Sunday, 29 April 2012

Alternative to Trident

Resilience before Revenge

I invite readers of this blog to consider an alternative to replacement of trident. It may be possible to change our strategic direction in such a way as to safely put Britain back on top. As we all know, Trident missiles are housed ready to fire on submarines which swim silently in the oceans, hopefully undetectable so that they cannot be taken out prior to a massive attack against our United Kingdom.

The thought is that against a rational enemy. Massive retaliation should prevent an attack in the first place. We may not always face rational enemies; with nuclear proliferation the chance of miscalculation grows. And yet still, our only option in the event of a nuclear attack is revenge.

We die knowing that as Britain dies, several million citizens overseas of anothers power, will also. This would seem unsatisfactory to many - yet unilateral disarmament doesn't address the strategic reason why we have the revenge weapon system in the first place. Mutually Assured Destruction has a logic to it that seems to have worked over the decades. 

So as an alternative to nuclear disarmament or MAD, how about another direction? Resilience over Revenge achieved through the colonisation of the solar system.

The cost of a space station is thought to be similar to the cost of an interplanetary spaceship which is similar to the cost of a nuclear submarine. We could reduce Britains vulnerability to a nuclear attack by ensuring British society survives in some form in colonies in our solar system.

For comparable cost, the UK could leap frog other space faring nations.

Abandon nuclear submarine program.
Will gain the UK huge political capital in the fight against nuclear proliferation
(move current nuclear deterrent to air launched cruise missiles, so there is at least some MAD option remaining during this transition)

Begin building interplanetary spaceships in orbit. Probably using ESA launchers initially, eventually our own.

Our aim would be to build self sufficient colonies across interplanetary space. 

That first aim would be costly, but so is replacing Trident.


In the future
Britain would should gain benefits from space exploration. With colonies already positioned, exploiting resources of our solar system would put Britain in the lead again. We might consider the dark side of Mercury as a place to mine uranium which is in very short supply despite what the nuclear lobby says or to take a look at asteroids:

One of these asteroids, according to Lewis, would contain 30 million tons of nickel, 1.5 million tons of metal cobalt and 7,500 tons of platinum. The platinum alone would have a value of more than $150 billion!

eventual exploitation of the solar system would more than pay for this program. And we have the money now to push it, since we apparently have the resources to plough into a replacement for Trident.

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