One of the reasons we started the Talk is Mostly Cheap blog is that we are continually amazed by what doesn’t get discussed in the mainstream media, and we feel strongly that others should be as alarmed as we are by this. What isn’t discussed is as worrying as what is being discussed, and one subject in particular which is being overlooked is the justification for nuclear weapons. In discussing nuclear weapons we are not advocating their proliferation and we do not approve of the whole concept of mass destruction. But Pandora’s Box has truly been opened, so we need to see the situation clearly and understand it as best as we can.

Nuclear weapons and their M.A.D. (mutually assured destruction) policy have been around for a while now; in fact the first test of an atomic bomb happened 72 years ago this month. A few large nations have nuclear weapons and most small nations do not – as far as we know.

To understand why smaller countries would want nuclear weapons, even in limited numbers, we need to ask under what circumstances almost any other country (and by that we mean other governments) would approve, or at least not criticize, their use of such weapons. What comes immediately to mind is invasion. If a country sees an invading force crossing their borders and they reasonably believe that they will be overwhelmed and will face a hostile occupation of unknown length and severity then a few even small to moderate size nuclear weapons could go a long way to greatly slowing or stopping the invasion. We feel it is human nature to go with what is known rather than the unknown, so many would say better some radiation and fallout with blast damage than being occupied.

This is not such a strange idea as it seems. Why was the neutron bomb, which has greatly reduced blast damage but is more lethal to the living, developed? Why are major nuclear powers currently developing warheads in which the yield or blast force can be dialled back?

Let us emphasise again that we would much prefer it if all nations could get along together. But until that day comes we actually support having nuclear weapons in the UK. The British armed forces are amongst the best in the world but they are rarely properly funded or equipped and would, in their current state, be hard pressed to hold off a full-scale invasion. Having nuclear weapons in the UK means that few countries would consider invading us knowing that, if pressed too hard, we could push back much harder. We realise, of course, that the argument could be made that without the cost of our nuclear programme our armed forces could be more than adequately funded and equipped. But there seems to be very little political appetite for such a change, and we are living in an increasingly hostile world.

That being said, we also agree that certain countries should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons, even though when thinking about this we find it is difficult to select any criteria for denying them which would not go against those nations which already possess them. The criticisms we could make against any particular country which wishes to acquire nuclear weapons would also apply to the past history of western nations, Russia and China.

So we don’t want the availability of nuclear weapons to spread but it seems that in reality this can only be enforced upon weaker countries. As always, the strong do what they want, and nearly everyone is aware of at least one country that holds nuclear weapons in secret (never mind that it is one of the worst kept secrets…). Are there any others that hold secret nuclear weapons?

The plainest way to say this is that we don’t want the insane to have these toys. But late at night when it is dark the thought comes that sometimes the sane become insane…

The best news so far is that we are all still here and have not yet destroyed the world under a mushroom-shaped cloud.