Once Upon A Time…
When I was a little kid, my bed seemed huge. Having such an immense space all to myself was luxurious (even though I hated actual sleep), I remember I spent a lot of time on that bed, reading, drawing, learning to play instruments, it was my space and it was huge.
As I grow older, my bed doesn’t seem as big, not in a physical size way, but in a spiritual place of comfort and safety way. In some small weird comparison, beds are like the planet we live on. Physically our planet is pretty damned big (that’s the reason we have Chinese Takeaways), but as I get older the world gets smaller, physical distance means less and the differences that I used to think existed between people and places becomes less. As I learn more about the basic fundamental things that I require to be content as a person, I see that those basics are true the world over. Sure, the customs and costumes may change, but each member of the human race has the same core needs to be content.
While money can’t buy happiness, it can do a lot of good. In 2013 the United Nations estimated that it would cost 30 Billion Dollars to feed the entire world for a year, that is every man, woman, and child never being hungry for a whole 365 days. Converting to the Great British Pound, feeding the entire world for a year would cost just under £20 billion. Sounds expensive right?
So based on the 2013 estimate, £100 billion would feed the world for 5 years, that’s every person, everywhere for 1,825 days (and you get change too!). Expensive if you’re a cleaner from Dagenham, or a teacher from Epson, or even a lottery winner from Crewe, however if you’re a country, or a group of countries, this figure is peanuts.
In A Land Far Far Away, and Next Door…
And here is where I get confused when I think about my huge bed and it’s comparison of the world. I never knowingly did harm to my bed, likewise I’m not in a particular mindset to trash the planet either. I’m pretty sure there is a general consensus that people around the world, in countries you can’t even pronounce, in the streets near where you live, a consensus that people shouldn’t be without the basic human need of food. Yet for such a globally insignificant figure, poverty and hunger is still rampant. Our beds are tainted by children going to bed without a meal, families in the third world countries that don’t even know the concept of a meal. Suddenly, my place of luxury, of creativity and of happiness is turned into a place of shame, of selfishness, of other peoples suffering.
Considering that the UK Government is pushing to spend £100 Billion (5 years food for everyone remember!) on replacing the Trident Nuclear system, I can only shake my head in shame that I come from such a misguided, selfish nation. I have always been opposed to the ownership of Nuclear weapons, mainly based on the principle that they serve no positive purpose, and with a belief that having such wickedly violent capabilities, that they would never be used, hence the term ‘Nuclear Deterrent’.
Enter The Villain…
So imagine my dismay recently when David Cameron explained how he would use Nuclear weapons against another country. In an interview with Andrew Marr on the BBC (4th October) he stated:
If you … believe like me that Britain should keep the ultimate insurance policy of an independent nuclear deterrent, you have to accept there are circumstances in which its use would be justified
There are a few subtle problems with his approach, I shall try and explain what they are. This could get a bit confusing.
Firstly, the assumption that by having Nuclear weapons, another country with Nuclear weapons will be deterred from using them. This is preposterous, any country that has sought to acquire weapons of mass destruction and actually uses them are not really going to think twice about the consequences. Consequences are in the realm of the rational. So here we have the justification for actually having the weapons capability, based on the assumption that all nukes are owned by sensible people. Sensible people won’t use WMDs therefore a deterrent is not needed.
Secondly, ‘the deterrent’, is the reason that nations strive to acquire their own ‘deterrent’. Simply by having these bad boys, we are forcing others to join the ranks of the Nuclear crew so that they cannot be strongarmed, threatened or bullied by a nation that already has them. What we have here is a circular problem that will never be fixed by having these weapons.
Finally, there is no ‘circumstance in which their use could be justified’. This is pretty obvious, seeing as we have them as a deterrent, a deterrent is supposed to stop the abominable beastly people from using them in the first place. Either you press the button first – which would mean you are in the wrong, or you press it in retaliation – in either case it wasn’t a deterrent.
Future To The Back…
In case you are unaware, two atomic bombs (nuclear) were dropped in World War 2. By the US, against the Japanese. Those bombs killed at least 130,000 people, and still has negative ramifications today, 70 years on. This is the only occurrence of the use of Nuclear weapons during warfare. Of course technology has come on somewhat since those dark days, the nuclear weapons of today (the ones that we have) are about 80 times more powerful than their originators, more capable of inflicting immensely greater carnage.
If a crazy dictator actually attacked the UK with Nukes, like for like retaliation would just be futile. Sure we could inflict some damage on the aggressor, but we wouldn’t be around to see it, such is the devastating power of these weapons.
And They All Live Happily Ever After…
So the summary is pretty straightforward on this topic. Feed people, don’t obliterate them. Simple. Let us not be known as the nation with the strongest arsenal of WMDs, rather the nation that chose to feed humanity for 5 years.