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For and against nuclear weapons - emails, mine and my MP

Andrew Griffith MP, writes in favour of nuclear weapons

Dear David,

Thank you for contacting me about the UK’s nuclear stockpile.

The fundamental purpose of our nuclear weapons is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression. A minimum, credible, independent nuclear deterrent assigned to the defence of NATO, remains essential in order to guarantee our security and that of our Allies. I would argue that it has worked in that none have ever been fired in anger by any side. Given this, advances in anti-missile technology require a larger volume of warheads in order for the threat to remain credible and thus peace to be preserved.

Kind regards,
Andrew Griffith MP, Member of Parliament for Arundel & South Downs 7 April 2021

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My reply. Why nuclear weapons are rejected around the world, are harmful and a misuse of money and talent

Dear Andrew Griffith
I very much appreciate that you are working your socks off and doing a great job for the constituency.
Thank you for replying to my email re our defence spending, especially our proposed increase in nuclear warheads.

Believing in nuclear weapons is an act of faith and I think you have made your choice, but I still hope that you will be prepared to look at reasoned argument and perhaps agree with some of the points below.

World opinion is against nuclear weapons

The majority of people in this country and almost every country and person in the rest of the world take a different view from you.

These are some of the reasons

  • Preparing to carry out the mass extermination of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in other countries is a deeply immoral act.
  • Preparing the weapons to carry out nuclear annihilation is a phenomenally large diversion of financial and human resources which might be used to improve rather than threaten human life.

Preventing coercion and deterring aggression?

Preventing coercion and deterring aggression would be good outcomes if they work. But several thoughts occur to me on this topic.

  • One, If nuclear weapons have deterred other countries from invading Britain can you point to any occasions when we were ever saved  from attack by our possession of nuclear weapons?
  • Two, did our possession of nuclear weapons deter Argentina from invading the British territory of the Falkland Islands in 1982? No.
  • Three, Do our nuclear weapons deter terrorist attacks? No.
  • Four, Do our nuclear weapons deter cyber attacks? No.
  • Five, have our nuclear weapons deterred China from breaking its agreement with us regarding Hong Kong and interfering there? No.
  • Six, if we believe that nuclear weapons deter aggression why do we need conventional forces?
  • Seven, Why have 95% of countries in the world decided not to possess nuclear weapons? Are they fearing attacks that could be deterred with nuclear weapons? Aren’t the majority living in friendly cooperation with other countries?
  • Eight, Is threatening nuclear destruction really the road to peace? I think of our neighbour France which is a nuclear power. Is the the fear of our nuclear weapons the reason France does not attack us? No. We have developed friendly relations which have endured for over a hundred years in spite of previous centuries of mutual hostilities.

The Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and Britain’s reputation and standing in the world

Honouring treaties is something Britain has been proud of, but increasing the number of our nuclear warheads is an extraordinary reversal of an agreement we have kept for over half a century. The government’s website proclaims our commitment to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Claiming that others have improved their defences cannot justify what we propose doing.
The UK is a signatory and ratifier for The Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. The NPT remains the most widely subscribed to nuclear arms control treaty in history. 190 states have signed the treaty.

Explanation of significance of NP Treaty by UN Secretary General, 2018

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is an essential pillar of international peace and security, and the heart of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Its unique status is based on its near universal membership, legally-binding obligations on disarmament, verifiable non-proliferation safeguards regime, and commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear energy”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the NPT’s opening for signature, 24 May 2018, Geneva

From the government’s website 31 March 2021  –  “A world without nuclear weapons

“The UK remains committed to the collective long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and supports the full implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation on Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in all its aspects. There is no credible alternative route to disarmament.”

[More about international treaties and conferences was included here. See other articles about nuclear weapons and the treaty on my blog.]

Other countries have reduced their nuclear arsenals

Russians have reduced nuclear weapons stockpile
At the height of the Cold War Russia/USSR had about 40 thousand nuclear warheads. Today it has about four thousand warheads.
Source: Federation of American Scientists. https://fas.org/issues/nuclear-weapons/status-world-nuclear-forces/

In conclusion

I think the people of Britain and the world will not understand or welcome what Britain is doing by its partial reliance and increased spending on a larger nuclear arsenal.
David Roberts
PS May I have permission to quote your letter on my blog?
Andrew Griffith gave permission for me to quote his email.
David Roberts

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David Roberts

Writer, publisher, music promoter

Born in 1942, I now have time to enjoy life more widely and reflect on my experience, interests, and contemporary events.

David Roberts

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