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What would be in your Letters of Last Resort? watch

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  • View Poll Results: Britain has been nuked and largely destroyed. Your commands?
    Retaliate and fire back
    29
    48.33%
    Do not retaliate, do not fire back
    8
    13.33%
    Leave it to the submarine commander's own judgement
    5
    8.33%
    Tell the submarine commander to fall under USA/Australian command
    18
    30.00%

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    (Original post by Democracy)
    Out of interest, what do you think of Kant? :holmes:
    What did he have to say about nuclear submarines?
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    (Original post by MSB)
    The choice is either a closed loop of retaliation, or a double-bluff of not-retaliating. If you wish to ensure that "everyone genuinely believes you would" retaliate, the latter is always going to be less convincing. As I said, non-committal will probably spill out in actions elsewhere, too, because you are either sitting confidently in your serious choice of a deterrent, or you are fidgeting in the hope that no one will notice that you have four pointless and expensive cans of metal bobbing about the North Sea. The entire stance of your foreign policy in extreme circumstances (i.e., in the imminent threat of nuclear war) is going to be resting on either the solid footing of mutually assured destruction, or the dampest p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-pokerface imaginable
    I'm wary of simply coming to the conclusion that 'a double-bluff of not-retaliating' is going to be less convincing. Your base your argument for this in the idea that non-committal will show through in the rest of a country's actions but I find myself sceptical, not least because it suggests that the actions of a country committed to retaliation will be markedly different to one that is not, and if we merely look at the countries throughout the world today which possess nuclear weapons, it's rather hard to accurately say which are likely to turn to MAD and which are not. Personally, I feel that it would be poor judgment to simply conclude that only an aggressor will turn to MAD. Is North Korea really that much more likely to resort to complete destruction than France for example? It's hard to know for sure but certainly, many Western countries, although not typically acting as aggressors, probably would.
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    (Original post by Kreuzuerk)
    I'm wary of simply coming to the conclusion that 'a double-bluff of not-retaliating' is going to be less convincing. Your base your argument for this in the idea that non-committal will show through in the rest of a country's actions but I find myself sceptical, not least because it suggests that the actions of a country committed to retaliation will be markedly different to one that is not, and if we merely look at the countries throughout the world today which possess nuclear weapons, it's rather hard to accurately say which are likely to turn to MAD and which are not. Personally, I feel that it would be poor judgment to simply conclude that only an aggressor will turn to MAD. Is North Korea really that much more likely to resort to complete destruction than France for example? It's hard to know for sure but certainly, many Western countries, although not typically acting as aggressors, probably would.
    I based my argument both on the fact that a pretend deterrent is not going to be as effective as a deterrent, and on the fact that it is still preferable to launch our nuclear weapons should an attack happen regardless of our deterrent.

    Also, to say "turn to MAD" doesn't make any sense. A government does not decide to "turn to MAD" after an attack on their country has happened. MAD must be, by definition, a consistent and continued assurance - the clue is in the name - of retaliation, rather than a decision made as to whether it is worthwhile or not. The value of nuclear weapons is all in their potential, rather than their actual damage in the event. It is a currency that is therefore rendered entirely worthless if they are not committed to use in retaliation, as in that case a submarine carrying a non-committed letter in its safe is the same as a submarine that carries a payload of papier mache missiles. Similarly, once an attack has happened, any currency you had was lost. All the potential you could have charged up is harmlessly dissipated and wasted. 'Turning to MAD' is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
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    If we were at a point were nuclear weapons were deployed, I would want to get rid of humanity anyway.

    Any species that destroys itself willingly is not worthy of survival, so if I were PM I'd order the subs to just glass everything in sight, should I be squished by a nuke hitting downing street.
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    Report to CINCLANT probably. If there's a war to be fought, might as well be done with proper information, with the orders given by a living accountability.
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    (Original post by MSB)
    I based my argument both on the fact that a pretend deterrent is not going to be as effective as a deterrent.
    I can't see the rationale behind this. If only the Prime Minister knows whether they'll be used or not, how can their threat be diminished; other than him, no-one knows whether they're merely a pretend deterrent or not.
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    (Original post by Kreuzuerk)
    I can't see the rationale behind this. If only the Prime Minister knows whether they'll be used or not, how can their threat be diminished; other than him, no-one knows whether they're merely a pretend deterrent or not.
    It would take a perfect Prime Minister to write "NO" in his letter, then make every other foreign policy decision in the pressure of our hypothetical extreme situation exactly as if he had written "YES". It would not take a perfect Prime Minister to write "YES" in his letter, then make every other foreign policy decision in the pressure of our hypothetical extreme situation exactly as if he had written "YES". This leaves a grey area around whichever malevolent foreign power's ability to perceive this difference; however, when the choice is either doing everything you can to assure your enemy of his destruction or not, the latter option isn't really sensible.
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    Tell the submarine commander to fall under USA/Australian command.


    I don't get why there are so few votes for this.
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    Is it not likely thr submarine commander/crew will just ignore the command if they disagree anyway? If the admiralty is a smoking, smouldering ruin and along with it Southern England and possibly entire Western Europe .etc. Who says the will actually carry it out?

    Anyway I'm torn between all of them bar giving the sub. commander the juristiction...let me think about that Democracy :holmes:
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    I would retaliate. Not because it achieves anything for Britain itself but rather because it will ensure that other nations do not launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes against their neighbours. Once the precedent of retaliation has been set then at least Britain's sacrifice could be the confirmation of MAD policy and hopefully foster peace between nuclear states.
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    Probably retaliate.

    Or leave it to the captain, what with them being all that remains of Britain. Though that probably isn't fair.
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    not do anything as whysoserious said, if people are so compassionate when natural disasters strike and hundreds of thousands die, why would they be willing to blow up a few million
    • Thread Starter
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    (Original post by MSB)
    What did he have to say about nuclear submarines?
    Very droll

    Just remember the wise words of Roger Waters :flute:



    and you'll never hear their voices
    and you'll never see their faces
    you have no recourse to the law anymore
    and as the windshield melts
    my tears evaporate
    leaving only charcoal to defend
    finally i understand
    the feelings of the few
    ashes and diamonds
    foe and friend
    we were all equal in the end
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    Surely this is the equivalent of the 'Dead hand' technique supposedly emplyed by Russia? The supposed system is that in the event that Russia is devastated by a nuclear attack, the system can automatically retaliate. Now, this could equally be a bluff, as much as the vanguard submarines may be, but mutually assured destruction is not a pleasant theme, as in the event of nuclear weapons being deployed, any retaliation is in spite; an emotionally driven action for the sake of 'an eye for an eye'. Though if the conflict has risen to this point i doubt either side would be in any position NOT to retaliate.

    To conclude? War is illogical and human. Weapons of mass destruction by definition are not acts of war, they are acts of violence on such a scale there is no expectation of retaliation. If the UK was in a position in which the countries leader was unable to provide guidance or 'give the order', i would hand the responsibility of the weapon over to allied forces, wether the trident system is a clever bluff or not, its use would have expired for the UK, and as such only an outside source would be plausible for use of the weapon, though this should not be the case if it would bring another country into the conflict.

    If the use of the weapons would bring about the end of the immediate conflict with less damage both ecologically and to civilians, i would authorise the use of this system. Otherwise, no.
 
 
 
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