British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has a dilemma. His party is split on the issue of nuclear modernization of their Trident submarine fleet with several Labor MPs threatening to resign if Corbyn ditches Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Others, like Corbyn, are anti-nuke.
To resolve the issue, Corbyn is proposing that the subs continue to patrol the oceans — but without nuclear weapons. This nutty idea would soften the blow to communities dependent on defense spending but do absolutely nothing to maintain Great Britain’s deterrence.
Asked, in that case, what was the point of having at least one submarine on constant patrol, he said: “They don’t have to have warheads on them.”
He added: “If anyone uses a nuclear weapon it is catastrophic for the whole globe… There are options there.”
Mr Corbyn said Ms Thornberry’s review was “very interesting” and hoped there would be a “mature debate” about the way “we protect ourselves against insecurity and bring about a more secure world”.
Since 1969, according to government documents, a British submarine carrying nuclear weapons has always been on patrol, gliding silently beneath the waves, somewhere in the world’s oceans.
The logic is to deter a nuclear attack on the UK because, even if the nation’s conventional defence capabilities were destroyed, the silent submarine would still be able to launch a catastrophic retaliatory strike on the aggressor, a concept known as mutually assured destruction.
The submarines carry up to 16 Trident missiles, each can be fitted with a number of warheads, which can be directed at up to 12 different targets.
Union leaders have warned that scrapping Trident could devastate communities reliant on the defence industry and Mr Corbyn said he recognised the need to retain “amazing skills and technology”.
“The first priority has to be to protect those jobs and re-direct investment into those yards, factories and companies that would be making that material and systems to go with Trident so their jobs are protected.”
Ms Thornberry said the idea of submarines equipped with conventional ballistic missiles, but with the potential to have a nuclear capability, was a posture adopted by Japan.
She told Sunday Politics that it was “certainly one option that is available to us and one thing that needs to be looked at”.
But John Woodcock, the MP for Barrow in Furness – where the Vanguard fleet was built – said the idea was “implausible”.
“Having a deterrent that has no capacity to deter is like having an army with broken rifles and no ammunition,” he said.
If you’re befuddled by Corbyn’s idea of nuclear deterrence without the nukes, don’t be. It’s not your fault. Your problem is, you don’t think like a socialist.
Corbyn’s “first priority” is to protect union jobs — despite the fact that his idea would mean those jobs would disappear in a mushroom-shaped cloud in an instant. What’s good for national security is meaningless to the socialist because it’s more important to create a “safe” world. That’s done by dismantling your defenses. Socialists believe that if you’re not a threat to anyone, all other countries will be nice enough not to attack you.
Corbyn’s ascension to the head of Labor guarantees Conservative rule far into the future.