Opinion: National Security is a Government’s First Priority
Jason Johnson considers why defence is such an important consideration in the General Election. Submit your opinion article here.
The first and primary role of any government of any colour is defence and national security. To keep your population and its national borders secure and safe.
So can the Labour party, in its current form, be trusted to do this? What does defence mean? How does the UK defend itself? Would Jeremy Corbyn defend this country in a time of need?
Firstly a complicated matter to discuss and debate, but in order to start I would say the following which is from Sun Tzu “Art Of War” who was a Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher around 500BC:
“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”
He also says “All warfare is based on deception.”
Whilst the above comes from a Chinese General who lived before Christ would seem irrelevant, however, simply read the words. Our own history is littered with instances of when an aggressor attacks this country or that of an allied country, Great Britain did not start either world wars but was dragged into them, they didn’t invade Korea nor did they invade the Falkland Islands our Middle East wars in Afghanistan and the first Gulf war can be debated but must be seen in the light of the New York attack in 9/11 and the London bombings in 2005 .
Much has been debated over the current Governments decision to re-knew our Trident Nuclear deterrent, but this decision in the House of Commons received cross party support and was adopted. The first job of an in coming prime minister is to write to the commanders of our Nuclear armed Submarines informing them of the Prime Ministers authorization in the face of the UK being attacked by aggressors.
The Labour Party MPs in the majority supported the renewal of Trident, the UK has had a Nuclear deterrent since 1962 when America sold us the Polaris C5 weapons. Our deterrent has ever been sea based with the capability of striking an enemy from anyway on planet. Thus making impossible or at least improbable that our country would be subjected to a pre-emptive strike to destroy our deterrent before it could be used. The location of our submarine force has been the preserve of the submarine commander to again ensure our deterrent cannot be attacked at sea.
So lets review Sun Tzu words of “wisdom” and based on these words and those of the would be Prime Minster Mr Corbyn “ I would not use Nuclear weapons” now put yourself in the shoes of a would be enemy who may possess such weapons even basic ones. The word deterrent no longer exists and as such no need worry. We are not ready for our enemy nor are we offering any deception.
There are 8 Nuclear armed nations in the world 3 are in NATO, America, Britain and France, the rest are India, Pakistan, China, Russia, North Korea and Israel. Whilst Corbyn says no one else has them, the truth is the West has worked hard to limit the proliferation of such weapons, most successfully in Iran. So what happens when a future Prime Minster and his Government though an election campaign cannot agree on whether the basis of our Nuclear deterrent will remain, our Armed forces are already very small as is our Navy and Air Force, with a chronic recruitment shortage our national defences would be inadequate. In today’s age and without conscription you cannot increase our numbers of fighting personnel, once you have you have to train them, cloth them, arm them and pay them, when they leave you still have pension contributions, if they die or are injured in service you have obligations to them, and at all times they must be treated with the utmost respect and dignity that goes hand hand with risking their lives for ours. This time though without the ultimate weapon of defence.
When NATO was first created it had as part of its aim to serve three purposes:
- Deterring Soviet expansionism
- Forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent
- Encouraging European political integration
During NATO’s early years its threat to would be enemies was “Massive Retaliation” meaning any attack on a NATO member would be met by Nuclear retaliation, maybe not the pleasing of thoughts to either side, but with Europe still rebuilding from World War II and the Soviet Union growing in power the threat worked, in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis “Massive Response” was replaced by “Flexible Response” allowing for more conventional methods of response including diplomacy.
Jeremy Corbyn, so far, since being elected Leader of the Labour Party is to say repeatedly that he would not use Nuclear weapons, he has struggled to say when in any recent history of the last 100 years which conflicts he would have committed British troops to, eventually saying maybe WW2, Emily Thornberry the Shadow Foreign Secretary on Friday 19th May on LBC radio said that Trident would be subject to a defense review once Labour took power only to be contradicted by Nia Griffith the Shadow Defense Secretary that the issue was settled and Trident was agreed. It appears little is agreed and settled.
We live in a world today more unstable than at anytime since the end of WW2, in world where some of our enemies main aim is to die for their cause, something that as a nation and civilization we have not faced before. We have potential foes seeking to acquire Nuclear Weapon abilities and we have nations where those Nuclear weapons could fall into those of our enemies.
Mr Corbyn has shared platforms with Terrorists, including 14 days after the IRA Brighton Bomb on the Conservative Party Conference nearly Killing our Prime Minister, was to invite former IRA prisoners to the Houses of Parliament, whilst his motives may have been peaceful his judgment is terrible. He and his current closest allies have continually called for the withdrawal of our Nuclear Deterrent, withdrawal from NATO even branding NATO evil.
Judgement in Government is everything, it is never wrong to change your mind or to seek opinions of others, in fact it is a strength in my view, however, Mr Corbyn’s judgement is flawed, his priorities are wrong and he has a long way to go to convince the country that our national security is safe in his hands.