U.K. nukes to balance North Korea, Pakistan?

U.S. aerospace and defence magazine Aviation Week has succeeded in inventing the world’s most ridiculous justification for Britain’s “independent nuclear deterrent”–which is no easy feat given the quality of the entries in that particular competition over the years.

According to AvWeek‘s Ares blog (“U.K. Trident Renewal: Maintaining West’s Nuclear Parity With China,” Ares, 19 May 2011), British nukes help to balance the “global nuclear power structure” by enabling Britain to serve as the equivalent of North Korea or Pakistan:

The British government yesterday took the first policy decision to modernize its nuclear deterrent and sustain the submarine-based military capability until 2060 by approving the early design activity to replace the Vanguard Class submarines that can fire the Trident II D5 missile….

Given the way the global nuclear power structure is lining up, the move nominally assures NATO maintains parity with China in terms of nuclear powers in their respective spheres of influence, with the U.S., U.K. and France on one side and China, North Korea and Pakistan on the other.

The extent to which there is any direct linkage between the parties is debatable, and there are obvious differences in the quality and quantity of the arsenals, but the alignment does offer a slightly different way to look at the nuclear strategic power balance in the 21st Century.

“Slightly different”–the new way to say “insane”.

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