Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 4th July 2005.

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Photo of John Reid John Reid Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, The Secretary of State for Defence 2:30 pm, 4th July 2005

The answer to the first question is that I discern those views by listening, although listening does not necessarily mean that I accept them; it depends on the rationale and logic of what is put to me. As regards debate, I find myself in the peculiar position where I am attacked from both sides of the House for not debating the issue and by my hon. Friend for endless debate on it.


Posted on 5 Jul 2005 11:40 am (Report this annotation)

The UK is currently being denied essential defence equipment by the United States administration. As a result, UK plans to buy squadrons of US Joint Strike Fighters could be cancelled, with European Typhoons being purchased instead.

This was suggested in another parliamentary debate on Monday, 4 July. It was pointed out that multilateral defence alliance, NATO, would suffer because of the US attitude.

If defence is slowly moving to multilateralism, shouldn't NATO have a view on nuclear weapons? The UK taxpayer seems to be meeting more than a fair share of the costs of Western defence.

Julian Todd
Posted on 6 Jul 2005 1:05 pm (Report this annotation)

The real question to ask is what exactly is "essential" about this so-called "defence" equipment. If Britain was willing to cease attacking other countries that pose no threat, most of this essential equipment would not be needed.

"Defence" is by its nature not multinational. The whole point of nuclear weapons, in the absence of little green men from Mars, is to point them at each other.

Posted on 6 Jul 2005 2:55 pm (Report this annotation)

Should NATO continue in its present form? NATO is an organisation that promotes multilateral defence. The defence measures must be approved by its members.

However the events of 9/11 led to a split. An article on the divide was published last year in the 'NATO Review'.

"The 11 September and 11 March attacks left all EU and NATO members more keen to act against new threats but not necessarily in agreement on when to use military force, against whom and under what conditions. There is a general consensus that early and "robust" use of force may occasionally be needed, but it sits awkwardly alongside a deep-seated preference for a society governed by international law in which the use of force is rendered unnecessary by the discipline imposed by multilateral institutions."