I don’t see the logic of our nuclear “deterrent”.

BBC Question Time recently had people debating the nuclear deterrent, which term pre-supposes that our nuclear arsenal is a deterrent.
Heseltine claimed that the defence lay in the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction. It sounds plausible but I don’t think the logic stands and I object to the cost of maintaining Trident and our nuclear capability.
This is based on the following assessment.
For a start, these weapons have to be regularly replaced and maintained and protected at an enormous cost.
I don’t know how much of a tax burden they represent but I would suspect that the full cost would be greater than whatever figures are published.
Next, we buy these things from the US and I have read that we would need permission, from the American President, to fire them.
We don’t have enough of them to do more than destroy a few millions of ordinary Russians, before we were completely obliterated. I have a strong belief that Putin would show as much compassion for his countrymen as Joe Stalin did.
The officially accepted judgement of our military, during The Cold War, is that if the USSR had made a pre-emptive strike against us, the US would see our destruction as a fait accompli and see no sense inĀ  retaliation, on our behalf. ….European Gov’t’s would race to surrender.
No Russian’s would land in the UK, as there would be no point.
Russia has no need to use a Nuclear threat against us, they could take us out with conventional weapons, which would leave them with access to our resources, free from Radiation contamination.
I don’t know how this would play out in terms of US and NATO commitments but the past two World Wars have shown their unwillingness to get involved, unless they absolutely have to and in both cases their involvement was predicated on our having survived, as an active power, long enough to be “rescued”.
Those, who remember Glasnost, will recall that the USSR collapsed for economic and political reasons but the reason, that The USSR did not strike out with their Nuclear missiles, was because we had all become more aware of the dangers of a Nuclear Winter.
Consider Chernobyl: This was merely an old reactor catching fire, yet radio-active fall-out reached around the Northern Hemisphere and amongst other things, prevented the sale of Welsh lamb for a decade or so. Cancer rates, around a large region of Chernobyl, rose a thousand fold and genetic defects are showing up generations later. Statistics suggest that a few UK and US residents will have died, also, as a consequence of radio-active fallout from that disaster.
The recent volcanic ash cloud, which grounded planes around Europe, is an obvious example of how the slip stream can pollute skies in the Northern Hemisphere. Other examples, such as the Saharan dust that covered British cars turning them red, also exemplify the problems with dust clouds.
If Russia delivered an unopposed attack on the UK, the radio-active dust created (even if they used only air bursts) would be sufficient to kill many Europeans, Russians and Americans, over the following years.
Large regions would be contaminated, decades later.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were hit by 1 Kiloton bombs. Cold War scenario’s suggested one option as Russia using three such bombs on every sizeable population in the Country. E.g. Every town the size of Wigan would be hit at least as hard as Nagasaki.
Taken over the country, as a whole, you would not want to survive the initial attack and you certainly wouldn’t feel gratified by News that one of our missiles had hit Moscow.

In short: If we got rid of Trident, we could afford a better standard of living and a larger conventional Army. Such an Army might not be able to withstand a Russian attack but it would offer a greater deterrent to a planned attack from other sources.

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