Should the UK Unilaterally Dismantle its Nuclear Weapons Programme?

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Poll: Should we unilaterally get rid of our nukes?
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No (24)
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PostGrad221
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There is a thread on TSR discussing whether the UK should be spending billions on Nuclear Weapons at a time of domestic financial constraints.

Some comments were suggesting that the UK (absurdly) should get rid of its atomic capabilities because 'We don't face any danger from other nations' anymore.

I find that to be an absurd argument and a display of immense self-righteousness.

For someone to argue that on the basis of their 'whim' and ability to tell the future 50 years from now, we should get rid of our nukes today is a display of arrogance. They believe national security policy should be based on their predictions about the world.

These people think we should tie our national security to their 'hope' and 'belief' that the UK is not going to be in any danger several decades from now.

I am absolutely in favour of multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation and reducing worldwide stockpiles. But to suggest that we don't need to spend billions (essential to maintaining a credibledeterrence) is not a policy of defence - it is a policy of idiocy.

At the very least, even if you believe that we should not have nukes, the UK having them gives us a degree of power and influence. We can use this influence to move to towards a Treaty of multilateral disarmament.
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RowanA
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<br>First of all i would like to point out that although the UK still faces threats from other counties the political spectrum is vastly different to those in the height of the cold war, no longer are there superstates exerting their imperialist ambitions but instead more civil war and terrorism, something nuclear warfare cannot defend against.

You make the point that we cannot predict the state of the world 50 years from now, however what you fail to understand is that in 50 years, our current nuclear defences would be both vastly out of date an ineffective. Even today the trident system is years out of date with other countries able to use small submarine drones to monitor the submarines and would be able to warn their country of a nuclear attack, undermining the point of an incognito nuclear submarine.

You say you are in favour of multilateral disarmament, however you seem to think that other countries will get rid of their nuclear weapons out if fear of our own, this is both paradoxical and naive. I give an example of an armed showdown, do you think a person would throw their gun down because their opponent is pressurising them to do so with a gun. To achieve disarmament you need to lead by example, and to Britain with its influence on the global stage would be heavily influential in this area.

Nuclear weapons work due to MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). And therefore it would not matter if Britain would have nuclear weapons or not .If we were to give up weapons we would not be under any danger as if nuclear weapons were fired allies would also fire leading to a global nuclear apocalypse, this would be far and beyond a suitable deterrent.

To summarise, nuclear weapons are outdated, being ineffective against modern threats to world peace. They also do not provide the security they are supposed to as the idea MAD secures our safety. And finally we should lead by example, no countries will give up nuclear weapons, due to pressure from a hypocritical nuclear power. If we truly want a nuclear weapon free world, we should walk the walk not just talk the talk.
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Napp
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(Original post by PostGrad221)
There is a thread on TSR discussing whether the UK should be spending billions on Nuclear Weapons at a time of domestic financial constraints.

Some comments were suggesting that the UK (absurdly) should get rid of its atomic capabilities because 'We don't face any danger from other nations' anymore.

I find that to be an absurd argument and a display of immense self-righteousness.
Aside from the fact that all your whining here seems to be little more than rank hypocrisy i.e. self righteous and arrogant.

For someone to argue that on the basis of their 'whim' and ability to tell the future 50 years from now, we should get rid of our nukes today is a display of arrogance. They believe national security policy should be based on their predictions about the world.
Your arrogance is flabergasting. I also suggest you consult your dictionary on what a 'whim' actually is as you don't seem to know what the word means.
Where does this phantom figure of 50 years come from?
As opposed to what you believe ?:lol:

These people think we should tie our national security to their 'hope' and 'belief' that the UK is not going to be in any danger several decades from now.
This is simply a lazy arguement - you can use this fictitious arguement of 'some point in the future' to justify absolutely anything. Have you at least got one which doesnt boil down to blind guess work?
I am absolutely in favour of multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation and reducing worldwide stockpiles. But to suggest that we don't need to spend billions (essential to maintaining a credibledeterrence) is not a policy of defence - it is a policy of idiocy.

At the very least, even if you believe that we should not have nukes, the UK having them gives us a degree of power and influence. We can use this influence to move to towards a Treaty of multilateral disarmament.
Could have fooled me :rolleyes: Also don't you find it somewhat contradictory to claim on the one hand you're 'absolutely in favour of disarmament' but then on the other hand say that disarmament is moronic ?
Idiocy? Interesting. On the one hand we have your ill informed opinion on the matter and on the other hand I can quote the former chief of the defense staff Lord Bramall as saying 'it deters no one'. Let us be frank here the only idiocy in this debate is the one espoused by people thinking our paltry little collection of missiles somehow would deter Russia or China from erasing us from the map.

So essentially your argument seems to boil down to a vague possibility of a threat materializing and down to who has the biggest swinging ****, or as you put it a semblance of 'power and influence' Unless we're going to threaten someone who doesn't bend to our whim with a nuclear assault we have no power and if you think China, Russia, America, India, Pakistan, Israel and France will listen to Britain asking them politely to dismantle their nuclear forces.. well...

The only people who benefit from our so called 'deterrent' are the armed forces who get a bragging point, the pentagon for having some proxy missiles and the American defense industry - seeing as they're their missiles, not ours.
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JMR2021_
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(Original post by PostGrad221)
There is a thread on TSR discussing whether the UK should be spending billions on Nuclear Weapons at a time of domestic financial constraints.

Some comments were suggesting that the UK (absurdly) should get rid of its atomic capabilities because 'We don't face any danger from other nations' anymore.

I find that to be an absurd argument and a display of immense self-righteousness.

For someone to argue that on the basis of their 'whim' and ability to tell the future 50 years from now, we should get rid of our nukes today is a display of arrogance. They believe national security policy should be based on their predictions about the world.

These people think we should tie our national security to their 'hope' and 'belief' that the UK is not going to be in any danger several decades from now.

I am absolutely in favour of multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation and reducing worldwide stockpiles. But to suggest that we don't need to spend billions (essential to maintaining a credibledeterrence) is not a policy of defence - it is a policy of idiocy.

At the very least, even if you believe that we should not have nukes, the UK having them gives us a degree of power and influence. We can use this influence to move to towards a Treaty of multilateral disarmament.
I think so
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pol pot noodles
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(Original post by RowanA)
First of all i would like to point out that although the UK still faces threats from other countied the political spectrum is vastly diffrerent to those in the hight of the cold war, no longer are their superstates exerting their imperialist ambitions but instead more civil war and terrorism, something nuclear warfare cannot defend against.

You make the point that we cannot predict the state of the world 50 years from now, however what you fail to understand is that in 50 years, our current nuclear defences would be both vastly out of date an ineffective. Even today the trident system is years out of date with other countries able to use small submarine drones to monitor the submarines and would be able to warn their country of a nuclear attack, undermining the point of an incognito nuclear submarine.

You say you are in favour of multilatral disarmament, however you seem to think that other countries will get rid of thier nuclear weapons out if fear of our own, this is both paradoxical and naive. I give an example of an armed showdown, do you think a person would throw their gun down becuase their opponent is presurising them to do so with a gun. To achieve disarmamen you need to lead by example, and to britain with its influence on the global stage would be heavily influencial in this area.

Nuclear weapons work due to MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). And therefore it would not matter if britain would have nuclear weapons or not .Ifwe were to give up weapons we would not be under any danger as if nuclear weapons were fired allies would also fire leading to a global nuclear apocolipse, this would be far and beyond a sutable deterrent.

To summarise, nuclear weapons are outdated, being ineffective against modern threats to world peace. They also do not provide the security they are supposed to as the idea MAD secures our safety.And finally we should lead by example, no countries will give up nuclear weapons, due to pressure from a hypocritical nuclear power. If we truly want a nuclear weapon free world, we should walk the walk not just talk the talk.
Britain couldn't influence squat in terms of global disarmament. We'd never in a billion years get America, Russia, France or China to even remotely consider getting rid of their WMD's. Our attempts to do so wouldn't even register on their radars.

Also, relying on allies to defend us is both lazy, selfish and not at all a smart strategy.
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Napp
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(Original post by pol pot noodles)
Britain couldn't influence squat in terms of global disarmament. We'd never in a billion years get America, Russia, France or China to even remotely consider getting rid of their WMD's. Our attempts to do so wouldn't even register on their radars.

Also, relying on allies to defend us is both lazy, selfish and not at all a smart strategy.
If we're honest here though the only countries who could or would theoretically attack us are Russia and China and we couldn't defend our selves against either of them be it in a nuclear or non-nuclear engagement. Besides that is literally the point of NATO...
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waleed99
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Nuclear weapons are the main reason why WW3 will never happen. (At least in our lifetime)
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pol pot noodles
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(Original post by Napp)
If we're honest here though the only countries who could or would theoretically attack us are Russia and China and we couldn't defend our selves against either of them be it in a nuclear or non-nuclear engagement. Besides that is literally the point of NATO...
Yes, we could defend ourselves against Russia and China in a war, by the threat of a nuclear deterrent. That's the whole point of it. They're not going to start one in the first place.

NATO is the sum of it's parts, which would obviously weaken if we start downgrading our military capabilities. We already have a majority of member states not meeting even the basic requirement of spending 2% of GDP on defence spending. The United States isn't going to tolerate freeloaders forever. We also can't rely on being allies with certain countries for ever either, that isn't a sound defence strategy.
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Napp
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(Original post by pol pot noodles)
Yes, we could defend ourselves against Russia and China in a war, by the threat of a nuclear deterrent. That's the whole point of it. They're not going to start one in the first place.

NATO is the sum of it's parts, which would obviously weaken if we start downgrading our military capabilities. We already have a majority of member states not meeting even the basic requirement of spending 2% of GDP on defence spending. The United States isn't going to tolerate freeloaders forever. We also can't rely on being allies with certain countries for ever either, that isn't a sound defence strategy.
Leaving aside you seem to have missed my point, Russia is the only country in the world, aside from America, to maintain the ability to launch a credible decapitation strike and deploys numerous ABM systems - arguably including the only fool proof one around Moscow.

So you admit russia and China arent going to start a war with us yet we need a nuclear deterrent never the less? Right.

You're going to have to indulge me here - how exactly would removing our nuclear forces [freeing up billions for conventional forces] undermine NATO? France and America are the ones who do more to guarantee Europe with their nuclear capabilities any way.
Maybe not but on the other hand they also arent going to tolerate Europe falling to a foreign power either. Make of it what you wish.
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username3672344
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I remember people saying 'Switzerland manages just fine outside the EU, why can't we?'

Well, Switzerland also manages fine without nuclear weapons, so why can't we?
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anosmianAcrimony
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I don't trust anyone with nuclear weapons, and that includes us. I don't know what the political climate is going to be like here in Britain in 50 years' time. Under whose finger are we putting a nuclear button? We can't control what other countries do, but we can lead by example and ensure that at least one government doesn't have the ability to murder cities.

Do you think American politicians twenty years ago would have been so eager to retain American nuclear capabilities if they knew Trump was going to be in control of them?
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pol pot noodles
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(Original post by Napp)
Leaving aside you seem to have missed my point, Russia is the only country in the world, aside from America, to maintain the ability to launch a credible decapitation strike and deploys numerous ABM systems - arguably including the only fool proof one around Moscow.

So you admit russia and China arent going to start a war with us yet we need a nuclear deterrent never the less? Right.

You're going to have to indulge me here - how exactly would removing our nuclear forces [freeing up billions for conventional forces] undermine NATO? France and America are the ones who do more to guarantee Europe with their nuclear capabilities any way.
Maybe not but on the other hand they also arent going to tolerate Europe falling to a foreign power either. Make of it what you wish.
You've missed my point. Russia and China will never start a war with us BECAUSE we have a nuclear deterrent. You admit a nuclear deterrent works, you simply think we should rely on America and France for it instead. So I don't see what you're trying to argue there.

Because having a nuclear deterrent is an official policy of NATO. Getting rid of ours is nothing more than stating that we want to be freeloaders. That we believe in a policy, we simply don't want to contribute ourselves towards it.

I get what you're saying, I just personally don't think being reliant on others for defence is a sensible long-term strategy. It means you're staking everything on their benevolence and goodwill. In all seriousness, if Russia starting rolling through the Baltic, I can see half of NATO bailing on the alliance by attempting to weasel out of their obligations and trying to stay out of it.
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Napp
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(Original post by pol pot noodles)
You've missed my point. Russia and China will never start a war with us BECAUSE we have a nuclear deterrent. You admit a nuclear deterrent works, you simply think we should rely on America and France for it instead. So I don't see what you're trying to argue there.
A seriously debatable point.
No I said depending on the scale it works, to compare the American deterrent with ours is risible. Ours come across as little more than a weapon of spite - to use it might hurt an enemy but to assert it would destroy them is patently false.

Because having a nuclear deterrent is an official policy of NATO. Getting rid of ours is nothing more than stating that we want to be freeloaders. That we believe in a policy, we simply don't want to contribute ourselves towards it.
By that though you're calling near enough every member of NATO a freeloader as none bar America and France actually have nuclear weapons and are expressly forbidden from getting them..
On that same hand as well, are we not treaty obligated to try and reduce our nuclear forces not entrench them?
I get what you're saying, I just personally don't think being reliant on others for defense is a sensible long-term strategy. It means you're staking everything on their benevolence and goodwill. In all seriousness, if Russia starting rolling through the Baltic, I can see half of NATO bailing on the alliance by attempting to weasel out of their obligations and trying to stay out of it.
Well technically speaking we already are. Our nuclear forces being a case in point - they aren't our missiles, we are completely reliant on America for their maintenance and technical abilities.
Indeed, but with that being said you can hardly blame them. By all accounts the Baltic states would fall in a matter of 2 or 3 days no matter what NATO did and as many American commentators have pointed out - why would they wish to spend precious blood and treasure for a few tiny countries most Americans don't know the names of?
Either way I find all this scaremongering about Russian designs on Europe to be complete hogwash. There is little to no evidence to suggest that Russia would want to recreate its former empire let alone the fact it is no position to even try. China on the other hand is much more of a threat and is quickly developing the muscle to enforce its will.
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pol pot noodles
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(Original post by Napp)
A seriously debatable point.
No I said depending on the scale it works, to compare the American deterrent with ours is risible. Ours come across as little more than a weapon of spite - to use it might hurt an enemy but to assert it would destroy them is patently false.
Who isn't getting destroyed if we launched a nuclear attack on them? Geographically Russia and China might be too large to literally kill every single person, but tens to hundreds of millions of deaths and wiping out all of their major cities is absolutely destroying them. Of course it is.
But so just to clarify, you'd be okay with the UK keeping it's nuclear deterrent so long as it had enough warheads to obliterate the world?

By that though you're calling near enough every member of NATO a freeloader as none bar America and France actually have nuclear weapons and are expressly forbidden from getting them..
I'm calling every member of NATO that isn't doing what it's capable of doing and what it should be doing a freeloader. We have nuclear weapons, thus obviously we've overcome that obstacle. Given them up = freeloading. All other members that don't meet the 2% GDP rule, unless they're literally bankrupt = freeloading.

On that same hand as well, are we not treaty obligated to try and reduce our nuclear forces not entrench them?
We're treaty obligated to try and achieve global nuclear disarmament. The UK unilaterally surrendering it's nuclear deterrent doesn't achieve that and will not help that goal. By all means send a bleeding heart politician to preach world peace to all the other nuclear powers until they all agree to disarm at the same time, but the UK trying to 'lead the way' in that respect is naive.

Well technically speaking we already are. Our nuclear forces being a case in point - they aren't our missiles, we are completely reliant on America for their maintenance and technical abilities.
No, we aren't. We don't manufacture, create and control the entire supply chain that goes in to our nuclear deterrent, but that has little impact on the fact that operationally they belong to the UK, and that the USA has no involvement in their usage.

Indeed, but with that being said you can hardly blame them. By all accounts the Baltic states would fall in a matter of 2 or 3 days no matter what NATO did and as many American commentators have pointed out - why would they wish to spend precious blood and treasure for a few tiny countries most Americans don't know the names of?
Either way I find all this scaremongering about Russian designs on Europe to be complete hogwash. There is little to no evidence to suggest that Russia would want to recreate its former empire let alone the fact it is no position to even try. China on the other hand is much more of a threat and is quickly developing the muscle to enforce its will.
I mean, they did recently invade and annex Crimea and all that. But regardless, I was trying to illustrate that it's foolish to rely on NATO for our national defence, and it seems you agree? Nought wrong with not relying on others in certain circumstances.
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ultimateradman
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Whilst I don't like them, it's be foolish to get rid of them.
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Napp
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(Original post by pol pot noodles)
Who isn't getting destroyed if we launched a nuclear attack on them? Geographically Russia and China might be too large to literally kill every single person, but tens to hundreds of millions of deaths and wiping out all of their major cities is absolutely destroying them. Of course it is.
But so just to clarify, you'd be okay with the UK keeping it's nuclear deterrent so long as it had enough warheads to obliterate the world?
I find it somewhat dubious we have enough missiles to even attempt such a feat and that is assuming that all of the submarines could even fire their salvos, which given that one of them is usually in dock for whatever reason is not a strong assumption. This is supposing only Britain did this of course as if the Americans brought their rather formidable forces to bare it would make Britains almost entirely redundant to that purpose.
Nope, I consider them to be a morally obscene weapon to start with. With that being said at least they would represent a credible deterrent if we had that many.

I'm calling every member of NATO that isn't doing what it's capable of doing and what it should be doing a freeloader. We have nuclear weapons, thus obviously we've overcome that obstacle. Given them up = freeloading. All other members that don't meet the 2% GDP rule, unless they're literally bankrupt = freeloading.
I like how you equate renouncing a policy of mass murder with freeloading, I havent heard anyone make that argument before.


We're treaty obligated to try and achieve global nuclear disarmament. The UK unilaterally surrendering it's nuclear deterrent doesn't achieve that and will not help that goal. By all means send a bleeding heart politician to preach world peace to all the other nuclear powers until they all agree to disarm at the same time, but the UK trying to 'lead the way' in that respect is naive.
You're going to have to humour me here but as faras I can make out you just stated two diametrically opposing policy aims. You cannot work towards global disarmament by keeping those same arms. It'sa contradiction in terms.
'Bleeding heart' Very droll.

No, we aren't. We don't manufacture, create and control the entire supply chain that goes in to our nuclear deterrent, but that has little impact on the fact that operationally they belong to the UK, and that the USA has no involvement in their usage.
No, in fact we have control over near enough 0% of the aforementioned.
In the most technical sense you might be right but I find it laughable that the UK would have the temerity to use those weapons without Washingtons go ahead.
Equally I was under the impression that the missiles were 'ours' in the sense that they were on a long term lease - they arent out and out ours?

I mean, they did recently invade and annex Crimea and all that. But regardless, I was trying to illustrate that it's foolish to rely on NATO for our national defence, and it seems you agree? Nought wrong with not relying on others in certain circumstances.
Well technically their army was already there so.. Either way its impossible to fault their actions if you believe in a nations inalienable right to secure its national sovereignty - which loosing Crimea would have directly effected.
Indeed I do, then again I take a rather pessimistic view of these things and I doubt countries would risk nuclear oblivion just to bail out Britain. Equally I take the view that if we werent in NATO [an out dated organisation] and didn't host Nuclear weapons & American armed forces we wouldnt be a particularly interesting target any way.
At the end of the day a nuclear war will kill most everyone on earth anyway - how can it possibly be in our 'national interest' to be a part of that?
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_NMcC_
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The Idea of a 'Nuclear Deterrent' is stupid because what happens if some nutcase decides to actually push the button despite MAD? (Remember who is across the water). It doesn't prevent a world nuclear war and If we had to push the button at all, there would be no winners. We would be remembered as participants of the war and would likely be incinerated also.

One average Nuclear missile is enough to wipe-out most of London in a single blow and render most of England uninhabitable. In fact the radiation could spread to Ireland and Europe also. 'Nuclear missles' is thrown around so much now, people have actually forgotten how powerful a single missile actually is.

How you get others to set down their weapons is to set down yours first. Let's go first.
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So-Sarah
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(Original post by DeBruyne18)
I remember people saying 'Switzerland manages just fine outside the EU, why can't we?'

Well, Switzerland also manages fine without nuclear weapons, so why can't we?
Switzerland: under the defacto NATO nuclear umbrella
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Napp
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(Original post by So-Sarah)
Switzerland: under the defacto NATO nuclear umbrella
You mean the nuclear threat of NATO?
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So-Sarah
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Whatever, but most countries would think twice about nuking Switzerland as that would likely cause a Nato response
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