North Korea's Nuclear Powerplay is Fault of the West [BLOG]

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By Lucy P | February 14, 2013 4:40 AM EST

North Korea launches its third nuclear missile test

Anyone with any sense would like to see the world disarmed of nuclear weapons and while the nuclear tests in North Korea have rightly been condemned, the nuclear genie is now out of the bottle and isn't going away. 

As anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past decade will know it is obvious why countries like North Korea might want a bomb of its own after seeing the fate of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi and coming to the conclusion that the West's enemies should get themselves a nuclear weapon programme pronto.

North Korea's nuclear weapons test has shaken a few feathers at the United Nations with major countries lining up to condemn the communist state including the US (nuclear arsenal approx 10,500 weapons) who was first up stating that North Korea "'posed a threat to US and international security" and called for "further swift and credible action by the international community".

Also quick to condemn was Great Britain (nuclear arsenal approx 200 weapons) warning North Korea that it faced further isolation if it did not stop developing its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, and Russia (nuclear arsenal approx 14,000 weapons) describing it as "an affront to the community of nations".

France (nuclear arsenal approx 300 weapons) said: "North Korea's development of its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities poses a threat to international and regional security." Even the North's ally, China, (nuclear arsenal approx 241 weapons) told Pyongyang: "[We] strongly urge North Korea to abide by its promise to denuclearise."

Pots and kettles come to mind as the nuclear powers line up to tell North Korea they can't have what they already possess in the thousands. While nobody wants to think about a belligerent North Korea with a nuclear capability, the idea of any country having nuclear weapons in its arsenal, including Britain, is a worrisome thought.

Odds of attack remote

Short of revenge, it is hard to think of a reason why we keep on pumping billions into keeping our nuclear arsenal while the odds of us being attacked by one of the other six nuclear powers is remote in the extreme.

While it is true that we don't know what the future brings, it is also true that while we are making people redundant and closing public services, it seems folly to pay out billions for something just in case an unlikely event occurs at some unspecified time in the future.

Our Trident nuclear programme is estimated to cost £75bn but in these days where the biggest threat comes from men armed with hand-held weapons and backpacks full of explosives, it seems a very indulgent and expensive piece of weaponry.

The only possible justification anyone could making for remaining a nuclear power is the deterrent factor but that argument left the building a long time ago when the Soviet Union ceased to exist and terrorist cells, infuriatingly unbowed by our big, shiny nuclear missiles, became the focus.

Nuclear America, Britain, Israel, Pakistan and India have all been recent victims of these cells so being the owner of the ultimate weapons of mass destruction is meaningless unless you are willing to take out half the country the terrorists are in at the same time.

Fact is we don't need Trident and the chances of us ever using it are negligible so it seems the height of indulgence to keep bankrolling it while everything else is spinning down the drain through lack of funding.

Concreting over the silos

My guess would be that if David Cameron went to the country and asked if we would prefer he spend the £75bn to keep our nuclear deterrent or to spend £75bn building hospitals or schools he would be calling in the contractors to concrete over the silos by the weekend.

Military power, and especially the nuclear threat, is what has saved North Korea from the recent trend of forcing democracy on countries whether they want it or not. That and the wild card, China.

As much as I hate the idea of the North Koreans having nuclear weapons, it is the tried and trusted way of keeping Western powers from invading your country. Judging by what we have been up to since the turn of the millennium, can you really blame them?

Lucy P writes commentary on news, politics and media on her blog Falling on a Bruise

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