Between the 1980s and the first decade of the twenty-first century, Britain cut its nuclear arsenal by more than half. But now the news comes – for the first time since the Cold War, Britain will expand its stockpile of nuclear weapons.
The decision to expand the nuclear arsenal was announced in a defense investigation published this week. The Economist Reports.
Since the 1980s, when the country had 500 nuclear warheads, various governments have gradually reduced levels of nuclear weapons, as shown in the diagram below.
Most recently in 2015, the Conservative government repeated during the David Cameron A previous goal is to reduce the country’s stockpile to 180 nuclear weapons by the mid-2020s.
This trend must now be reversed – Britain’s arsenal must be expanded to 260 nuclear warheads.
Deterrent with submarines
However, the geopolitical situation has changed. Relations with Russia, above all, have deteriorated to some extent with China
“Some countries are now working to increase and diversify their nuclear arsenals,” the defense investigation said.
The United Kingdom currently uses only nuclear-armed submarines, and has historically used a clear strategy to deter other countries with nuclear weapons.
Put simply, the strategy means that a country is reluctant to attack Britain because it only requires at least one nuclear-armed submarine for the submarine to take retaliatory action.
The lower threshold
At the same time, countries like Russia have changed their nuclear doctrine. Among other things, by developing weapons systems that can transfer both nuclear weapons and conventional weapons.
Moreover, Russia has also lowered the threshold for the stage of conflict in which it is ready to use nuclear weapons, it says Heather Williams, Who researches conflict and security at Kings College London.
This shift meant that Russia sought smaller types of nuclear weapons with a wider range of uses than complete destruction.
If Britain then wanted to carry out a retaliatory attack, the only option would be a large-scale attack on Moscow – which appears disproportionate.
Thus, it is not unreasonable for the United Kingdom to embrace a shift towards nuclear weapons that have a smaller impact in order to calibrate its deterrence strategy.
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