Whilst the issue of who would or wouldn’t press a red button (which of course does not exist) circulates on social media, the following paragraph is available on the website of the US Government Office of the Historian which dates back to 1968 when the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was signed: “The spread of nuclear weapons technology meant several things for international lawmakers. While the only countries that were capable of nuclear strike were the United States, its close ally Britain, and the Soviet Union, the doctrine of deterrence could be reasonably maintained. Because both sides of the Cold War had vast stocks of weapons and the capability of striking back after being attacked, any strike would likely have led to mutually assured destruction, and thus there remained a strong incentive for any power to avoid starting a nuclear war. However, if more nations, particularly developing nations that lay on the periphery of the balance of power between the two Cold War superpowers, achieved nuclear capability, this balance risked being disrupted and the system of deterrence would be threatened.”
As we now know, the treaty did not achieve its idealistic objectives and as it was clearly understood 49 years ago, widespread proliferation means that deterrence is at an end, despite the deceitful words coming from Politicians. I object to the use of my taxes to replace Trident when it is perfectly clear that deterrence is no longer a reality. Next year we celebrate 50 years since the treaty was signed. A great way of celebrating it would be for an announcement that Trident will not be replaced and instead our focus will be on world peace, not on bigger and more powerful weapons. Only by the Nuclear powers dismantling their weapons can we hope to argue in a coherent manner for others to do the same.