The USA, UK, France, China, Russia, Pakistan, India and North Korea all have nuclear weapons. I think this is a most important factor to remember when discussing Trident. We are in an elite club of eight. Nuclear weapons are nowhere near as prolific as we are lead to believe.
I don’t feel comfortable with anyone having such power to end life en masse.
The second thing to remember about this list is that apart from North Korea, every single member on that list is an ally of the UK, or at the very least a major trading partner. This instantly reduces the chance of nuclear warfare. Not to mention in the globalised world we find ourselves in – wars between nation states are all but extinct. Instead, wars tend to be found between coalitions of nation states and abstract concepts (terror and drugs being the main two). Now, even if this weren’t the case, our allies’ nuclear arms would protect us as much as our own. Take for example Germany, Spain, or Canada – all nations which don’t have nuclear weapons. Yet, they do not feel unsafe in this world.
Now to address the elephant in the room, one which I invoked in the first sentence: the North Korean problem. North Korea is the famed “Rogue State” that political theorists have talked about since the days of Kant. It is an amoral state that attacks its own citizens and has outwardly hostile relations with the Western World. So are we at threat from North Korea? Not really. North Korea’s foreign policy is mainly based around antagonising Western nations and then, through careful negotiations, arranging aid packages to be sent to their own citizens.
The one thing I’m yet to mention is the notion of morality, which is widely regarded as the biggest reason to not have nuclear weapons. I want the reader to imagine, and properly imagine, a world in which nuclear weapons were about to be used. As a supposed last resort, diplomacy will already have failed, much blood will probably have been spilt, the news will be reporting daily on the horror of war. Death and suffering haunt the media and our minds, and then our Prime Minister, or their Prime Minister, makes the decision to unleash a carnage never before seen to mankind. For modern nuclear weapons are worse than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nuclear weapons are a “last resort” that have consequences far worse than almost any war could be: hundreds of thousands of innocents dying in fear, not knowing just what was happening, uninvolved with the politicians who had lead them to the war which now lead them to their deaths. This is the nature of the monstrosity we have at the control of our fingertips.
Given that the Chilcott report showed how war hungry Parliament actually is, and how easy it is to fake justifications for war, I don’t feel comfortable with our leaders having this power. I don’t feel comfortable with anyone having such power to end life en masse. I do not feel I’m being hyperbolic. The above describes the events in which we are told nuclear war would occur – a last resort. Last resort means unknown horrors have already been committed. What moral person can say that they would use their own technological superiority to bring more suffering to the world and ensure their victory?
The criticism now often levied at people against nuclear armaments is “Well what would you do?”. The answer is quite simple: stop being an antagonist. For centuries we have waged war upon the world. We have plundered and pillaged, and our former colonialism has blossomed into neo-colonialism. We still attempt to police the world and bend it to our whims. We invest in enemies of our enemies, then become surprised when they turn on us. Those trying to make sense of the conflict in Syria often find themselves confused about how the West backs fighters on both sides.
it is our moral duty to stand alongside our comrades in unity rather than as a neo-colonial power.
Now, we might believe our modern interventionism is done in the name of humanitarianism but this simply cannot be the case. If it were so, why do we not treat our allies the same? Israel has broken 60 UN resolutions, Saudia Arabia has brought slaves into London and we remain partners with Turkey despite the recent reaction to the coup. We are not the world’s police anymore, nor should we have ever been. The West are not the highest point in humanity, and we should not dictate down to the rest of the world. Instead, it is our moral duty to stand alongside our comrades in unity rather than as a neo-colonial power. It is our duty to ensure peace by ending conflicts, rather than having a nuclear power so strong any use of it would instantly make us an unspeakable villain. The path to peace is a long one, but one we must undertake, and the first step of that is ridding us of our monstrous weaponry. Scrap Trident.