British Nukes and British Troops

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

In British Nukes vs. British Troops, the New York Times shows it knows more about global security than Britain’s government:

The pledge by Britain’s coalition government to drastically slash spending is bad economics and bad public policy. Budget tightening is needed, but not this much, this fast or this way…That includes defense — targeted for a 10 to 20 percent reduction over the next five years.

Ah yes.  The old ‘what they want to do is a good idea; however now is just not the time.’  Where is the sarcasm font when you need it?

Put simply, the most important choice is between (British) nuclear weapons and troops — specifically, whether to build four new nuclear missile-launching submarines or to preserve an army large enough to contribute to allied missions overseas. Even with painful cuts in other areas, there will not be money enough for both.

Ah yes, again.  Britain must keep its conventional force stronger, relatively speaking, and whatever happens must not include nuclear modernization.

Britain’s annual military budget is $58 billion. Replacing all four (nuclear) submarines — as the Conservatives, the lead partner in the coalition government, want — would cost $30 billion over the next decade, or roughly $3 billion a year. Eliminating 20,000 army troops will save less than $2 billion a year. Scaling back the submarine replacement plan — or deferring it, as the junior partner, the Liberal Democrats, urge — could save enough to keep the army at its current strength of 105,000.

Britain will not be able to deliver if this government decides to sacrifice troop numbers for nuclear symbolism.

Here are some of the real reasons the Times doesn’t want Britain to do any nuclear modernization:

  1. It would be an acknowledgment that there is a need for U.S. allies to have nuclear weapons
  2. Such an initiative points out the continuing need for nuclear weapons for the West
  3. This sort of continuing need greatly reduces the unity of message regarding the passage of New START
  4. Without New START, the goal of global nuclear disarmament is re-exposed as unrealistic at best (and dangerous at worst)

A hypothesis, anyway…

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