7:27  |  11 December 11
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Should Britain retain its nuclear deterrent?


Nuclear weapons have guaranteed our security for two generations. They remain the ultimate deterrent to any aggressor, and the best means of ensuring peace.

Time-lag in development means the decision to replace Trident can't wait. The world is still dangerous. Nobody can tell how much more dangerous it will be when Trident is obsolete.

It is desirable to check nuclear proliferation, but probably impossible. So it would be folly to scrap our nuclear weapons when potentially hostile states like Iran are about to acquire a nuclear capability.

Possession of nuclear weapons gives us clout. Unilateral nuclear disarmament would "send a Foreign Secretary naked into the conference chamber" (Nye Bevan, 1957).

Every British government since 1945 has seen the necessity of having a nuclear deterrent. Tony Blair was once a member of CND. It is his experience of realities which now makes him call for Trident's replacement.


Nuclear weapons are immoral. We must prevent their proliferation. The more states that have them, the more certain it is they will be used. Britain can set an example by unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Maintaining our nuclear arsenal is too expensive. It takes a disproportionate share of the nation's defence budget.

Replacing Trident is like preparing to fight the Cold War again. But no country now presents a nuclear threat to us, so the weapons are of no use.

We are more likely to be engaged in low-level warfare in which nuclear weapons are irrelevant. To meet the challenge of asymetric warfare (Iraq, Afghanistan), we should spend more on conventional forces and properly equip them.

Possession of nuclear weapons is an outmoded virility symbol. Countries like Germany, Spain, Canada and Australia do without them and have as much global influence as Britain.
Vote: Should Trident be replaced?

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Members Comments

cornishstu 16-Dec-2008 21:17
We cannot uninvent nuclear weapons therefore we must maintain our capability. However, I fear if present day terrorist get hold of them, mutual destruction will not deter them.
future8 30-Apr-2008 21:7
Yes they should replace it but we should also continue to work towards strategic arms reduction and non proliferation.
SarahD 24-Jan-2008 12:19
Yes, quite right. We would look very stupid if we were threatened with nuclear weapons and we didn't have any response!
stuartmulligan 8-Dec-2007 0:26
Exactly, I really cannot understand liberal thinking. To me it's insanity.
Herb 5-Dec-2007 3:42
"To meet the challenge of asymetric warfare (Iraq, Afghanistan), we should spend more on conventional forces and properly equip them."

Eh? What for? We didn't think that way when we had guns and the others had only bows and arrows.

When the terrorists get possession of a compact nuclear weapon and detonate it in one of our major cities, the argument that we need to confront 'asymetric warfare' only with 'conventional' forces is going to look rather foolish.
All comments are subject to approval.

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