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Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Agenda: Should Cameron scrap the UK's nuclear weapons?

Above you can watch me debating the issue on Press TV’s The Agenda programme, along with Bruce Kent, Vice-President of CND and Neil O’Shea.


Ian said...

God, is this really what Press TV is like? It is like watching some A-level students debating.

Where on earth did the dig up Mr O'Shea. Did they just find him on the street and ask him to come in and defend nuclear weapons. It was perhaps the most pathetic list of excuses imaginable. I think even I could have done a better job that that.

Mr Clarke, I'm not saying you are wrong, I'm just trying to get your view on the matter to better understand it. You said that Russia hasn't used military force in the last 10 years (can't remember your precise wording). How do you view the military activities in Chechnya, or South Ossetia. Is it the fact that they were internal issues that you didn't feel they qualified or is there something else that I am missing? Honestly it is not a dig at you I'm just trying to get a handle on your thoughts.

Czarny Kot said...

If I was more cynical, I would suspect that Neil O’Shea was chosen due to his complete lack of intelligent arguments…

The strongest argument for a nuclear deterrent was actually suggested at unintentionally at the beginning of the programme: Nuclear-armed countries are threatened by terrorism. They are not threatened by full-scale armed attack from another state. Why not? Perhaps because they possess a nuclear deterrent?

Israel today often finds itself under attack from terrorists / guerrillas (take your pick). In the past, Israel often found itself under attack from neighbouring countries, something which is an extremely remote possibility these days. What has brought about this change? A nuclear deterrent perhaps? Given Israel’s history, it could be considered a gross dereliction of duty on behalf of the government if they did not maintain a nuclear arsenal.

India and Pakistan used to hate each other and fought several wars. Now they hate each other but the violence has been reduced to terrorist attacks and border skirmishes. Why? A nuclear deterrent, perhaps?

The only example I can think of when a nuclear-armed country has been attacked by a country without nuclear weapons was when Georgia attacked Russia but that was a minor border squabble in the grand scheme of things.

Looking at the issue from this point of view we can say that it would be a very good idea for Iran to get itself some nuclear weapons. Were it to do so, it would not mean nuclear apocaplypse in the Middle East. Rather, it would act as a safeguard against an attack on Iran, just as American, British, French, Israeli and Russian nuclear weapons act as a safeguard aginst attacks on their respective countries.

The idea that more nukes increases the chances of world peace is counter-intuitive to say the least. There are strong counter arguments—accidental launches and nuclear-armed countries becoming failed states to name just two (if nuclear armaggedon does happen any time soon, I think it will come from an anarchic Pakistan rather than from Iran).

Much more intelligent and better-paid people than me have the responsibility of weighing up all these arguments and making a decision. Good luck to them.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Ian: On Press TV you get a wider range of opinions that you usually get on the BBC's flagship programme Question Time, when the idea of 'balance' is to have one hard-core neo-con (eg David Frum or Perle or Melanie P) with a pro-war New Labour politico, a pro-war Tory and an establishment, pro-war Lib Dem like Paddy Ashdown.

Re: Russia. It hasn't invaded any country in the last 20 years. It was the western-backed govt of Georgia which launched an aggressively military action against S.Ossetia in the summer of 2008.

Czarny Kot: Interesting that Israel, which has nuclear weapons is one of the countries that is shouting most loudly that Iran shld NOT be allowed to have nuclear weapons. But what gives Israel the right to have nukes, but not Iran? (not that there is any evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, or that they have said that they wish to have them).

I agree with you that if Iran did have nukes, it would not mean apocalypse in the ME, but would actually enhance the chances of peace in the region. The idea that a nuclear-armed Iran would launch a first strike on Israel, knowing that to do so wld mean the destruction of Iran, is totally absurd. While having nukes would prevent Iran being attacked by Israel, US and Britain.
Think back to 2003: Iraq was attacked not because it possessed WMD, but because it didnt.
The aggressive actions of US, Britain and Israel are actually an incentive for countries which don't kowtow to the west to develop nuclear weapons.

Where I don't agree with you though is the idea that the UK needs nukes. Who is threatening us with a full-scale military attack?
If we scrapped our nukes, we wouldn't be able to pursue such an aggressive foreign policy and that would surely be a good thing.

Ian said...

Neil: I didn't suggest you don't get a range of opinions on Press TV and I think you are being a little naughty by suggesting I did.

What I said was the level of debate was exceptionally poor.

When you are looking for someone to debate nuclear proliferation, I'm not sure my first port of call would be to a press photographer/ VW Polo salesman (
It does strike me as deliberately underselling the debate. Perhaps other news outlets also do this, but I don't think I have ever seen such a blatant example of it. Even Fox News has the ability to put a well-regarded liberal stooge in during their baiting sessions.

Just because an entity is an alternative to something you dislike, doesn't necessarily make that entity good.

Thanks for expanding on South Ossetia. Though with Chechnya do you view that as clamp down on terrorists?
I couldn't really tell if you were implying that Russia and China are some sort of neutral power (in comparison to the US, they probably are) or if I was missing something.

Czarny Kot: As ever you are pretty much expressing my thoughts, but in a much more eloquent and rounded manner, so thank you.

Douglas said...

I say, you're making the Grand Tour of Evil Nation Media. What's next? North Korea? Zimbabwe?

jack said...

@Neil Clark

The thing forgotten about the Georgia conflict is that months prior to the war EU countries were selling mass amounts of weapons at cut prises to the Georgian government, that MPRI forces where training Georgian soldiers in sabotage techniques, that Russian intelligence uncovered Georgian intelligence trying to recruit an Ingush terrorist cell and Georgians within the Russian military and before Russia sent troops about 10-12 hours after the initial assault because US and Britain vetoed an emergency security council meeting by Russia calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Anyway the Georgia-Russia war was not about Georgia itself which was just being used as a proxy for EU/US to get a foothold in the North Caucasus.


I won’t be able to clearly lay it out in the comment section leaving out lots of info but what we are told about the conflict in Chechnya is completely at odds with reality and is interlinked with US/NATO foreign policy in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Missile Shield, continued NATO expansion Eastwards and understanding 9/11 and the war on terror.

From its inception the war in Chechnya has been a proxy war with British lead interests to secure Caspian oil and energy market with assets in the Russian government, installed Oligarchs and former Soviet intelligence officers creating international terrorist/organised crime links that travel through the Balkans, Turkey and the Afghan Opium trade from Afghanistan through the North Caucasus and Central Asia.

In 93 MI6 and BP where involved in the coup in Azerbaijan securing a British lead oil consortium in Azerbaijan of various foreign oil companies.

In 97 the new regime under the direction of Chechnya’s foreign intelligence chief and mafia boss via contacts with a British/Polish businessman arranged a state meeting with the new government in London where they established in April 1997 a Caucasian investment fund, in Washington registered as the Caucasus-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry promising to invest 3 billion dollars in the Chechen oil industry establishment of British front NGO’s in the Republic.

Americans nearly got in a fight with the Russians over Pristine airport in 99 when terrorists where being brought into the region including Chechens who established contacts with the KLA in 97 with warlord buying up real estate in the region.

Despite the lies and propaganda Islamic terrorist started to arrive into the Caucasus in 91 with western intelligence Saudis’ and Turkey creating crime networks from Chechen mafia gangs operating in Moscow and St Petersburg that supported the Dudayev regime in exchange for operating freely and given a safe haven in the Republic at expense of billions of dollars.

What the media does not tell you that under the Taliban regime Chechens established 3 camps in Afghanistan with the main one in Khost which Clinton bombed in 98, one in Turkey as well as in Chechnya and the neighbouring Republic of Azerbaijan.

brian said...

ifr Iran cant have NUKES and if north korea is embargoed for having nukes, why are regimes like UK or US or israel allowed to have them?

Neil Clark said...

Brian: Yes, the double standards on nuclear weapons and who is allowed/not allowed to have them are glaring.

Jack: good post on Georgia and Chechnya.

Ian said...

Jack: Thank you for the run down on Checnya. It is really helpful to get a view on it. I have nothing to judge it on as my knowledge of the conflict is pretty sparse. So thanks for outlining it for me.