Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BeastOfSyracuse)
    You seem to be making this personal, that's quite unnecessary. This linkage between our permanent UNSC seat and unilateral nuclear disarmament has been made before by credible figures in the national security and diplomatic establishment.
    No. That's nonsense, If having nuclear weapons were a factor, several other countries would have permanent seats. In addition, only one permanent seat was originally held by a nuclear state; the others all acquired them through the 1950s and 1960s, long after they held permanent seats.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Good bloke)
    No. That's nonsense, If having nuclear weapons were a factor, several other countries would have permanent seats. In addition, only one permanent seat was originally held by a nuclear state; the others all acquired them through the 1950s and 1960s, long after they held permanent seats.
    When those seats were conferred on the original five, the UK and France has overseas empires that made up for their lack of nuclear weapons (and it was also quite clear that the Soviet Union, UK and France would be the first to develop them after the US; China's seat was by virtue of its sheer population). When we got that seat in 1945 we were a world power. India was still part of the empire. We were still part of a common trade and tariff zone with Australia, New Zealand etc. These days we don't have these things in our favour.

    These days we are a middle power with some unique characteristics and global interests that would set us apart from, say, Germany; one of them is London's status as the largest world centre of finance. Another is our soft power through our cultural exports, through the political/social influence of the BBC World Service. Another is the fact that of the top ten universities in the world, the only two that are outside the US are in Britain (Oxford and Cambridge). Finally, we are one of only five countries that possess a credible sea-based nuclear second-strike capability. The technical character and quality of the five permanent members' nuclear forces are clearly in a different league than the other nuclear powers (though India is catching up).

    By unilaterally disarming, that kicks out one of the pillars that supports our claim to be more than just a middle power, but instead a middle power with global interests and the ability to punch above our weight militarily, thus worthy of that permanent seat. Losing our sophisticated nuclear capability would certainly make our claim to that seat less credible.

    Senior figures from government have made this point that were we to unilaterally disarm, pressure would increase particularly from India for reform of the UNSC. And I would agree with that assessment, I believe they are correct. Pointing out that there is no legal requirement to possess nuclear weapons to retain our seat is somewhat fatuous; the global political and economic reality is often much more important than the express provisions of international treaties (which can be amended). It is this global political and economic reality that the government figures who have raised this issue are pointing to
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Hopefully.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BeastOfSyracuse)
    When those seats were conferred on the original five, the UK and France has overseas empires that made up for their lack of nuclear weapons (and it was also quite clear that the Soviet Union, UK and France would be the first to develop them after the US; China's seat was by virtue of its sheer population). When we got that seat in 1945 we were a world power. India was still part of the empire. We were still part of a common trade and tariff zone with Australia, New Zealand etc. These days we don't have these things in our favour.
    No. Britain's permanent seat is entirely due to its role in WW2, as are all the others.

    The point to remember is that each permanent member has a veto over all changes to permanent membership, so Britain can never lose its seat while there is a sane man occupying 10 Downing Street.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Good bloke)
    No. Britain's permanent seat is entirely due to its role in WW2, as are all the others.
    There were other countries who were on the allied side who didn't get permanent seats. Our proportional contribution to the victory was a function of our economic and military power. When the United Nations was being formed they were considering the postwar environment; while it's true that the victors put themselves in charge, that is simply another way in which Britain's status as a global player expressed itself. In other words, it was structural.

    The point to remember is that each permanent member has a veto over all changes to permanent membership, so Britain can never lose its seat while there is a sane man occupying 10 Downing Street.
    We cannot predict what situations might arise in the future.

    The most likely reform might be along the lines of the British and French seats being transformed into two seats assigned to the European Union (which would decide internally on the delegation and on voting decisions), and India being brought in as a permanent member.

    It doesn't seem likely that a British Prime Minister would consent to such a change, but what if we had a hard left Prime Minister? What if there was a financial crisis in Europe where the French required a German bailout and that was used as leverage on them? We could be in a situation where a General Assembly vote has voted for this reform, all our European allies are lobbying us to consent to it, the other permanent members are lobbying us to agree to it. It is likely that more traitorous elements of the British left would be lobbying for it. It is hard to overstate how intense the pressure would be on a British Prime Minister to comply with this. And if he agreed with it himself, we could be in a very dangerous situation.

    I believe that if we didn't have the Trident system, the intellectual case to argue we are more deserving of a seat than, say, Germany would be weaker.

    All in all, the Security Council seat argument isn't the only or most important argument for retaining Trident, but it is a substantive one and it is seen as such by people who are involved in the diplomatic world and government circles. Unilateral disarmament is simply one more pillar being knocked out of our status as more than just a regular middle power; that we are a middle power with global interests and top-tier capabilities.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BeastOfSyracuse)
    The most likely reform might be along the lines of the British and French seats being transformed into two seats assigned to the European Union (which would decide internally on the delegation and on voting decisions), and India being brought in as a permanent member.

    It doesn't seem likely that a British Prime Minister would consent to such a change, but what if we had a hard left Prime Minister? What if there was a financial crisis in Europe where the French required a German bailout and that was used as leverage on them? We could be in a situation where a General Assembly vote has voted for this reform, all our European allies are lobbying us to consent to it, the other permanent members are lobbying us to agree to it. It is likely that more traitorous elements of the British left would be lobbying for it. It is hard to overstate how intense the pressure would be on a British Prime Minister to comply with this. And if he agreed with it himself, we could be in a very dangerous situation.

    I believe that if we didn't have the Trident system, the intellectual case to argue we are more deserving of a seat than, say, Germany would be weaker.
    Why does it matter, when we would be making the case to ourselves, not to others? We don't need to convince anyone, so don't need to be convincing. If we gave our seat to the EU, it would not because we felt we didn't deserve it, but because a British government wanted to make an irreversible commitment to remaining in the EU and to its assumption of control of foreign and military policy for the memberstates.
    Offline

    20
    (Original post by Drewski)
    It's a tool. Any tool could be used.

    The better question is "would it be used?".





    As an aside, here's a question I've been pondering and one I don't actually know the answer to; ignoring the cost for a moment, what's stopping us replacing the nuclear warheads of the ICBMs with conventional explosives? We'd then have an extraordinarily potent tool for instant reaction over incredible distances but in a non-'ending of the world' way. Not too crazy, no? The argument that "these weapons would never be used" would instantly disappear, because while we may not use the nuclear warheads, we could definitely use the missile body.
    Completely possible AFAIK, the detonator components of any kind of nuke are based on conventional explosives. The nuclear components could simply be removed and replaced with a big chunk of RDX or something as far as I'm aware.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Tootles)
    Completely possible AFAIK, the detonator components of any kind of nuke are based on conventional explosives. The nuclear components could simply be removed and replaced with a big chunk of RDX or something as far as I'm aware.
    Assuming the amount of conventional explosives would do enough damage to offset the CEP of the guidance system then it'd be possible.
    However, there's also another dimension - in January 1995 the USA launched a rocket from Norway which actually followed much of the projected path of what Minuteman ICBMs would take & behaved in the same way as a Trident SLBM would in eyes of the Russians. According to some, this is the closest the world has been to nuclear war as the Russians thought it was a inbound strike designed to blind their radar systems before a full attack began & therefore their nuclear forces were put on full alert.
    This shows that a conventionally armed ballistic missile could very easily be mistaken for a nuclear armed one. Would the USA trust China & Russia and vicea-versa? The US actually looked at this situation when considering options for its Prompt Global Strike plans but decided it could accidentally cause a nuclear war.
    Offline

    20
    (Original post by Tempest II)
    Assuming the amount of conventional explosives would do enough damage to offset the CEP of the guidance system then it'd be possible.
    However, there's also another dimension - in January 1995 the USA launched a rocket from Norway which actually followed much of the projected path of what Minuteman ICBMs would take & behaved in the same way as a Trident SLBM would in eyes of the Russians. According to some, this is the closest the world has been to nuclear war as the Russians thought it was a inbound strike designed to blind their radar systems before a full attack began & therefore their nuclear forces were put on full alert.
    This shows that a conventionally armed ballistic missile could very easily be mistaken for a nuclear armed one. Would the USA trust China & Russia and vicea-versa? The US actually looked at this situation when considering options for its Prompt Global Strike plans but decided it could accidentally cause a nuclear war.
    1. Of course, I was talking purely hypothetically of a gram-for-gram replacement of nuclear fuel with RDX or whatever's used now.
    2. Again, they're going to be easily confused, especially if nuke shells just have their nuke fuel replaced with other stuff. That's like telling me that putting my lunch in an ammo box won't stop people wondering if I'm taking my bullets for a walk... well duh.
    • Political Ambassador
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by Tempest II)
    Assuming the amount of conventional explosives would do enough damage to offset the CEP of the guidance system then it'd be possible.
    However, there's also another dimension - in January 1995 the USA launched a rocket from Norway which actually followed much of the projected path of what Minuteman ICBMs would take & behaved in the same way as a Trident SLBM would in eyes of the Russians. According to some, this is the closest the world has been to nuclear war as the Russians thought it was a inbound strike designed to blind their radar systems before a full attack began & therefore their nuclear forces were put on full alert.
    This shows that a conventionally armed ballistic missile could very easily be mistaken for a nuclear armed one. Would the USA trust China & Russia and vicea-versa? The US actually looked at this situation when considering options for its Prompt Global Strike plans but decided it could accidentally cause a nuclear war.
    There are lots of cases, mostly malfunctions and Russian.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BeastOfSyracuse)
    The hard left often proclaim that Trident could never be used, that if you have to use it you've already lost and so there's no point. While this is correct from the perspective of deterrence theory, I believe there are situations where we could envision using the Trident system.

    What if someone on the trident submarine develops mental health problems and launches it at a random country for a laugh ?
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Therec00)
    What if someone on the trident submarine develops mental health problems and launches it at a random country for a laugh ?
    What if one of the President's bodyguards develops mental health problems and decides to shoot him for a laugh? Maybe he shouldn't have bodyguards to be on the safe side.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Yes it could be, if the UK is ever hit by a nuclear strike it allows us to fire back with full force. It also prevents an invasion of the UK proper from ever taking place.
    Online

    20
    ReputationRep:
    the Govt very sensibly kept shtum about the missile not working until the vote to renew Trident had taken place.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Therec00)
    What if someone on the trident submarine develops mental health problems and launches it at a random country for a laugh ?
    Personnel on Vanguard class subs have background checks done on them so it's unlikely. It's also the case that only certain members of the crew can actually launch the weapons & I think it requires at least two personnel to do this.

    I wouldn't be too worried about someone on a UK vessel launching a first strike when you've got mental nations like the DPRK, Pakistan etc with nuclear weapons.
    • Political Ambassador
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by Tempest II)
    Personnel on Vanguard class subs have background checks done on them so it's unlikely. It's also the case that only certain members of the crew can actually launch the weapons & I think it requires at least two personnel to do this.

    I wouldn't be too worried about someone on a UK vessel launching a first strike when you've got mental nations like the DPRK, Pakistan etc with nuclear weapons.
    Not yo mention that somebody who tries to launch the missiles that clearly lacks authorisation to do so would likely be shot, maybe attempted detention first, but they would be shot before they could actually start a war.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    You know French communists used to be pro nukes as they saw it as a deterrent to western capitalism. Also the soviet union was well known for it's anti nukes position :rolleyes:
    • Political Ambassador
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    You know French communists used to be pro nukes as they saw it as a deterrent to western capitalism. Also the soviet union was well known for it's anti nukes position :rolleyes:
    So anti nuke they've had the biggest stockpile in the world for the majority of the nuclear era, looks like a major part of their collapse actually

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    Also the soviet union was well known for it's anti nukes position
    Yes. The soviets famously promised never to make a first strike and tried to shame NATO into reciprocating. It didn't. NATO's stance was that if the Warsaw Pact invaded the west (with its massively superior conventional forces and the benefit of surprise) the soviets would be on the receiving end of a first strike. That policy certainly deterred an invasion.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    So anti nuke they've had the biggest stockpile in the world for the majority of the nuclear era, looks like a major part of their collapse actually

    Posted from TSR Mobile
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Have you ever participated in a Secret Santa?
    Useful resources

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.