Trident - and deterrence
Whereas I will be opposing the government's plans on this later today I thought I should put on record my views relating to this issue.
The underlying question is whether the UK should be in possession of nuclear weapons. That is weapons that are based upon the use of fission or fusion generated explosives. It is clear that we have moved on from the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction. However, it is not the case that we live in a safer world than during the cold war.
It is true that some of the hazards internationally have been developed by the actions of the UK and US governments in doing things which are destined to create nothing much more than enduring resentment. That does not mean, however, that all would have been sweetness and light had the UK not acted as it has.
The question, therefore, is whether there is a need for any weaponry based upon the more energetic nuclear systems rather than chemical explosives (not chemical weapons, however). I do think this is something that the UK should be looking at as a strategic option. The delivery systems, however, could be a mixture of plane and cruise or submarine. I do believe that there could be a role for a submarine based missile delivery system.
In essence the question that has to be asked is where there is a rogue state do we need to be able to use weaponry that does not involve targeting the population as a whole. I think the answer to this is yes. What can develop is a form of gangster dominated state that does not really care that much about its population, but does care about personal security for the leading members of the society. That is where these options need to be looked at.