US wants to put Britain on the front line of nuclear war with Russia
We have to make clear, says CND's Kate Hudson, that we are not going to have US nuclear missiles back in Britain.
I have rarely heard anything quite so absurd and dangerous as the idea of bringing cruise missiles back to Britain. But that’s the latest bright idea that the Pentagon’s trying to palm off on us.
Even Defence Secretary Philip Hammond sounded less than enthusiastic. He said he hadn’t yet seen a detailed case for the proposal but he warned against making “unnecessary provocations” against Russia, which has a “sense of being surrounded and under attack”. That’s hardly surprising.
Can the Pentagon really think that racheting up the military threat against Russia will result in the restoration of good relations with Moscow? That it will help solve regional tensions in Ukraine? That seems like topsy-turvy land to me. Russia is already surrounded by NATO countries and US and allied bases. So how is piling on more threat actually going to help?
Worst of all, the cruise idea is only one part of the latest US thoughts on how to make the world a far more dangerous place. Last Friday, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter met with US military commanders and European diplomats at US European Command HQ in Stuttgart. Following the meeting, Associated Press reported that the Pentagon has been actively considering the use of nuclear missiles against military targets inside Russia.
Apparently, three options considered by the Pentagon are:
- Increasing so-called missile defence in Europe – already a source of significant tension with Russia
- A ‘counterforce’ option involving pre-emptive non-nuclear strikes on Russian military sites
- ‘Countervailing strike capacities’ involving the pre-emptive deployment of nuclear missiles against targets inside Russia
It’s hardly surprising that Russia responds in a negative way. Frankly, this is terrifying.
What millions of people across Europe understood in the 1980s, when the US brought cruise and pershing missiles to Europe before, was that the missiles would allow the US to have its nuclear war with the Soviet Union in Europe. They are intermediate range missiles, not intercontinental ballistic missiles.
It was that realisation – that we were not prepared to be on the front line in a nuclear war – that led to the mass mobilisations of millions across Europe and hundreds of thousands across Britain, at mass marches and also at peace camps like Greenham Common and Molesworth, where the cruise missiles were to be delivered.
Cruise came and went and Greenham was returned to common land. The world has changed and the Cold War is over. We have to be quite clear - we are not going to have a rerun of the Cold War and we are not going to have US nuclear missiles back in Britain. We’re not going to be back on the front line in a nuclear war. We refuse cruise.
Kate Hudson is General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.