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Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): Before I call the next speaker, it is clear that a large number of Members are seeking to catch my eye. I appeal for speeches to be brief so that as many Members as possible can contribute to the debate.

4.41 pm

Mr. Malcolm Savidge (Aberdeen, North): The strategic defence review was foreign policy-led, and it is perfectly proper that the new chapter is foreign policy-led, particularly taking into account the events of 11 September, asymmetric threats, greater security concerns and, perhaps, the greater importance of United Nations peacekeeping and nation-building work.

As has been said, I believe that the first stage of the campaign against terror, our military campaign in Afghanistan, has been substantially successful. I back my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton and Wanstead (Harry Cohen) in saying that whatever our reservations about aspects of the campaign, we must give credit to the United States particularly, but also to our armed forces and intelligence service for the part that they played. However, I am concerned that in the overall campaign against terror, there are a number of ways in which we could still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; I shall talk about one or two of those.

I said that I wanted to concentrate on the foreign policy lead for defence. I should particularly like to concentrate on UK-US relations and the Foreign Secretary's speech last week, to which the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) referred. In that speech at King's college, the Foreign Secretary suggested that arms control had been substantially successful, and referred in particular to the success of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; a number of countries have given up nuclear weapons and other countries, which at one stage were thought might develop such weapons, have refused to do so. However, it should not be forgotten how difficult it was to reach agreement at the review conference in 2000. The Foreign Office played a key role in that success. Everybody agreed, both then and subsequently at the United Nations, that all countries would seek to ratify the comprehensive test ban treaty as quickly as possible, and to maintain and strengthen the anti-ballistic missile treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability.

The Foreign Secretary pointed out that the test ban treaty had not yet been broken by the United States, but did not refer to the fact that the US has clearly signalled that it has no intention of ratifying it and, in fact, is seeking to breach it as quickly as possible. It is always said that the ABM treaty is a bilateral treaty; in 2000, I repeat, all states made undertakings that were genuinely multilateral.

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The hon. Member for New Forest, West referred to the fact that the Foreign Secretary said that there was "new thinking". Twenty years ago, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle et al said that the ABM treaty was out of date and that we must develop star wars. Now, they say that that treaty is 30 years out of date and that we must develop star wars. I know that some people argue that some members of the Bush Administration are reassuring us that the project is not really star wars as it will be limited and have a defensive aim. They do not often cite Richard Perle's argument that it will be inexpensive; I suppose that depends on how many hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars one regards as cheap. Those people tend not to refer to the fact that other members of the Bush Administration, as well as, very often, the members offering reassurance, have had comments published about full spectrum dominance. It is perfectly clear that if a country believes that it is totally defended, it is far more likely to be belligerent or engage in aggression.

It has been said that Russia is more friendly, but are we helping that situation, when the ABM treaty is to be abandoned rather than further negotiation taking place? Does that strengthen the position of Mr. Putin? China was already intending to expand its nuclear arsenals, but it has made it clear that it will expand them even more as a result. The Foreign Secretary expressed the hope that that would have no effect on the situation in India and Pakistan; I hope that his optimism is justified.

If the major superpower is in flagrant contempt of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, what effect does that have on the chances of proliferation? The Foreign Secretary suggested that perhaps star wars would help non-proliferation:

Star wars would put them off, he suggested. I am sorry, but I seem to remember that the rationale for star wars was that there were some rogue state dictators who were so irrational that they would not be deterred, even by the threat of nuclear annihilation. Further, would they be put off proliferation? The recent national intelligence estimate to the United States Senate is far more correct. It suggests that, because of star wars, and for a range of other reasons, such dictators would be more likely to look at using smuggled weapons because they

and their source can be

Such weapons are more accurate and, I would add, have the advantage of total surprise; they can be used without warning.

Multilateral agreements are our best way of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, missiles and other weapons of mass destruction. My right hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) and the right hon. Member for North-East Hampshire (Mr. Arbuthnot) spoke perceptively about the particular threat that could be posed if nuclear weapons fell into the hands of terrorists; we must prevent that by all means possible. What security can we possibly have even against small nuclear weapons, which could annihilate everything

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within a radius of half a mile or a mile? We cannot impose a ban on every vehicle coming within a mile of the House or any other place that we want to protect.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Savidge: No, I am sorry; I have been asked to be brief.

The present United States Administration are blocking or breaching nearly all the major treaties that we need for our safety. Of the biological weapons convention they say, "We need it relevant to today rather than yesterday." What on earth do they think other countries have been doing in the past six years of negotiation? The Foreign Secretary suggested that some people caricature members of the American Administration as unilateralists. In September 2000, I attended a Heritage Foundation seminar on star wars, which was addressed by leading right wingers from both sides of the Atlantic, including the Leader of the Opposition. One speaker said:

Since that seminar, there has been, I accept, some "new thinking". At the seminar, the republican right talked about a disparate group of people ganging together in "club mad". Now, they are talking about them ganging together in an "axis of evil". It is wrong to try to reduce a complex world to such simplicities. To suggest that Iraq, Iran and North Korea are all working together solely to produce weapons in order to attack the United States is to forget that Iraq and Iran built up their weapons largely to fight each other, that both were supplied by the United States among other countries and that North Korea, nasty and revolting as that regime is, has shown a readiness to negotiate.

Similarly, the Republican right seem to suffer amnesia as to exactly who first helped to arm the Taliban and al-Qaeda. I would follow the comments made by my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) about Iraq. If there is no clear connection to 11 September, a unilateral declaration of war or a declaration following consultation of the sort that says, "This is what we are going to do whether you like it or not," by a country that refuses weapons inspections itself would be extremely dangerous. The United Kingdom must not permit mission creep from patrolling no-fly zones to involving ourselves in war in Iraq simply to ingratiate the Republican right rather than to defend British interests.

I have another concern. The campaign against terrorism has been abused as it has become an excuse for increased belligerence in some areas that present the greatest danger of world conflict; I am thinking particularly of Israel and Palestine and India and Pakistan. In the former case, it has not helped that Donald Rumsfeld positively encouraged that. I fully appreciate that British Ministers feel that they need to show the highest level of diplomacy in dealing with our American allies. However, it is appalling that the members of the US Defence Department show such an appalling lack of diplomacy.

If I may adapt the terminology used in an interesting article by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, I believe that we must show ourselves staunch allies of the US people, but we must not show ourselves as patsies for the present US Administration. I would repeat the phrase,

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"Yes, but", that was used by the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames). The Leader of the Opposition, with his close links to the US right, must not be allowed to lead us into a dutch auction to sell out British interests to the obsessions of the American right. We must not be allowed to let real threats to the British people be increased in order to reduce imagined or remote threats to the United States.

Reference has been made to the increase in the US defence budget, and it has been suggested that we should follow that in Britain and Europe, but there is another consideration. With the US now being in the position of outspending on defence the whole of the rest of NATO plus Russia and China, while spending one of the lowest percentages on diplomacy, aid and reconstruction for other countries, surely it is time that the US considered whether it should be putting more dollars and more effort into the State Department and into aid.

As it says in "A New Chapter", the United States will undoubtedly play a lead role in many things, but it should be under the United Nations, which should lead us. George Bush senior said that he believed in a new world order, but it cannot be a new world order where one country lays down the rules for all the rest while flouting them itself. It is dangerous to assume the supremacy of the west, but it is even more dangerous to have the supremacy of the wild west. For certain states that view the United States as their allies, members of the US Administration should recognise that, although we would not regard it as the rogue States, it is certainly becoming the States of concern.

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