The real alternative: What the government's Trident alternatives review isn't telling you | Treaty On The Non Proliferation Of Nuclear Weapons | Nuclear Weapons

Report from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (United Kingdom, 15 July 2013).
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  Post-nuclear security for the 21st century Published by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, June 2013 Real Alternative THE What the government'sTrident Alternatives Review isn’t telling you  Summary n  The question of whether or not to replace the Trident nuclear weapon system is of greatsecurity and economic importance. Therefore, ahead of the parliamentary vote in 2016,the full range of options must be explored. n  The decision must be taken on the basis of what will most contribute to the security of theBritish people, with a clear understanding of the security challenges of the 21st century. n Omission of the ‘non-replacement’ option – the scrapping of Trident and thecancelling of its replacement – from both the Strategic Defence and Security Review (2010) and the Trident Alternatives Review (2013) is an ‘abdication of responsibility’by the British Government. n Non-replacement is a credible option, which offers serious strategic and economicbenefits, including:ãimproved national security – through budgetary flexibility in the Ministry of Defenceand a more effective response to emerging security challenges in the 21st century ãimproved global security – through a strengthening of the non-proliferation regime,deterring of nuclear proliferation and de-escalation of international tensionsã vast economic savings – of more than £100 billion over the lifetime of a successornuclear weapons system, releasing resources for effective security spending, as well as arange of public spending prioritiesãadherence to legal obligations including responsibilities as a signatory to the nuclearNon-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)ãmoral and diplomatic leadership in global multilateral disarmament initiatives such as aglobal nuclear abolition treaty and the UN’s proposed Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone in the Middle East THE REAL ALTERNATIVE 1 The Real Alternative: What the government’s Trident AlternativesReview isn’t telling you . Post-nuclear security for the 21st century.  2 Introduction  A SBritain moves towards the 2016 decision-point on whether or not to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system, it is absolutely vital that the option of non-replacement is fully explored. Taking a ‘yes’ decision will mean Britain remains anuclear-armed state - at huge public expense – for at least another half century. Such adecision would have huge consequences, in terms of our economy, our security, our legalobligations and our moral responsibility. To ensure that the 2016 decision best meets Britain’sneeds, parliamentarians must be presented with the full range of information available. To review the future of our nuclear weapons system without considering non-replacementis an abdication of responsibility by government, whose chief role is to ensure the security of the British people. The failure of the Trident Alternatives Review to include the non-nuclear option – the option of scrapping Trident and cancelling its replacement – renders itinadequate to address the security challenges that Britain – and the world – faces in thetwenty-first century. The decision on whether or not to replace Britain’s nuclear weapons system must be takenon the basis of what will most contribute to the security of the British people. A decisionnot to replace Trident will best meet that requirement. It will strengthen the internationaldisarmament and non-proliferation regime by ensuring Britain’s compliance with itsinternational treaty obligations; it will deter nuclear proliferation and de-escalate currentglobal and regional tensions; and it will release significant financial resources to meet arange of public spending priorities, including meeting the new security challenges of thetwenty-first century. A decision not to replace Trident must be taken in tandem withgovernment initiatives towards its stated goal of multilateral disarmament: backing a globalnuclear abolition treaty, actively working towards a Middle East WMD-Free Zone andsupporting the work of the International Red Cross and others on the humanitarianconsequences of nuclear weapons use. Why we don’t need it: for our security Britain’s greatest current security threat is generally accepted to be terrorism, perpetrated by non-state actors. It is widely agreed that nuclear weapons are no use against such threats,and this point was certainly made by the Prime Minister who oversaw the pro-Tridentreplacement White Paper in 2006, Tony Blair, who stated in October 2005: ‘I do not think that anyone pretends that the independent nuclear deterrent is a defence against terrorism.’ 1 However, Blair also made it clear that he believed that Britain should maintain its‘independent nuclear deterrent’. Subsequent reading of Tony Blair’s autobiography indicates that the former Prime Minister was more equivocal about the case for Tridentthan he publicly stated, but that he was ultimately convinced by the status that he feltnuclear weapons endowed. Others such as Dr John Reid, on opening the public debate onthe matter in September 2005, appeared to suggest that Britain needed to replace Trident incase we face a nuclear enemy in the future. In fact these two positions remain the chief arguments articulated in favour of Trident and its replacement – that without them ourglobal standing would be downgraded and that we need them ‘just in case’. Such thinking 
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