Global Security: Non-Proliferation - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

 Letter from John and Margaret Parry

  We hope you will look at the exact wording of the Treaty signed by the P5 in 1968. Britain, as one of the signatories, agreed to pursue measures relating to "cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament".

  Forty years later, despite a reduction in our nuclear arsenal, it is hard to see how upgrading Trident and spending £76 billion helps this aim. That vast sum of money could, even if just reallocated within the defence budget and not spent on health or education, radically improve Britain's armed forces at all levels for a huge number of contingencies.

  The one contingency that was not considered in the last century, under the doctrine of mutually assured destruction, was the readiness of extremists to deploy suicide bombs. Since 9/11, there is ample evidence that many groups would be quite happy to bring down annihilation on themselves and their compatriots, if it destabilised or destroyed their "enemies". Therefore, the whole idea of a nuclear deterrent is not only obscenely wasteful of the world's resources and a threat to its survival but strategically flawed.

  Instead of deterring the Russians from restarting a new Cold War, deployment of a missile defence system in Poland and UK bases at Fylingdales and Menwith Hill has provoked them into new threats of retaliatory deployment. All this adds to international tension, the possibility of a nuclear accident, and the exact opposite of non-proliferation.

  Hard as it is for politicians to accept that our nuclear weapons are wholly useless (and could only be used if facilitated by the US), we urge you and your committee to adopt a more enlightened mindset for the 21st century.

  Otherwise, it seems unlikely that the world will see a 22nd century.

1 September 2008

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