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    (Original post by Jeff Hunter)
    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.
    It would probably increase the desirability of them. Instead of parity, they now have an upper hand and wave them around to get their way as other nations could not promise MAD. You'd increase the rewards while reducing the costs. Sadly, paradora's box has been opened, the knowledge is out there and nuclear weapons will never go away.

    Having a nuclear deterrent doesn't mean we can do away with most of our conventional forces though. There are many scenarios where the nuclear deterrent would be of little value - counter-drugs and piracy, peacekeeping or limited conflicts such as the Falklands. Even in the Cold War, nuclear weapons were very much a last resort until the large conventional forces had been overwhelmed. Most of the current nuclear nations wouldn't use them against non-nuclear nations either so clearly conventional forces are still required for these situations too - aggressors would likely consider the nuclear deterrent to be an uncredible response in such situations. But in the same way, this isn't a case for not having a nuclear deterrent either as there are also scenarios in which it is relevant.

    Horses for courses really.
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    I support nuclear deterrants and cuts everywhere else, especially to offensive capabilities - and oppose the wars with the middle east. :yep:
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    (Original post by Gaishan)
    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.
    I'm taking your post out of context, Gaishan, and for that I apologise, as you are pro-Trident.

    But I am anti-Trident for the above reason. Tbh, if nuclear war broke out, we are somewhat screwed given our location between Asia and America, and that Trident is pathetic compared to the likes of the US or Russia's arsenal. We have enough allies to help us. I would prefer unilateral disarmament, although realise the improbability of that happening. Therefore, I'd object only to any extension or continuation of funding for such programmes, and would much prefer funds only to be spent on the safe containment of nuclear material we currently possess.

    On the deterrent point, I think suggesting having nuclear weapons is a deterrent is as ludicrous as saying that capital punishment acts as a deterrent or carrying a gun makes you safer. The only deterrent that exists by having these weapons is against institutionalised government, whereas the real threat that the nuclear experiment imposes is from criminal or terrorist groups who have absolutely no concern for the wellbeing of the population of a territory. Therefore, they couldn't care less where we carpet bomb in response. Institutionalised government, assuming our intelligence systems are as good as they claim, should be caught out before they use such weapons against us.

    Anyways, rant over.
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    (Original post by pinkpenguin)
    I'm taking your post out of context, Gaishan, and for that I apologise, as you are pro-Trident.

    But I am anti-Trident for the above reason. Tbh, if nuclear war broke out, we are somewhat screwed given our location between Asia and America, and that Trident is pathetic compared to the likes of the US or Russia's arsenal. We have enough allies to help us. I would prefer unilateral disarmament, although realise the improbability of that happening. Therefore, I'd object only to any extension or continuation of funding for such programmes, and would much prefer funds only to be spent on the safe containment of nuclear material we currently possess.

    On the deterrent point, I think suggesting having nuclear weapons is a deterrent is as ludicrous as saying that capital punishment acts as a deterrent or carrying a gun makes you safer. The only deterrent that exists by having these weapons is against institutionalised government, whereas the real threat that the nuclear experiment imposes is from criminal or terrorist groups who have absolutely no concern for the wellbeing of the population of a territory. Therefore, they couldn't care less where we carpet bomb in response. Institutionalised government, assuming our intelligence systems are as good as they claim, should be caught out before they use such weapons against us.

    Anyways, rant over.
    But this is the point that I had originally struggled with. Yes, the Russians and the American have something in the region of 4,500 nuclear weapons between them- soon to be less if the agreement is put into practice. But, our numbers in comparison matter little. The logic is surely that, yes while Russia (yes I'm using them above the the Americans haha) could absolutely annihilate us out of existence, they would do so while we could cause significant casusalties- making the whole exercise a costly one for them.

    Yes, they could send bombs to every corner of Britain, but would they do so if the cost was us hitting every major city of theirs? They hit Glasgow, we hit St Petersburg...and so on, yes we have far less weapons but is it worth the hurt...?

    Essentially, the key idea is that nations are unlikely to actually want to use nuclear weapons against Britian, more likely they want to facilitate a regime change, a new government etc.

    As previous posters have noted- the value of Trident is in it never having to be used...
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    (Original post by dannymccs)
    But this is the point that I had originally struggled with. Yes, the Russians and the American have something in the region of 4,500 nuclear weapons between them- soon to be less if the agreement is put into practice. But, our numbers in comparison matter little. The logic is surely that, yes while Russia (yes I'm using them above the the Americans haha) could absolutely annihilate us out of existence, they would do so while we could cause significant casusalties- making the whole exercise a costly one for them.

    Yes, they could send bombs to every corner of Britain, but would they do so if the cost was us hitting every major city of theirs? They hit Glasgow, we hit St Petersburg...and so on, yes we have far less weapons but is it worth the hurt...?

    Essentially, the key idea is that nations are unlikely to actually want to use nuclear weapons against Britian, more likely they want to facilitate a regime change, a new government etc.

    As previous posters have noted- the value of Trident is in it never having to be used...
    While I agree we could cause significant damage whilst 'going down' if you like, it's still irrelevant based on what you said above.

    It's not likely recognised, organised government will use weapons of such calibur against the west. As I said earlier, the dangers of nuclear weapons occur when they lie in the hands of terrorist or rogue groups, rather than recognised government. If organised government (eg Iran) were anywhere close to using such weapons, it would be thought that western intelligence would (if they are as good as they claim) pick up the signals and be able to react so as to not let it get that far.

    For me, that justifies that Trident isn't a deterrent to anyone, because those who would arbitrarily use such weapons on our soil either have no nationalistic purpose or don't care if we blow their peers off the face of the earth, the pretence being those that died would be martyred. Therefore, they would not fear the retribution.

    And lets be honest, if we got bombed, the arm of the west would pound down on whoever did it in a heartbeat. It's also clear that if us or any other nation gets bombed, we're all screwed anyway.
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    What we should be debating is what capacity do we want to fulfill in World affairs in the next fifty years?

    Are we willing to lose the UNSC seat? There are plenty of states cueing up for a piece of the cake. If we lose Trident it will be very difficult to justify our position as a permanent member of the UNSC.

    Are we the UK electorate willing to accept France as the only nuclear power in Western Europe? (An issue posed in the Trident white paper)

    Are we willing to rely on Allies for future deterrence needs?

    One final and most important point. The go ahead for Trident renewal was passed in the commons in 2006. It has only resurfaced as an issue because of the recession and political parties looking for an easy target for spending cuts and points scoring with the electorate. Trident i is an ssue of huge strategic importance and I hope politicians know better than to brand it around for political points scoring.
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    (Original post by pinkpenguin)
    While I agree we could cause significant damage whilst 'going down' if you like, it's still irrelevant based on what you said above.

    It's not likely recognised, organised government will use weapons of such calibur against the west. As I said earlier, the dangers of nuclear weapons occur when they lie in the hands of terrorist or rogue groups, rather than recognised government. If organised government (eg Iran) were anywhere close to using such weapons, it would be thought that western intelligence would (if they are as good as they claim) pick up the signals and be able to react so as to not let it get that far.

    For me, that justifies that Trident isn't a deterrent to anyone, because those who would arbitrarily use such weapons on our soil either have no nationalistic purpose or don't care if we blow their peers off the face of the earth, the pretence being those that died would be martyred. Therefore, they would not fear the retribution.

    And lets be honest, if we got bombed, the arm of the west would pound down on whoever did it in a heartbeat. It's also clear that if us or any other nation gets bombed, we're all screwed anyway.
    Again, surely this is the point. Trident is not in place to prevent rogue groups from attacking us- it is the organised nations that this stops through the simple notion of mutually assured destruction.

    Unilateral disarmament would without doubt reduce the possibilty of rogue groups/terror cells etc. obtaining nuclear weapons but it wouldn't remove the possibility altogether. Terror networks would still be able to put together their own devices with raw materials- if they had the expertise- and we would have the same problem that we do now.

    I agree, as you have said, MAD only works for opponents who care about the nation or land of which they hold. Luckily, most nations in the world who have such technology do care. Rogue groups will be a problem whether or not we and other nations have nuclear weapons.
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    (Original post by Jimmy_88)
    What we should be debating is what capacity do we want to fulfill in World affairs in the next fifty years?

    Are we willing to lose the UNSC seat? There are plenty of states cueing up for a piece of the cake. If we lose Trident it will be very difficult to justify our position as a permanent member of the UNSC.

    Are we the UK electorate willing to accept France as the only nuclear power in Western Europe? (An issue posed in the Trident white paper)

    Are we willing to rely on Allies for future deterrence needs?

    One final and most important point. The go ahead for Trident renewal was passed in the commons in 2006. It has only resurfaced as an issue because of the recession and political parties looking for an easy target for spending cuts and points scoring with the electorate. Trident i is an ssue of huge strategic importance and I hope politicians know better than to brand it around for political points scoring.
    We simply cannot take the risk of relying on our Allies to step in and help us. The nature of diplomatic relations is always changing and to scrap Trident leaves ourselves horribly vulnerable if our relations with other nations change. While it appears that we and the Americans will be best buddies for the forseeable future given our support for them in Iraq and Afghanistan, who is to say what will happen thirty or forty years down the line?

    Perhaps it is wise to rememeber the Falklands conflict and the Americans reluctance to come out and publicly condemn the Argentinians for what they had done. Behind closed doors there was perhaps support for Thatcher and her response but we could have perhaps expected more from a nation which we have stood shoulder to shoulder with on many an occasion? While the example is slightly removed as is nothing to do with nuclear weapons, it illustrates the ever-morphing nature of international relations. The most important thing: trust other nations but trust yourself more.
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    (Original post by pinkpenguin)
    I'm taking your post out of context, Gaishan, and for that I apologise, as you are pro-Trident.
    No problem. Your argument is perfectly reasonable and defensible.
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    If we deem it necessary to have nuclear weapons, we should at least have our own nuclear weapons! Trident is entirely dependent on US support throughout the entire process - the missiles are made and maintained in the US, the firing, guidance and computer systems are all American designed (and, what's more, nobody's ever really made it clear whether we can even fire the things ourselves, or whether the systems are under American control!) - and the warheads are produced at Aldermaston, which is a copy of the Los Alamos facility in the US and is run by Lockheed Martin.

    Oh, and our nuclear submarine base is 51% owned by Halliburton.

    Independent nuclear deterrent? My arse. If America were to decide that we were to disarm (possibly as part of a disarmament treaty they'd signed with China or Russia, there's nothing we could do about it.

    We shouldn't be paying through the nose for the privilege of wasting our sailors' time carting American weapons about.
 
 
 
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