A letter to Nick Clegg about expensive weaponry

Dear Nick Clegg

An idea about Trident etc

If we find – as we are finding – that we can no longer afford certain weapon systems, let us remember we are not alone in this predicament so let us make something of the fact. Let us treat it as a disarmament opportunity.

Last year, the world spent some trillion and a half [US] dollars on arms – 2.7% of world GDP. The Americans spent $669 billion, equalling $2,155 per head and 43% of global expenditure. These American figures will show an increase this year; and they do not cover the costs of the two (unwinnable) wars. Nor do they cover every defence-related expenditure. [Though, of course this does represent a huge government investment, that is not politically questioned.]

However very little of this expenditure is politically or socially effective for the US in international terms. Indeed, much of the display of military might (US Aircraft Carriers “exercising” in the seas off China) is simply asking for trouble.

There is some useful peace-keeping to be done under UN auspices, but most weaponry is procured as a result of WORST CASE ANALYSIS: “they” might obtain something better than what “we” have. Sometimes it has been procured in the course of a search for Full Spectrum Military Dominance – Land, Sea, Air, and Space – explicitly thus, with the George Bush-Dick Cheney Pentagon. The Cyber threat has now joined the other visible and imaginable threats.

The pursuit of safety through missile defences is yet another example of the successful activities of the Military-Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower warned his compatriots against. [We are already taking part in the US Missile Defence System, through the US bases at Fylingdales and Menwith Hill.]

[Let us watch out for the effect on Israel’s thinking about Iran’s nuclear “targets” when its US-funded “Iron Dome” etc. anti-missile systems are declared completed later this year: in practice, missile “defences” form part of an “offensive” strategy, and the Israeli top brass regard them as “enabling” to their strategic forces.]

SO: if we are in effect “disarming” for economic reasons, let us do it along with others, for rational and beneficial reasons. Let us invite them to join us, in BEST CASE ANALYSIS, in reducing their armaments as we reduce ours.

Yours very sincerely

Elizabeth Kennet

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