The special relationship – what’s a new missile system between friends

No Trident Replacement BadgeIn a globalised, increasingly multi-polar world, the ‘special relationship’ between the US and UK might be expected to diminish, as twenty-first century reality supersedes Cold War imperatives. Nothing of the sort, it seems, when it comes to nuclear weapons.

In 1958 the US and UK signed the ‘Agreement between the UK and the USA for cooperation in the Uses of Atomic Energy for Mutual Defence Purposes’. Also referred to as the Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA), the treaty established a modus operandi between both countries to exchange classified information to develop their respective nuclear weapon systems. Originally, the MDA prohibited the transfer of nuclear weapons, but an amendment in 1959 allowed for the transfer of nuclear materials and equipment between both countries. This amendment is extended through a renewal of the treaty every ten years, most recently in 2004. Continue reading

Korean Nuclear Crisis – time for Labour to call for dialogue to stop nuclear proliferation

With tensions escalating on the Korean peninsula in what is possibly the most serious nuclear crisis since that over the Cuban missiles in 1962, PM David Cameron’s assertion that Britain’s possession of nuclear weapons ‘was necessary’, was not merely opportunistic and hypocritical but utterly dangerous. Whilst other world leaders ­ Ban Ki-moon, the Russian and Chinese governments, as well as leading politicians in South Korea and the US – have all been calling on both sides in the conflict to show restraint, Cameron was in effect inflaming the situation, giving a green light not least to those in South Korea and Japan who would have their countries develop their own nuclear weapons.

The problem for the Labour Party is that one of its Shadow Defence Secretaries, Kevan Jones, echoed this endorsement of the Trident nuclear weapons system, with the only qualification being that of cost, not of nuclear posture. Continue reading

Cut Trident, not jobs, homes, and health

This afternoon, the House of Commons debates Britain’s nuclear deterrent: Jeremy Corbyn puts the case against the replacement of Trident in the context of austerity.

An incoming Labour government will be faced with massive expectations and demands of jobs for young people, increased health expenditure, huge demands on the benefits budget, student fees, and infrastructure costs.

The housing crisis, which means we’re building fewer than 100,000 new units per year when the number of new families per year is increasing by 200,000, means there will be a shortage of mega proportions of housing for rent, as well as to buy. Continue reading

Labour must reject Trident

Hammond’s jumping the gun by pledging a £350m contract to signal the Tories’ embrace of a Trident replacement should be met by a resolute pronouncement from Labour that neither the arguments nor the figures stand up to any serious scrutiny. At the present time the biggest danger we face is the threat of terrorism on our mainland, and against that nuclear weapons are useless. Continue reading

Iran and the bomb: containment is an option

Benjamin Netanyahu is not much given to obfuscation. His speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday night made it quite clear to Tehran – and anyone else listening in – that he will do whatever it takes to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Despite the carefully inserted disclaimers, numerous passages can only be read as overtly threatening a military strike. The Israeli prime minister would presumably prefer US sanction beforehand, but will act on its own account if it is not forthcoming. Continue reading