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The Future of Britain's Nuclear Weapons: Experts Reframe the Debate

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Edited by Professor Ken Booth and Dr. Frank Barnaby
1 March 2006

This report, published in the week of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee Inquiry into the future of British nuclear weapons, provides a platform for pairs of public figures with long experience and specialist knowledge in their respective fields, to set out their contrasting positions on the key aspects involved in the Trident replacement decision. Their various prescriptions for ensuring a more secure future for Britain are analysed and evaluated in a concluding chapter by Professor Ken Booth, who invites readers to judge for themselves which arguments have value and which prescription they find most convincing.

The report points to the need to reframe the debate in the post 9/11 global security environment, and move it resolutely beyond outdated and polarised Cold War thinking. The decision about the future of Trident will certainly be one of the most - if not the most - significant decision to be taken about British security in this parliament. It will affect the future o the NPT, the nature of the 'special relationship' with the United States, Britain's image in the UN, its relations with the rest of Europe, and the future global security environment. This report invites all who are interested in the future of Britain's nuclear weapons policy to join the debate, which has just begun.


Dr. John Sloboda

Introduction: What is "Trident"? The facts and figures of Britain's nuclear forces
Dr. Frank Barnaby

Is there a sound political rationale for the UK retaining its nuclear weapons?
Yes: Dr. Liam Fox MP No: Dr. Caroline Lucas MEP

Are there realistic security and military rationales for the UK retaining its nuclear weapons?
Yes: Admiral Sir Raymond Lygo No: General Sir Hugh Beach

Is Britain's continued possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons illegal?
Yes: Professor Nick Grief No: Dr. Steven Haines

Should the decision on Trident replacement be a subject of public and parliamentary debate?
Yes: Rt. Hon. Clare Short MP No: Commodore Tim Hare

Can the retention of British nuclear weapons be justified ethically in today's world?
Yes: Dr. Julian Lewis MP No: Dr. Mary Midgley

Conclusion: Debating the future of Trident: Who are the real realists?
Professor Ken Booth


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