Global Security: Non-Proliferation - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

 Submission from Mr Benjamin Brooks

  I write to you today in reference to the inquiry by the Foreign Affairs Committee entitled "Global Security: Non-Proliferation" of which you are chair. I wish to draw the committee's attention to the level of contradiction and hypocrisy contained within the governments National Security Strategy (NSS) and its supposed commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

  The government freely admits within the NSS that the threats faced in the twenty-first century are radically different to those of recent decades and have thus confounded all assumptions relating toward national defence. If this ascertain is correct then we must question the logic and rationale of renewing a defence system (trident nuclear missiles/polaris submarines) that was conceived and deployed primarily in response to a nuclear armed USSR. An often used governmental response to this line of questioning is that modern nuclear missiles are of a far greater technological standard and accuracy, therefore minimising any risk to civilians. Yet accompanying this level of hypothetical reassurance are the sobering dual realities that; (a) due to the comprehensive test-ban treaty the effects (especially long-term) of any nuclear explosion are unknown, (b) by assuming the contrary that because of technological advances and fewer warheads the UK nuclear arsenal is actually decreasing. The potential yield of Britain's nuclear arsenal is unknown and as such impossible to qualify as decreasing, therefore contradicting the NPT. A second danger brought about by a belief in a smaller, more accurate arsenal is the likelihood of the government deploying them in active combat.

  The NSS continues by announcing that Britain will be at the forefront of diplomatic action pertaining to nuclear weapons control and (crucially) reduction. Yet with the decisions to renew all major facets of Britain's nuclear arsenal this commitment is surely voided. If Britain timely wishes to become a world leader (within the field of nuclear weaponry) then it should turn its expertise on verifying the elimination of warheads inward and become the first of the recognised nuclear-states to completely disarm.

  With the implementation of the US missile defence shield Britain must begin to believe its own rhetoric as to the level of safety this system will provide. If Britain is not safe without a deployable nuclear arsenal then why should states such as Israel be contented with hypocritical reassurances. By using our expertise to deconstruct our own arsenal we can begin to regain the trust and respect of our international partners. If Britain fails to take such historic steps toward a nuclear-free world we seek only to heighten the role of proliferation of nuclear material to states whom feel threatened by global events. Who would deny the people of Georgia an effective deterrent to the threat of an overbearing Russia. As a global leader it is Britain's responsibility to show these states that protection can be found within international institutions (as espoused in the NSS) and not via a missile system that in the best case scenario lies dormant for its lifetime and merely wastes billions of pounds of tax-payers money.

19 September 2008

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