D is for Deterrence. Should we disarm?
Is there a case for nuclear disarmament? Jeremy Corbyn thinks there is..
Listening to Corbyn at the Labour conference this week I find myself agreeing with the man on more and more issues. But I’m a Conservative. I’m not supposed to agree with a Socialist!
This is what Corbyn said in his speech yesterday and it’s causing quite a stir within the Labour party and within Conservative ranks there is much laughter but the man has a very valid point:
‘Today we face very different threats from the time of the Cold War which ended thirty years ago. That’s why I have asked our Shadow Defence Secretary, Maria Eagle, to lead a debate and review about how we deliver that strong, modern effective protection for the people of Britain. I’ve made my own position on one issue clear. And I believe I have a mandate from my election on it. I don’t believe £100 billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons taking up a quarter of our defence budget is the right way forward. I believe Britain should honour our obligations under the Non Proliferation Treaty and lead in making progress on international nuclear disarmament.’
It seems to me that our nuclear deterrent policy is an outdated one as we move further away from the Cold War. Yes there are still aggressors throughout the world who threaten our freedom and the lives of their citizens but is pointing a weapon at them rather than engaging in meaningful talks really the answer?
Deterrence theory gained prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons – the ultimate form of destruction. One theorist Bernard Brodie wrote in 1959, must be always at the ready, yet never used.
The use of power to hurt as bargaining power is the foundation of deterrence theory, and is most successful when it is held in reserve.
In a January 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal cold war policy make Henry Kissinger, Bill Perry, George Shultz and Sam Nunn reversed their previous position and asserted that far from making the world safer, nuclear weapons had become a source of extreme risk. “Senior European statesmen and women” called for further action in 2010 in addressing problems of nuclear weapons proliferation. They said: “Nuclear deterrence is a far less persuasive strategic response to a world of potential regional nuclear arms races and nuclear terrorism than it was to the cold war”
A total of 9 countries possess nuclear weapons yet all the other countries in the world don’t. What gives those 9 countries the right? The rest of the world doesn’t feel the need to arm up with a total of 16,000 nuclear weapons between them.
Ultimately the only way to maintain peace is by talking. Trying to establish good relations with other nations, trying to understand other ways of thinking and persuasion are the only means to peace. Pointing a weapon at an aggressor just makes that aggressor retaliate.
I think we should all be listening to the case Corbyn has to make and stop blinding following an outdated and hugely costly policy.