The government published its Trident Alternatives Review earlier today. BASIC has released a short briefing as an immediate response. BASIC will later this year be publishing the results of the Trident Commission, considering the broader issues that form the context of the decision.
BASIC Executive Director, Paul Ingram, has said: “The Review is an important contribution to the public debate in that it presents more information in the public domain than ever on the options and demonstrates healthy divisions at the heart of government.”
However, the review has a number of limitations in its scope and in the assumptions made. It does not address:
i) Non-nuclear options, and the more basic question: should Britain have nuclear weapons in the 21st century?
ii) The evolving nature of the security context for the question of whether nuclear deterrence has relevance, and also therefore one must question whether it can adequately answer the question of what a minimum deterrent could be.
iii) The opportunity costs – the choices foregone and impacts on security because of investments ploughed into nuclear weapons investments.
iv) The international politics surrounding nuclear non-proliferation, and the opportunities Britain has to influence other states and achieve progress under the non-proliferation regime.
Yesterday, BASIC released a report which examined Trident in UK Politics and Public Opinion which determined that the “interdeterminacy of public opinion gives all three main Westminster parties political space to rethink UK nuclear weapons policy after Trident or recommit to current policy.”
BASIC has also recently published a guide to Reading the Trident Alternatives Review.