One of the key corner stones of our defence policy during the cold war was the fact that despite political reteric and propaganda the enemy loved their children too. They all believed in the philosophy of MAD and wanting to live and keep their children alive they kept the covers over the buttons for the nukes. It kept us alive during the cold war despite the many times things went close to the edge.
The only problem is that a nuclear deterent is a very expensive toy to have as our government is finding out. The want the toy because of the power it gives having a nuclear option, ask anyone, including North Korea, what benefits having a nuclear option is and if you are still uncertain ask anyone, Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad, Amadinnerjacket, those that are still alive anyway, what not having a nuclear option does to you. So what we do is keep the nuclear option but vastly reduce the warheads to something affordable. Look at the number of published warheads we have for our four Trident SSBNs. Our boats are much smaller than our cousins in the US Ohio Class Tridents, we then reduce the firepower more by replacing warheads with concrete ballast. The main impact about that is that it makes the punch back, the mutual destruction bit less likely as we don’t have the capability to deliver the required megatonnage of damage. We are therefore relying on the US to pick up the slack. That is OK while we were their close ally but less so when we have no special relationship. Now we could be attacked and if no US forces are threatened directly why would the Yanks pull out the stops and risk an attack on themselves for us, and I wouldn’t blame them. This means a nuclear war not involving the US can now be considered survivable by our enemies. Certainly against us and as we are basically looking at a three way fight, where the US, Russia and China are the players, with us being a minor player on the side of the US. We have reduced the total load that our side of the fence can deliver. This leaves the other sides with a view that as the US is also reducing its warheads in line with international treaties soon it will be clear that a nuclear way is survivable and thus the nuclear option is viable across all the countries.
Add to this the fact that many Russian and Chinese targets are out of in the country and the West’s targets are all near town and cities MAD is no longer true. Our civilans are wiped out while our weapons destroy military infrastructure only leaving their civilians alive.
Regardless of the impact to the rest of the world we have know for some time that five average warheads could blanket our country in nuclear fire. Will there only be five incoming then? Doubtful as they can’t be certain of delivery. Will they will also target more sites? Very Likely. Who doesn’t want to nuke Kirkcaldy for voting in Gordon Brown? Unlike us by the looks of things the other sides are looking to win and destroy their enemy. We don’t seem to want to hurt anyone. We have become weak and this makes us a viable target. The rich kid who is a seven stone weakling and fighting out of their depth.
So, if our enemies can see a nuclear war is survivable this makes it much more likely that they will push the button and the more countries with nukes the more likely that someone will smack someone down. The more recent members of the nuke club don’t even care about their kids as long as the Great Satan, and its bum chum, the UK, are hurting.
I’m preparing for one. Not my most likely scenario but certain one on my list.