August 2013

Writing in Open Democracy, retired General Sir Hugh Beach makes the case for getting rid of our nuclear weapons.


Excerpts from his article


  • It is time … to examine why ‘one-sided nuclear disarmament’ is treated by politicians as beyond the pale, especially in view of the security and economic challenges associated with replacing Trident.


  • Fear of the ‘unilateralist’ label is obscuring the fact that there is now an overwhelming case to be made that the complete renunciation of nuclear weapons is in the British national interest.


  • Most diplomats agree that the Trident replacement issue has no bearing onBritain’s United Nations Security Council membership, and nuclear weapons capability is one of the least relevant criteria for a country’s influence.


  • Contrary to popular belief, it seems that US officials are pushingLondonto consider abandoning Trident.


  • Many-sided disarmament offers an attractive way for politicians to stay on the fence, but makes no actual military or political sense – except perhaps as a tactic for postponing any decision to forgo nuclear weapons into the indefinite future.


  • Rather than stay trapped in misleading – and irrelevant – 1980s rhetoric about ‘unilateral’ versus ‘multilateral’ disarmament, it would be more sensible and straightforward to determine our own national interest.