Scrapping Trident Would be Good For Posterity
The argument that Trident’s renewal is necessary for security reasons is seemingly compelling; Just at the moment when Western states are beginning to realize that nuclear arms are too costly […]
The argument that Trident’s renewal is necessary for security reasons is seemingly compelling; Just at the moment when Western states are beginning to realize that nuclear arms are too costly and inhuman to be desirable in the long term, totalitarian theocracies such as Iran are following the precedent unfortunately established by Soviet and American belligerence in the mid twentieth century.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s respective manifestos during the 2010 election campaigns contained entirely opposing policies on Trident. The Conservatives, who committed to Trident’s renewal, used their upper hand to slap down Lib Dem insistence that the ‘Cold War relic’ has no need for replacement, but a fresh debate about the arsenal’s relevance in the 21st century has recently been raised by The Ministry of Defence. According to The Independent, senior military officials have questioned in private whether Trident’s renewal is appropriate in light of budget cuts.
The resurgence of debates about Trident appears inevitable as the Ministry of Defence has not only been asked to foot a bill for its renewal – estimated between £15-20 billion – that would have traditionally been provided by the treasury, but because the Ministry has been simultaneously confronted with an austerity agenda. The Ministry of Defence has to decide how to balance the books, which services and jobs will have to go. Replacing a costly and expensive armament such as Trident is an absurd choice when the chances of its use are almost negligible. Furthermore, the money could be better invested in bolstering pitiful support and assistance presently provided to the people ordered to fight our statesmen’s dubious wars.
Beyond the economic implications of Trident’s renewal there are convincing arguments for the total abolition of nuclear weapons, which have disturbingly become a currency in and of themselves in international relations. They come attached with status, they affect the image and position of a state on the UN security council, they enhance a state’s ability to influence events on the world stage and following the G8’s example of nuclear armament, other states are able to argue their own rights to these weapons, which they see as desirable. If the UK reduced or abolished its nuclear arsenal, it’d be a powerful signal that one ‘big’ power accepts that nuclear arms are not a security necessity, but a moral and ethical choice which has a profound effect on the world we create for posterity.
Austerity has made it impossible to carry out the Trident renewal scheme the Conservatives so ardently pledged, giving us an opportune moment to exhume the question of whether or not such a policy is desirable. What’s striking about austerity measures is that they’re often – misleadingly – cited as a way of ensuring a better future for posterity, so why not insist that the prospects of a Britain without nuclear weapons is as thoroughly debated as those of a Britain without a budget deficit?
Do you agree, or should we keep Trident like Tom says here?