Nuclear weapons plan bprematureb


Dec 2, 2000
58,641
457
453
Easley South Carolina
From the BBC.com:
quote:

Moves to replace Britain's nuclear submarine fleet are "highly premature", an American expert has told MPs.
Tony Blair says a decision has to be taken now to develop new submarines carrying the Trident missiles, as they are due to be decommissioned in 2024.

But Richard Garwin, who worked on the design of the first hydrogen bomb, said they could keep going into the 2030s.

"I think the government is hastening into this decision before the facts are really available to it," he said.
For the rest of the story, go to http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6292955.stm

Opinion: Hastening to make a decision? Well, no it's not. The HMS Vangaurd first deployed in 1994 which means that the design process had to have been started in the 1980's. While still cutting edge, nothing remains that way for long. They don't have to just leap right into it, but if the UK wants a viable replacement by the time the service lives of these craft come to an end, they need to get the design process started sooner rather then later.
 

Dave Moran

Member
Apr 23, 2002
253
2
171
But for the British public the big question is - why would we need a replacement in the current climate ? Who, after all, is it deterring ? The next question that usually follows in the minds of voters very quickly is - what else could the money be spent on ?

The Thatcher government went into the question of expenditure on Trident at great length in the early 80's and were just about able to convince the mass of the electorate that we could not afford to leave the country undefended. Thus, for example, much of the Tory strategy in the 1983 election was to portray then Labour leader Michael Foot as a wooly minded academic who would betray Britain - an image he didn't help by such faux pas as turning up at the Cenotaph on Rememberance Day in an anorak, admittedly.

Those days are gone now, however, and the public have the perception that our Health Service, schools, police forces and conventional armed forces are all stretched to the limit by modern pressures. In that sort of situation a nuclear programme has shifted from the essential of the 1980s to the luxury bracket in the Noughties.

warmest regards

dave
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,641
457
453
Easley South Carolina
>>Who, after all, is it deterring ?<<

Maybe nobody, and maybe somebody you least expect. The Soviet Union is gone, but Russia is still there and even today, it's relations with the west aren't always that cordial. It's also worth noting that the nuclear club is growing. Both India and Pakistan have their own forces, and now North Korea has The Bomb as well. We can only guess at who else may want to sign on, but it doesn't stand to reason that any newcomers will either be friendly or even stable or even stay that way.

That's why a deterrent is needed.

Whether or not it may be needed in the future is anybody's guess. Militarily, nuclear weapons aren't really all that useful. Their chief justification is to keep anyone else from using theirs.

You blast us.

We blast you.

It's godawful but then, the fact that it's so profoundly godawful is why it's worked in the first place.
 

Dave Moran

Member
Apr 23, 2002
253
2
171
Funny thing you should say that- I was reading an article an American weapons analyst wrote for a History forum back in 2000 and he had some interesting information to impart - that almost as soon as mad dictators get a hold of the bomb, they suddenly turn incredibly careful and basically cease being " mad ".

He pointed to the examples of China, Israel, India and Pakistan. Thus, for example, Mao spent the 1950s attempting to engineer a confrontation between the Soviet Union and the USA - then as soon as Chian gained The Bomb itself, it ceased to agitate quite so much. Likewise Israel during the 1973 war could have resorted to nuclear attack on Egypt or Syria but, even at its lowest ebb, did not. Instead, it reached an accomodation. ( Same with India and Pakistan two years ago) .

His theory was twofold

First - a country that had the bomb could be reassured that it would never actually lose a war. It could be defeated, to be sure - it might find itself forced to abandon territorial ambitions, or back-down and accept political embarrasment. Yet it would never be occupied, never have its citizenry enslaved or tanks rumble down its streets, because any enemy would know that if said country/ruler faced total defeat that big button would be pressed, making total victory a Phyrric one.

Secondly, it also limited the options of aforesaid mad dictators - for they would know that if they went nuclear the result would be their own annihilation by the righteously indignant other nuclear powers, tout suite. Not necessarily nuclear attack - said country might have found his overseas assets frozen, its loans called in, its trade drop off entirely.

Moreover, investment in nuclear lessened investment in conventional - and it's conventional forces ambitious dictators tend to need to occupy territory, or achieve political aims or whatever.

I'll hunt it out, since it made interesting reading but he ended with one thought provoking point. The guy claimed to be a weapons analyst for the US Army -and incidentally he, like you, held that militarily nuclear weapons were not much use - he claimed that in 1995 they ran a study on what Saddam Hussein might have done in 1990 if he had The Bomb.

Every time they ran the scenarios they concluded that whilst they didn't really know what he would have done they did know the one thing he wouldn't have - he wouldn't have invaded Kuwait.

warmest regards

dave
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,641
457
453
Easley South Carolina
>>that almost as soon as mad dictators get a hold of the bomb, they suddenly turn incredibly careful and basically cease being " mad ".<<

There is that. But then when you know that starting something is going to result in your nation being turned into a glassed over self-lighting parking lot with thirty minutes of your first weapon landing, it tends to make you think twice before considering their use.
 

Grant Carman

Member
Jun 19, 2006
348
0
111
>>that almost as soon as mad dictators get a hold of the bomb, they suddenly turn incredibly careful and basically cease being "mad"<<

One issue with that is when you have the leader of a country, like Amenijhad (sic) of Iran, that premise goes out the window. His religious beleif is that even if he takes 2 or 3 BILLION people with him in a nuclear war, it is justified because the prophet will return, and usher in a golden age. He is exactly the type of person who would use the bomb, knowing that he and his entire country would be incinerated.

And he's okay with that.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,641
457
453
Easley South Carolina
If it's any reassurance...and a possible savings on your laundry bill...I don't think I'd be excessively worried about this guy. Whatever you can say about the mullahs, they are anything but completely stupid. The rheotoric they spout in public for the ears of Muhummad Bin Sixpack in the souk often has nothing to do with their real views. It may sell well to their local extremists, but they hardly want thier country to be turned into a slagged over mass of green glowing glass. (This is known in politics as pandering to the base.)

All that aside, even if you have one true believer type who's willing to launch, such people are often tempered by others who manage to keep a leash on him. The rabid dog may be useful, but he's still a rabid dog to be managed accordingly.
 

Similar threads