Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Blair And The American Trident System

Original posting, August 2006 

Here is a possible reason for Blair's attitude towards Bush

The British nuclear deterrent and whether to replace the Trident nuclear force: the British Trident strategic nuclear system consists of Vanguard-class nuclear-powered submarines (twice the size of the Polaris subs they replaced), Trident D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and the nuclear warheads for the missiles. The Vanguard subs will probably come to the end of their operational life between 2020-2025.

The SLBMs can be replaced from an American stockpile. The strategic nuclear deterrent is dependent on American support, even though Britain builds its own nuclear warheads. Trident is an American missile system and the UK 'leases' its missiles from the American stock. The US also supplies highly enriched uranium to fuel the submarines. Various other services and products are also supplied: the storage, assembly and servicing of the missiles; the facilities for the preparation of the Trident missiles; refurbishment during each major refit.

The British nuclear deterrent is hardly an independent one. Bush (in 2004) renewed the (1958) Mutual Defence Agreement which ensures American support to maintain 'a credible deterrent' to 2014.

What did Blair give in return in this mutual agreement? Without Britain's nuclear weapons (as a political weapon) there might be no permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council as it would certainly be challenged and so lose great-power status, or whatever it might still have.