Friday, 22 January 2016

MAD MAD MAD

There are only four things that I find it hard to calmly debate and argue about, without becoming increasingly annoyed: how to use literally correctly and why it's important; gun control in America; Feminism and specifically whether a woman is ever asking to be raped (I mean, literally by definition you cannot ask to be raped); and whether we should abolish Trident. Indeed, whenever I take those political quizzes that proclaim to be able to tell me which political party I am closest to, my support for abolishing Trident somewhat skews the results. Yes, that's right. I would abolish Trident. And I don't think there is a single good argument (aside from the fact it seems to monumentally annoy the SNP) for keeping the expensive waste of money. Frankly, I'm not too fussed about the cost actually. I think the billions could be better spent. Maybe we could give those junior doctors a bit more money or stop charging people £9000 a year for the privilege of a university education. Or actually, here is an idea. Let's give all those people who will apparently now lose their jobs a huge payout. As if Trident's main purpose was to provide people with employment. But I suppose that's neither here nor there though of course I do believe it's an utter waste of money. And no, I don't think, if we abolish it, we will usher in a new era of calm and peace (Sorry Jezza, maybe whilst you're talking to Daesh about  whether they would mind terribly if they stopped killing homosexuals and raping women, you could ask them not to nuke us) where the US and Iran become Facebook friends and instead of launching nuclear war against each other, decide to hit the poke button and have a poke war that eventually Iran wins after President Donald Trump is caught in a dilemma over whether to comb his hair or invade Portugal and completely forgets to log into his Facebook account. I can even forgive the fact it appears to have been named after a brand of chewing gum.

No, my main issue with Trident is that it is not a deterrent. It is not a deterrent for a number of reasons. And if a nuclear deterrent isn't a deterrent then it serves no purpose. We may as well keep the warheads filled with all those plastics bags we are now saving because of the 5p charge for all the good it would do. 

Reason Trident is not a deterrent number one: 

Mutually Assured Destruction is an outdated idea that sounds like a perfectly good idea to those we are apparently trying to deter. In other words, it would not and does not deter countries like Iran or North Korea or terrorist groups and I think a nuclear deterrent is highly pointless if it only works as a potential nuclear retaliation. Mainly because they are fairly certain we would never use it (see below) but also because they are not bound by the incredibly volatile politics of MAD.

Besides, if you look at the nuclear powers or close-to-nuclear-powers in the world that might think a nuclear holocaust is a good idea, the majority hate America more than they hate us anyway, so I think we might be safe. Despite expanding over vast swathes of the globe and making life pretty miserable for most of the world's population in our not-so-distant past, we are remarkably still preferred to the USA. Anyway, apparently we don't have to worry about Iran anymore (unless you're Israeli...then you have to be very worried, but who cares about Israel?), North Korea are hardly a threat (I'm more concerned about the very real possibility that Donald Trump may be allowed into the UK after it transpires that only the Home Secretary can ban him and that three hour commons debate was entirely pointless. The havoc it would cause) and even if Russia and China were, Trident would be utterly useless and we'd need the Americans anyway. We may as well turn up to a nuclear war against the Russians with a glow stick and a McDonalds happy meal toy. 

Reason Trident is not a deterrent number two: 

We would not use it. Sure that's an assertion, but so is the claim that we would use it. I struggle to believe any British Prime Minister could sanction the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people who pose no threat to us in a single strike. Besides, couldn't we just invade Iraq again if we wanted to cause murder and chaos on such an unimaginable scale? I think it might even be *cheaper* than renewing Trident. The serious point there is that *even if* we could bring ourselves to sanction the death of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, we could do that in so many other ways. I hear barrel bombs are fairly effective, eh Mr Assad? But seriously. I wouldn't use it. I don't think anyone could do it.

In any event, we always assert our moral superiority over our enemies. We are not fooling anyone into thinking we would strike with a nuclear bomb, trust me. And aside from anything else, does anyone actually believe we would use it? I do not think so. It, therefore, does not work as a deterrent. It's not stopping anyone.

Given we would never use it, what is the point in actually having it? If you support Trident, you support using it in response to a nuclear strike. Ask yourself what good that would do. 

Reason Trident is not a deterrent number three: 

Our biggest threat comes not from Iran (unless you're Israel. Then Iran is your biggest threat, but who cares. You're only Jewi...Israeli) or North Korea or even the French. In fact, they might even all agree nuclear Holocaust is a terrible idea, (relevant, of course, only if they were our biggest threats) and therefore abide by MAD. In which case, good thing the Americans are on our side and look like having a trigger happy bumbling fool in the Oval Office come January next year. If anything is a deterrent, it's Donald Trump with the nuclear codes. Although, he probably thinks they're his numbers for this week's powerball...But no, they aren't our biggest threat. Or even a threat (unless you're Isra...you get the point). No, our biggest threat is terrorism. It's a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of Daesh, the bastards. Or Al Qaeda, also bastards. Or any set of suicidal medieval maniacs with no fixed state territory to strike back against. All bastards. Trust me, Daesh are not deterred by the prospect of us striking Syria or Iraq. We may as well threaten to re-enlist James Blunt into the army and send him as a one man combat unit equipped with only his guitar and a CD player with his greatest hits on a loop for when he needs to sleep. In my analogy, they are actually huge James Blunt fans and think this sounds like a fantastic idea, bomb Syria and Iraq away as far as they are concerned. Who exactly are we going to condemn to death? Syrians? Iraqis? The Spanish? Or have we developed precision nuclear weapons that can identify a Daesh terrorist and explode a tiny mushroom cloud on his/her (I'm an equal opportunities terrorist accuser) head, ensuring we both make our point and eliminate the threat? Our biggest threat comes from an enemy that doesn't necessarily even have nuclear weapons or the capacity to launch them, don't care about a retaliation even if they did and have no clear or defined territory to strike back against in any event. Seems Trident qua nuclear deterrent isn't quite working out for us.  

Reason Trident is not a deterrent number four: 

I've alluded to this above. Trident is fairly pathetic. Not only do only four out of five dentists even think Trident is good for your oral health, our so-called independent nuclear deterrent relies on the US for some actual muscle. This begs the question why we don't just rely on the US anyway, we seem to when it comes to deciding whether to invade other countries and virtually every other foreign policy decision, so why not when we apparently want to use a particularly devastating weapon? 

Can we not just murder our civilians more conventionally? Apparently Aldi Jaffa Cakes taste basically exactly the same as the real thing. I don't see why we can't apply the same logic when it comes to murdering innocent civilians in a retaliatory strike that would never happen. Maybe Lidl do a range of really cheap, really powerful bombs like the ones we are currently using to destroy Daesh? Who knows. Sure as the hell that would freeze over before we dropped a nuclear bomb on Syria because Daesh attacked Warrington, we do not need Trident. If it is not a deterrent, which - given we would not use it and given we could not use it effectively even if we wanted to against our biggest threats - it is not, then it is about as useful as these potential alternatives to Trident: 
  • Employing Wayne Rooney to negotiate with any entity who looks like they might strike 
  • Teaching my (dead) pet goldfish Krav Maga as our first line of defence 
  • Banning Donald Trump from entering the UK to prevent the radicalisation of youngsters so outraged by him being a buffoon (I mean what were MPs thinking. Do they honestly believe anyone takes them seriously anymore after they dedicated three hours to debating whether we need to protect the sensibilities of an increasingly pathetic and easily offended set of students and others so morally outraged by anyone who dares not be a disabled transgender homosexual ethnic minority, so much so that apparently rape is absolutely bloody okay if it is carried out by refugees and we need to have safe spaces absolutely everywhere?)
  • Sending Piers Morgan on a world tour to piss off everyone by name dropping every other sentence and then exiling him to an abandoned island in the Atlantic where everyone would decide to launch their entire nuclear arsenal (somewhat ironic, given his love of a good Arsenal performance) against him, thus preventing them from doing so against us
In fact, I have a radical solution. Let's pretend to renew Trident. We can have a huge ceremony, Cameron can cut the red tape in a massive political statement against regulations in an attempt to win over his party. Political leaders can all fall over themselves to assert the historic importance of the event, reference the Cold War needlessly and inaccurately and tell us how vital it is that we can strike at the heart of Andorra should they ever threaten to win a game of football and cease to be the only team more dull and predictable than England. Everyone can have an extra day off, whip out the bunting, organise street parties and generally have a merry old time akin to the Royal Wedding but without the kiss on the balcony at the end. Just don't tell Corbabes, he might get drunk and tell Daesh or Assad. Nightmare. Plus he might explode if he thinks we are renewing Trident, which I quite fancy watching. All an elaborate double bluff that keeps everyone happy. Our enemies all still believe that we have this apparently effective deterrent and therefore would not dare trying to find out otherwise because, you know, they are suitably deterred. Unless we think they will strike regardless of whether they believe we have a nuclear deterrent, in which case it isn't a deterrent (hang on, I'm fairly sure I've heard that argument somewhere...) and we can all argue about the merits of blowing up Baghdad or Tehran or Rome from the rubble of our destroyed homes. Someone could start a petition and we could watch MPs debate it for three hours before all deciding unanimously to ban Donald Trump. 

So come on. Let's stop pretending that Trident serves us any good and go back to arguing about something useful like the disaster that Bake Off leaving BBC is. Or I don't know. The football. I hear United are doing badly at the moment. Ferguson retires and we end up wth Daesh rampaging through Syria and Iraq, the potential for the special relationship to be between Donald Trump and Boris Johnson (I'm not sure what happens if they were to ever meet), Jezza Corbs in charge of the Labour Party and an especially cold winter. I'm not saying there's a link, but you do the maths.

This post has been updated 9 times, including most recently on the 29/09/16. Please note that the football analogy at the end was current at the time of initial writing.