Illusory Independence: US Controls British Nuclear Arsenal

Highlighting the advantages of US-British collaboration in the nuclear arms field, British officials remain silent about potential vulnerabilities of the UK's dependency on Washington.

Concerns that a cyberattack could start a nuclear war could be addressed by taking nuclear weapons off of high alert, says a top US military commander, but neither the US nor Russia wants to make that move. - Sputnik International
US Commander: Take Nukes Off High Alert or Risk Hackers Starting a War
The United Kingdom's nuclear weapons Trident program has provoked a lively debate ahead of the British general election, UK journalist Jake Wallis Simons remarked, pointing to the astonishing fact that "the UK does not even own its Trident [nuclear] missiles, but rather leases them from the United States."

Indeed, although Trident is presented as "a purely domestic matter," the point is that British nuclear weapons as well as sophisticated Trident technology are provided directly by Washington or manufactured in accordance with American designs. Furthermore, Britain's nuclear sites are controlled by the US companies Lockheed Martin and Halliburton.

"British [nuclear] subs must regularly visit the US Navy's base at King's Bay, Georgia, for maintenance or re-arming. And since Britain has no test site of its own, it tries out its weapons under US supervision at Cape Canaveral, off the Florida coast," the journalist narrated.

Washington and NATO are not seeking confrontation with Russia, but will not compromise on international principles vital for European and US security, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman said - Sputnik International
The Pentagon's 'Long War' Pits NATO Against China, Russia and Iran
While the British government insists that the UK's Trident submarines are "operationally independent," since they are taking commands only from the British Prime Minister, the UK's nuclear independence looks rather illusory.

"As a policy statement, it's ludicrous to say that the US can effectively donate a nuclear program to the UK but have no influence on how it is used," Ted Seay, senior policy consultant at the London-based British American Security Information Council (BASIC) emphasized, as quoted by the journalist.

According to Mr. Seay, it would also be "unthinkable" for Britain to launch a unilateral attack against its potential rivals "outside of NATO."

"To say that you could launch a unilateral attack over the heads of NATO and Washington might be theoretically true, but practically speaking it's rubbish," he added, as cited by Jake Wallis Simons.

The journalist also cited the report released by Parliament's Select Committee on Defense in 2006, as stating that the United States if displeased could "cut off the technical support" for the UK's Trident program.

Satirized painting of the Statue of Liberty painted on the wall of the former U.S. Embassy, in Tehran, Iran - Sputnik International
Nobody Likes a Bully: Military Campaigns Turn US Into 'Most Feared' Nation
Moreover, according to the report, the United States is theoretically able to deny access to GPS, weather and gravitational data, preventing the UK's Trident system from launching an attack without Washington's approval. 

It begs the question what would happen if US-British relations suddenly deteriorated, the journalist noted. However, British policy-makers avoid shedding light on the UK's dependence on the United States, and dismiss the possibility of breaking off relations between London and Washington as nonsense.

"The UK has invested countless billions in its nuclear deterrent, most of it funneled into American coffers. So it is natural that officials emphasize the threat — a possible nuclear holocaust — while downplaying the vulnerabilities of a strategy that puts all Britain's eggs in Uncle Sam's basket," Jake Wallis Simons underscored.

Atmospheric nuclear test - Sputnik International
US Media Fears Ukrainian Crisis May Lead to Nuclear War
Citing Labour leader Ed Miliband, the journalist argues that the United Kingdom needs more breathing space and more independence. 

Meanwhile, London continues to soothe itself by the idea that Trident provides the UK with "a seat at the top table" as a nuclear power and ensures the country's security. However, it still turns a deaf ear to the warnings that "the Special Relationship" between Britain and the US could be less reliable than the prospect of global nuclear confrontation. 

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала