White Paper Answers


White Paper on the Replacement of Trident 4 December 2007, Answers to Questions posed in the Foreword to the White Paper.

Question 1: Why disarmament in the UK would help our security?
Answer: Our security needs are threatened by climate change, unsustainable increasing energy needs, potential pandemics, HIV/Aids, global poverty, the competition for basic resources and the growing gap between rich and poor internationally and domestically. None of these threats are addressed by nuclear weapons but the resources released by disarmament could be available to directly tackle them.
Question 2: How to change the minds of hardliners and extremists in countries that are developing these nuclear capabilities?
Answer:  Not by threatening to attack them with nuclear weapons but by recognising that responsible governments must seek to lower international tensions not escalate them. Nuclear disarmament is the only action that will remove the justification for countries to waste $billions to develop, produce and maintain such weapons. This cannot be proved, as demanded, any more than the corollary, that replacing Trident will cause hardliners and extremists to desist from using them should they succeed in developing or acquiring nuclear weapons.
Question 3: Would terrorists be less likely to conspire against us with hostile governments because we give up nuclear weapons?
Answer:  No. Nuclear weapons are irrelevant to terrorists. Nuclear weapons based in the UK are the easier target and pose a real risk of terrorist attack that should be eliminated if we are serious about the security of citizens in the UK.
Question 4: Would we be safer by giving up nuclear weapons?
Answer: Yes we would be safer by not being a potential threat of starting a nuclear war.
Question 5: Would our capacity to act be constrained by nuclear blackmailers?
Answer: At present Britain is a nuclear blackmailer, but Trident does not constrain any current identifiable threat. If Britain were to so antagonise a nuclear state in the distant future, that a nuclear attack was threatened, our best defence would be to negotiate and listen to their grievance rather than to threaten to join in any nuclear exchange.