Stanley's blog

We face the challenges and effects of globalisation in our daily lives – economic, political, social and cultural. Except, apparently, in defence.

The retention of an independent nuclear capability is central to the defence strategy of both France and the UK. But what does this mean?

Circumstances could perhaps be conceived when France, or even the UK, might not support US nuclear action, but in what circumstances can it be imagined that either France or the UK would use its nuclear capability without the support of Washington? And surely never independent of each other.

Nuclear fall-out knows no geographical limits.

Do the two countries have any more than symbolic independence? Are their respective capabilities effective? How can they be maintained without vast investment in space, at the expense of health, education and other social imperatives?

The answers are obvious: No, no, they cannot. The independent nuclear capability is neither independent or capable, and it’s time we recognised this.

I will return to this theme shortly.

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  1. Nuclear, whether used for killing society or for powering it, can never tolerate multiple, independent actors – the dangers of mis-use are so great that any ‘loose cannonball’ presents an intolerable risk. Thus we see much of the world thumping its chest on the weapons side about what, among many others, Iran might be up to, or Pakistan, or China, or Israel, or North Korea, or, or, or.

    On the power side, politicians seem to take a frightening delight in further empowering the power companies to retain control over centralized power production.

    For centralization of power *must* go along with nuclear power. There is no other way that the problems of regulation, control, fueling, waste management, and safety can be secured. It would take only one ‘innovative’ leader, manager, even employee to cause a potentially system threatening disaster. Even if all actors in a nuclear industry swollen by hundreds more production facilities could be counted on to absolutely always behave to the most rigorous standard, the opportunity to consolidate power in the name of safety and security is too great for political entrepreneurs to ignore.

    Europe’s nuclear weapons are an arm of the US arsenal and makes the EU the hegemon’s poodle. *IF* there is belief in the superiority of democracy, then both nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants will be banned with even greater enthusiasm than are dictators who wage war on the people they control.

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