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Defense: London Will Increase The Ceiling Of Its Nuclear Arsenal

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Defense: London Will Increase The Ceiling Of Its Nuclear Arsenal

The British government decided to increase the ceiling of its nuclear arsenal, a first since the fall of the Soviet Union, at the end of its strategic review in matters of security, defense and foreign policy published on Tuesday. This strategic review, the first since the United Kingdom’s complete withdrawal from the European Union, and one of the most important since the Cold War, also establishes Russia as a major threat to the country and demonstrates a desire to focus on the Indo-Pacific region.

One of the main steps in the 100-plus-page report, which is due to be detailed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to MPs, is for the UK to increase from 180 to 260, an increase of around 45%, the maximum ceiling of its stockpile of nuclear warheads, putting an end to the progressive disarmament implemented since the fall of the Soviet Union thirty years ago.

“To be open, we must also be safe”

This change of course, after the commitment made by London in 2010 to reduce it by the mid-decade of 2020, is justified by a “growing range of technological and doctrinal threats”, according to the document. “History has shown that democratic societies are the strongest supporters of an open and resilient international order,” Boris Johnson said in the foreword. To be open, we must also be safe. This requires, according to him, a strengthening of the British nuclear program.

“Because the circumstances and threats change over time, we must maintain a minimum and credible level of deterrence, had justified Tuesday, before the publication of the review, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dominic Raab, interviewed by the BBC. It is the ultimate guarantee, the ultimate insurance policy against the worst threats from hostile states, ”he added. This strategic review in matters of security, defense and foreign policy will determine the government’s line for the coming decade. It comes at a time when London is seeking to reposition itself, since Brexit, as a key power on the international scene, according to the concept of Global Britain.

Russia, “the most acute direct threat”

Reaffirming NATO’s role as “the foundation of collective security” for the Europe-Atlantic area, the document thus presents Vladimir Poutine’s Russia as “the most acute direct threat against the United Kingdom”. He is more nuanced towards China, with which London wishes to deepen its commercial ties, described as a “systemic competitor”. London already maintains strained relations with Moscow and Beijing, after the poisoning on British soil of a former Russian spy and the sharp questioning of Chinese policy in Hong Kong.

British soldiers are also expected to serve “more often and longer” abroad. The document warns of the realistic possibility that a terrorist group “will succeed in launching a CBRN attack [chimique, biologique, radiologique ou nucléaire] by 2030 ”. The possibility of an increase in the British nuclear arsenal has made the ICAN (International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons) jump, saying it “would violate the commitments that (London) made under the treaty of no -nuclear proliferation ”.

“The decision of the United Kingdom to increase its stock of weapons of mass destruction in the middle of a pandemic is irresponsible, dangerous and violates international law”, hammered Beatrice Fihn, the director of this NGO. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) group sees it as a “first step towards a new nuclear arms race and a huge provocation on the world stage”. For its secretary general Kate Hudson, “stoking global tensions and wasting our resources is an irresponsible and potentially disastrous approach”.


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