for roads to be judged on a area by area basis. There are certainly single lane roads which are quite safe and others which are too dangerous for a 60MPH limit. A blanket speed-reduction isn't the perfect solution and there are other factors that cause road accidents, but if I remember correctly, reducing the speed limit would save 250 lives. I am in in favour.
    I couldnt agreed more, I've seen plenty of drivers who get carried away doing 40mph.
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    (Original post by Metrobeans)
    I'm in favour. I believe that nuclear weapons are an important feature of our defence strategy and so investment in Trident is essential.
    I don't know how you could possibly justify that statement in any way.

    (Original post by Indievertigo)
    They are a deterrent and would be used to retaliate.
    Like hell they would. I for one would never vote for such a measure.
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    (Original post by Indievertigo)
    Here
    That's not even really true. In practical terms, the US' nuclear weapons and the opprobrium of the international community are enough of a deterrent to render an independent UK nuclear weapons capacity totally irrelevant.
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    (Original post by Alasdair)
    That's not even really true. In practical terms, the US' nuclear weapons and the opprobrium of the international community are enough of a deterrent to render an independent UK nuclear weapons capacity totally irrelevant.
    That's on the assumption that the US would instigate MAD after the UK had been nuked. I doubt they would. The UK is the only one that can be relied on to retaliate with nuclear weapons in such an event, the rest of the world would hope to cut their losses.
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    In any case, I wouldn't be keen on depending on the USA to provide our defence.
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    (Original post by ukebert)
    Like hell they would. I for one would never vote for such a measure.
    I don't know what makes you think you would have a say in the matter.

    They are there, 48 missiles are on a sub somewhere under the sea ready and waiting for a nuke to land on the UK. So long as everyone knows that, then they won't land a nuke on us, given that we are capable of retaliating from an undetectable location.
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    (Original post by Indievertigo)
    That's on the assumption that the US would instigate MAD after the UK had been nuked. I doubt they would. The UK is the only one that can be relied on to retaliate with nuclear weapons in such an event, the rest of the world would hope to cut their losses.
    Any nuclear attack on us will either a) also be a nuclear attack on the US or US interests or b) be made by terrorists, against whom a nuclear response is utterly useless.
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    (Original post by Metrobeans)
    In any case, I wouldn't be keen on depending on the USA to provide our defence.
    Oh hi - pre-1956 called. They'd like their status quo back please...
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    (Original post by Alasdair)
    Any nuclear attack on us will either a) also be a nuclear attack on the US or US interests or b) be made by terrorists, against whom a nuclear response is utterly useless.

    They are two huge assumptions that essentially gamble with millions of lives. Why would someone attack us to attack the US? Doesn't make sense, they would attack the US.

    Assuming that the US would respond with nuclear weapons on our behalf is ludicrous. Why would the respond? What would be in it for them? Nothing, just MAD.
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    (Original post by lotsofsnails)
    i'd rather have money spent on things that actually benefit our people than waste massive amounts on defence so we can say we're a 'big world power' :rolleyes:
    but being a 'big world power' is important to the benefit of our people, it enables us to comprehensively defend ourselves if we are ever attacked. You may cite the last 50 years as an era of European peace however due to the structure of the international system, another total war is not out of the question.
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    (Original post by Alasdair)
    That's not even really true. In practical terms, the US' nuclear weapons and the opprobrium of the international community are enough of a deterrent to render an independent UK nuclear weapons capacity totally irrelevant.
    But then what would happen if defence of the United Kingdom and NATO was no longer in America's interests? We would be defenceless against the growing number of rogue nuclear powers, e.g. Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Isreal. The maintenance of nuclear weapons is critical to the security of Britain and France because it would be unwise to pin all our hopes on America's benevolence, we should have some form of (relatively) independent nuclear capacity.
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    (Original post by Indievertigo)
    They are two huge assumptions that essentially gamble with millions of lives. Why would someone attack us to attack the US? Doesn't make sense, they would attack the US.
    They're not huge assumptions. For one, they're assumptions that most European states bar us and the French work on.

    For two, I think it's pretty reasonable to state that any attack on us is likely to be an attack on NATO/the west in general, which as you state, will likely involve the US first, and us only if they have any capability left.

    What's more, Clause 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty would kick in if we were to be attacked:

    The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all
    Assuming that the US would respond with nuclear weapons on our behalf is ludicrous. Why would the respond? What would be in it for them? Nothing, just MAD.
    It's certainly not ludicrous. It's a pretty commonly held notion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_umbrella

    What's more, MAD is an outdated concept that's really only going to come into play in case of a Nuclear War with Russia - which is extremely unlikely.
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    (Original post by davireland)
    But then what would happen if defence of the United Kingdom and NATO was no longer in America's interests? We would be defenceless against the growing number of rogue nuclear powers, e.g. Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Isreal. The maintenance of nuclear weapons is critical to the security of Britain and France because it would be unwise to pin all our hopes on America's benevolence, we should have some form of (relatively) independent nuclear capacity.
    What you're basically saying is 'What if the current world order is turned entirely on it's head'. Advocating something on that basis is ridiculous. We might as well say 'Let's build a network of defences on the South Coast in case we ever leave the EU and declare war on them'*

    *= I am aware that most of your party would like this to happen, but that just backs up my point about it being ridiculous.
 
 
 
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