decision-making

Report: Meaningful Multilateralism: 30 Nuclear Disarmament Proposals for the Next UK Government

The need for nuclear disarmament through multilateral diplomacy is greater now than it has been at any stage since the end of the Cold War. Trust and confidence in the existing nuclear non-proliferation regime is fraying, tensions are high, goals are misaligned, and dialogue is irregular. 

In Meaningful Multilateralism, BASIC and UNA–UK offer 30 multilateral disarmament proposals for the incoming UK Government after the General Election on the 8th June, themed according to three types of leadership the UK has previously shown in disarmament:

Opportunities for effective strategic dialogue: bridging the nuclear deterrence and disarmament constituencies

In times when evidence-based policy making approaches are under assault, along with the international consensus on nuclear non-proliferation, communities that devote themselves to managing the dangers of strategic competition and nuclear arms racing need to come together to consider ways to realise their common objectives.

Clarifying Command on US Nuclear Weapons

Here’s a terrifying prospect: President Donald Trump with his finger on the nuclear button. This erratic narcissist with little knowledge of the world and, according to his former ghost writer, an attention span of five minutes, with the power to set off a nuclear war.  This seems unlikely to come about now, with Trump trailing in the polls, but the election is some way off and it cannot be ruled out.

The outcome of the Trident vote will not be the last word

Parliament has today voted in favour of the government's plans to replace the four Vanguard class submarines with Successor submarines, based upon continuous submarine patrolling. This vote may have provided the country's new Prime Minister Theresa May a quick and immediate opportunity to demonstrate business as usual, a new government keen to get things done post Brexit. But it will not close down the issue, for these reasons:

The UK and its Role in the World

Union Jack at UN

The fifth of BASIC's 2016 Parliamentary Briefing series relating to the Trident debate focuses on the UK's role in multilateral nuclear disarmament.

David Cameron announced at the NATO summit in Warsaw on Saturday, “a parliamentary vote [to be held] on July 18 to confirm MP's support for the renewal of four nuclear submarines capable of providing around the clock cover”. Theresa May is expected to follow through with this decision.

A Primer on Trident’s Cyber Vulnerabilities

HMS Westminster

The second of BASIC's 2016 Parliamentary Briefing series relating to the Trident debate is a primer on Trident's cyber vulnerabilities. Cyber threats impact both critical civilian infrastructure and all military systems dependent upon digital control and communications. Trident systems must be seen as a valuable cyber target for adversaries keen to neutralise any nuclear threat against them.  If they can have some confidence of preventing a Trident launch, where does that leave nuclear deterrence? Cyber vulnerability also raises critical questions of strategic stability.

The LRSO: It’s Time for Arms Control

The Pentagon’s plans to acquire a new nuclear air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), known so far as the Long-Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO), remain live. On 16th June, the House of Representatives rejected an amendment to reduce funding for the development of the LRSO. If adopted, the cut would have slowed the development of the new weapon by three years, perhaps buying enough time to reconsider the wisdom behind the programme.

Brexit: Impact on Trident

Flags

The potential fall-out from the UK vote to leave the EU cannot be over-estimated. The political, economic and constitutional implications are deeply uncertain. The market turmoil and the plunge in the value of the pound will translate into massive financial pressures on government spending. The pressures for constitutional referenda in Scotland and Northern Ireland have just strengthened dramatically.

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