50 years on
This weekend, 27th October 2012, is 50 years on from the Cuban missile crisis.
Arguably the closest the world has come to the Mutually Assured Destruction of a nuclear war.
To my generation the thought of a nuclear war seems mad. It seems unimaginable, a relic of history. I never lived through the events my parents did. I never felt the fear that their generation did. While, I'm interested, and somewhat well informed on the subject. I'm in many ways atypical.
Yet, while the world has moved on, progressed. Nuclear weapons are still reality. Britain still has Trident II D5 missiles, stationed on board Vanguard class SSBNs (submarines). Right now there is probably 16 missiles somewhere in the Atlantic, each with up to 14 warheads.
With tensions between the west and Iran growing. Is the ignorance of my generation acceptable? I suspect not, my generation will have to tackle these issues head on in the near future.
Soon a decision over Trident will need to be made. Should we be renewing, extending, decommissioning our nuclear deterrent. This is a massively complex decision. A question to which I don't think there is an easy answer.
I would rule out, renewing Trident. I don't think we should be creating any more nuclear weapons. But I honestly remain undecided as to whether we should decommission Trident.
It would be a bold move by Britain if we decided to decommission Trident. That might be a good thing.
Ultimately it's probably time we had serious international accords to completely disarm all states with nuclear weapons and finally lay to rest the cold war.
How the Iran situation is handled has significant impact of this. I've read about proposals, for an independent international Uranium bank, which could provide fuel for peaceful nuclear projects.Whatever happens, we must ensure that we have an intelligent, well informed discussion over the issues leading to a carefully thought out decision.