Trident recently misfired, aiming nuclear weapons at the US and dooming the whole planet to deal with the eventual radioactive fallout. It could’ve been a disaster, it could’ve pushed humanity to the brink of survival, but thankfully it was not. However this recent misfire, amongst other reports in regards to Trident such as a whistleblower calling it “a disaster waiting to happen” – has caused renewed claims to scrap it, which are obviously being contested.
I can see the point of view of those who are for Trident. We need some kind of defense against nuclear war. We live in an ever-terrifying world and there are lots of countries with nuclear arms, and there’s no telling if they’re always all going to be on the same side. Its for this reason that we use a concept called Mutually Assured Destruction, ironically abbreviated to MAD from here on out.
See MAD, has been great so far, sure – it cannot prevent misfires, and it doesn’t stop the threat of terrorism and there are definite problems with it. Still though, as of yet, there has been no nuclear war. It got close a few times, but it hasn’t actually happened. We’re all still safe to breathe in the air without mutating from the radiation. Its all good. However this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to work in the future, this doesn’t mean that we’re safe under MAD at all. Its more an illusion of safety, which relies on the people on the other end valuing their lives and the lives of their people as much as you do yours. There’s no guarantee of that.
But it doesn’t appear like we have any better options right? Outside of saying “if you nuke me, I’ll nuke you” what else can we do?
Look to Switzerland is what we can do.
See, Switzerland is smart. They watched the film Wargames and realised, yeah that’s right – the only winning move is not to play. If you haven’t seen Wargames, it came out 30 years ago, what are you waiting for? The short story of which is a kid plays a game with a computer that gains control of nuclear weapons. The kid has to win the game or else the world will be plunged into nuclear annihilation. The game ends when the computer and the kid discover the concept of MAD, because nobody can win.
Except… the game isn’t over because of the discovery of MAD exactly. The game ends because the computer decides that its not worth it. The computer decides that not playing the game of nukes is how you win the game of nukes. Switzerland took this literally, and instead of being a nuclear armed country and playing the game – they took themselves completely out of it.
Switzerland built a bunch of nuclear bunkers. At current capacity, they can house 114% of the country’s population and although I can’t find the statistics right now, they cost significantly less than Trident does. They have a high start up cost to build originally which I think was close to Trident’s yearly figure, yet their maintenance cost year in year out after that is in the hundreds of millions, not in the billions.
The UK could afford to build these, and save billions if we scrapped Trident. We would still have safety and security without them if we did. Which is what we need, Trident has provided this for us for many years now, but if there’s a better solution to the problem of nuclear war – then why not take it? Why not stop playing the game that threatens to end all of our lives in an instant?
There’s no good reason to remain in the game if the game continues to threaten our lives. A deterrent isn’t a deterrent if it can misfire, or be taken advantage of to encourage a nuclear war. Its the entire opposite of a deterrent.