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    I have to admit, I've always been skeptical of the need for a nuclear arsenal in Britain. Essentially, I've never really explored the issue at depth but two separate conversations with each of my parents tonight have made me consider it in a whole new light. So much so that I'm now in the pro-Trident camp...and I just wondered how everyone else feels about it?

    With cuts on the horizon and very few departments ring-fenced away from the inevitable drop in expenditure, Defence is possibly the most important area which could suffer losses (wrongly in my eyes). Inevitably the debate arises once again about the need for Trident and ongoing modernisation and adaptation of the technology. Yet surely the amount of investment required is peanuts/this is ridiculously important to our self protection and overall standing as a nation?

    I''d be interested to know what everyone thinks- ta...
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    I don't much engage with the debate on trident per se. The delivery system doesn't much matter, and it should be a question for the military experts, not the average man.

    What I will say though is that I fully and completely support the UK having some form of independent nuclear deterrent.

    As for cost, ultimately it only forms a small fraction of our nation's defence budget. Considering it is by far our greatest defensive tool, I think that cost is easily justified. In fact, I'd pay double! Triple, even!
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    (Original post by L i b)
    I don't much engage with the debate on trident per se. The delivery system doesn't much matter, and it should be a question for the military experts, not the average man.

    What I will say though is that I fully and completely support the UK having some form of independent nuclear deterrent.

    As for cost, ultimately it only forms a small fraction of our nation's defence budget. Considering it is by far our greatest defensive tool, I think that cost is easily justified. In fact, I'd pay double! Triple, even!
    My god, a comment made by LIB that I sort of agree with. It shouldn't be a political issue, and should be left to the experts. But considering I am naturally very liberal, it is surprising that I am not instinctively against it.
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    Definitely for it. The main argument against is the cost (as the moral argument is wooly at best), but that is across the lifetime of the fleet, so in actuality only absorbs a fraction of the defence budget.

    Still, the main issue in defence for me is poor equipment and craft (although that is being slowly corrected), and a lack of recruitment.
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    If we have to make cuts, Trident should be the last thing we intend to look at. I'd rather see 2 less Aircraft carriers and a hundred less Fighters than getting rid of our nuclear deterrent. (although i'd prefer to see neither)
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    I'm with the CND on this one...
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    I'm sad to say that I'm for it too. We, unfortunately, have to keep up with the other superpowers.
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    There is no alternative to Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles for the UK. Land based silos or mobile launchers (whether vehicle or rail based) are too easily fixed targets and we don't have sufficient land mass to ensure their security. Air launch is no more viable than it was when we abandoned it in favour of SLBMs. Some cite cruise missiles as a possible cheaper alternative. What they forget is that cruise missiles have a number of weaknesses: they have a shorter range (Trident: 7,000 miles; Tomahawk: 1,500 miles; Stormshadow 150 miles), reducing the deterrence factor unless you increase the number of launch platforms and position closer to possible targets (thus at greater risk of attack). They are also much slower and therefore at significantly more risk of being shot down (systems capable of doing so are widespread whereas Anti Ballistic Missile defences are very much in their infancy and easily overwhelmed). Since we require a guaranteed capability to strike the target, SLBM remain the best option for the UK.

    One option suggested is to end continuous deterrence patrols and only sortie a submarine when a situation occurs. Some extreme proposals suggest we can do away with the capability altogether for the moment and re-acquire it when required. There are a number of flaws in this: first, it assumes that we will have sufficient warning; secondly it ignores how long it takes to develop these systems (the submarines for example take about 15 years, which is why the decision to replace the current class must be taken soon); thirdly, it ignores skillfade, not just in the dockyards but also among the submarine crew who have daily launch drills. Lastly, continuous patrols create ambiguity about our intentions - deploying a submarine in a moment of crisis, on the hand, may represent a clear escalation of the situation by the UK.

    Trident remains the best defence for the UK. It's value lies in its deterrence and if we never have to use it, then it will have been worth every penny.
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    In terms of influence and power we project, our nuclear deterrent and aircraft-carrier based naval superiority are the most important weapons we have.
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    I used to prefer Extra, but they've gone down hill. It seems nearly all their new chewing gum are blatant copies of Trident.
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    It should be reducted, not just in this country to deter a nuclear breakout. Countries should follow in the footsteps of Reagan ( a little bit) and Gorbachev ( a lot more) and aim for nuclear free world.
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    (Original post by Lessthanzero)
    It should be reducted, not just in this country to deter a nuclear breakout. Countries should follow in the footsteps of Reagan ( a little bit) and Gorbachev ( a lot more) and aim for nuclear free world.

    There always remains the possibility of some unhinged dictators like Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Il gaining control of a weapon, or even terrorist organisations. We have to have a back-up plan to deal with these barbaric, unreasonable people.
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    (Original post by Richiboi)
    There always remains the possibility of some unhinged dictators like Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Il gaining control of a weapon, or even terrorist organisations. We have to have a back-up plan to deal with these barbaric, unreasonable people.
    They will only be given the possibility of controling a bomb if there in existence. Theoretcially speaking if they were world nuclear disarmament then there would be no bombs for a unhinged dictator to go for.
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    (Original post by Lessthanzero)
    They will only be given the possibility of controling a bomb if there in existence. Theoretcially speaking if they were world nuclear disarmament then there would be no bombs for a unhinged dictator to go for.
    True, but there would probably always be schematics ready to fall into the wrong hands, and Iran and North Korea already have facility for uranium enrichment to weapons grade.
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    I support the UK retaining Trident and maintaining a strong defence at all times.

    I don't think many people can credibly dispute the deterrence value of nuclear weapons, particularly in the Cold War. One could make a strong case that they prevented the occurrence of World War 3 from occurring except under the most exceptional circumstances, and continue to preclude the possibility of a major conventional war between the superpowers in which the death toll could number in the hundreds of millions.

    Of course, the above statement is somewhat separate from the issue of whether the UK should retain its nuclear weapons. Since, as members of NATO and firmly placed in an informal alliance with most liberal democracies in the world we would come under the protection of America's and France's militaries and nuclear arsenals anyway.
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    I think this clip sums up my view well:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX_d_...eature=related

    No politican (especially in the UK) will ever push to button. Even if the UK had been invaded and the Government only had control of John o' Groats they still wouldn't do it.
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    Ah, but in the words of Sir Humphrey: "Yes, but though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn't, they don't certainly know that although you probably wouldn't, there's no probability that you certainly would!"

    It would be a very courageous gamble to think we wouldn't use it. A further complication is that the submarine captains have a degree of independence. Since we would only have had a 4 minute warning, each submarine carried sealed orders from the PM to instruct the captain what to do if he believed the UK had been attacked and the government had ceased to exist.

    PS Gaishan -

    James Hacker: Ah, no, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not *that* unilateralist! Anyway, the Americans will always protect us from the Russians.
    Sir Humphrey Appleby: Russians? Who's talking about the Russians?
    James Hacker: Well, the independent deterrent.
    Sir Humphrey Appleby: It's to protect us against the French!

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    It is incredibly important. Every country knows that even if the UK were to be completely destroyed, there would still be the subs ready for retaliation. And I don't think it is entirely unrealistic that we will need to use nukes at some point in the future, especially as Iran considers us its 'most evil' enemy, and is led by a crazy religious fanatical dictator.
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    I think we need to strive to live in a nuclear free world. The UK should become a shining beacon for the world and spearhead a movement to reduce the world's nuclear stockpile to zero.

    Would Iran want nukes if Israel didn't have them? Would Pakistan want nukes if India didn't? Would N. Korea want nukes if we just left them to it?

    The alternative is to keep Trident and cut our armed forces spending tenfold. We don't really need much of an army if we have a top notch nuclear deterrent: it's overkill at the expense of our standard of living.
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    (Original post by ninja-lewis)
    Ah, but in the words of Sir Humphrey: "Yes, but though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn't, they don't certainly know that although you probably wouldn't, there's no probability that you certainly would!"

    It would be a very courageous gamble to think we wouldn't use it. A further complication is that the submarine captains have a degree of independence. Since we would only have had a 4 minute warning, each submarine carried sealed orders from the PM to instruct the captain what to do if he believed the UK had been attacked and the government had ceased to exist.

    PS Gaishan -

    James Hacker: Ah, no, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not *that* unilateralist! Anyway, the Americans will always protect us from the Russians.
    Sir Humphrey Appleby: Russians? Who's talking about the Russians?
    James Hacker: Well, the independent deterrent.
    Sir Humphrey Appleby: It's to protect us against the French!

    Well I do like Yes Minister.

    I did concede that with the Americans having nuclear weapons, the possession of nuclear weapons by us is made hard to justify. However, we never know the future.
 
 
 
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