Monday, 4 December 2006

Tony's toys.

Tony's latest whitepaper says that New Labour's Trident updating programme will reduce the number of missiles in Britain's independent nuclear arsenal from 200 to 160. Costs will be kept down to a mere £25 billion.

Which begs the question; what is it all for ?

The argument that deterrents keep the peace was always spurious; even during the Cold War there seemed to be more danger from some escalated nuclear accident than from a deliberate threat from the Soviets to bomb London.

But if the logic of deterrents makes any sense at all then it can only apply to a rational opponent.

But Tony and Dubya repeatedly tell us that our opponents these day are madmen in rogue states. Applying deterrents to this 'axis of evil' is based on the same logic that says that psychopathic serial killers would think twice if only we had the death penalty.

I can't believe that serious strategists don't see this. So the only other possible explanations for New Labour's defence policy are:

• An underlying inferiority complex about Britain's status in the world.

• The desire to show that they are at least as nationalistic and belligerent as the Tories.

• To define themselves as something other than Old Labour with all it's CND connotations.

• Blair's personal sense of historic destiny as a statesman with a role on the world stage.

All explanations would be true to form but personally I prefer the latter. Which makes Trident a very expensive and dangerous toy to placate a mid-life crisis. Tony would be better advised to opt for the traditional therapy in these circumstances; start watching Top Gear and get himself a little sports car.

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