Few people can be happy that North Korea has missiles and nuclear weapons, given their record in oppressing their own people let alone anyone else’s. David Cameron today said that we need our own independent nuclear deterrent.
The problem is, we don’t have one. Trident uses missiles leased from the United States – indeed, the US records Trident submarines as part of their forces sometimes. There are statements from the US dating back forty years explaining that our deterrent ain’t independent. We can’t fire the missiles without the use of US targeting systems, so we can never use them without US agreement. We could at best decide not to join in a war in which the US was involved, providing our submarines followed Downing Street rather than the President. It suits us politically to pay for a pretend independent nuclear deterrent.
It is superficially attractive to say, if an aggressive regime threatened us, we would threaten them back. The people of North Korea didn’t choose their government and probably cannot change it without major external help. The government of North Korea can be reined in by China at a minute’s notice, (China being a superpower which has only a few hundred nukes, being skeptical about the value of thousands of them.) Exactly when would David Cameron or Nick Clegg or whoever decide to vapourise a couple of million starving North Koreans?
Western policy on non proliferation has managed to ensure we invaded the one member of the so called Axis of Evil which DIDN’T have weapons of mass destruction; and which ensured that India and Pakistan now face each other with nukes.
It is a difficult and dangerous position we are in. Spending £1o0bn on weapons we don’t control and probably couldn’t ever use, doesn’t seem that centred to me.