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Trident renewal could contribute to UK breakup

(London Post -PR) : Pressing ahead with Trident renewal might make the breakup of the United Kingdom more likely, according to a new article in Survival, the journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

William Walker, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, argues that renewing Britain’s nuclear deterrent, which relies on submarines based in Scotland, could contribute to pressure for Scottish independence.

Walker also points out that if independence happens, the nuclear-armed submarines will likely be expelled from Scotland, forcing a difficult relocation elsewhere.

All of this is made more complicated, as Walker puts it, by the fact that since the decision to replace Trident was taken in 2007 ‘the UK’s internal politics and economic circumstances have changed utterly.’

He states: “The replacement policy chosen in 2007 is ill adapted to new political and economic circumstances, and may be unsustainable as a result. What should now happen is that the cases for the deterrent’s renewal, for the Trident system’s retention or abandonment, and for the continued use of Faslane and Coulport are reopened to public debate in Scotland as well as in London.

“The United Kingdom’s fate will be determined by much more than next year’s decision on Trident. But the nuclear force’s basing in the Clyde has long been a toxic issue in Scotland, breathing life into the idea of independence. A decision to press forward with the current replacement project, overriding Scottish opinion, would do further damage to the Union.”

Read ‘Trident’s Replacement and the Survival of the United Kingdom’ for free on the IISS website.

William Walker is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, which he joined in 1996. He worked at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex from 1974 to 1996 with a two year secondment to the Royal Institute of Interanational Affairs (Chatham House) in London. He has been recipient of numerous research grants and awards, including Leverhulme and Nobel Institute Research Fellowships. He was member of the ESRC Priorities Board, 2002-06, and the RAE Panel on Politics and International Studies, 2008.

Elsewhere in the October–November issue:

– Erik Jones identifies the key question at the heart of the euro crisis: is membership of the single currency conditional or irreversible?
– Lawrence Freedman interprets the Russia–Ukraine war as an exercise in the strategic art of exhaustion
– Matthew Harries analyses the challenge for the UK Labour Party after the shocking rise of Jeremy Corbyn to its leadership
– Michael Wahid Hanna and Dalia Dassa Kaye argue that Iran’s regional power is frequently exaggerated, especially in the aftermath of the Vienna nuclear deal
– Elinor Sloan examines the implications of robotics at war

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