Physics and Metaphysics of Deterrence: The British Approach (Newport Paper, Number 8, December 1994)
NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI CENTER FOR NAVAL WARFARE STUDIES
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The principal findings of this study are that Great Britains search for an independent nuclear deterrent was waged with a purposeful dedication that wedded highly effective statecraft and brilliant, innovative nuclear engineering to produce a strategic nuclear deterrent that remained under her sovereign control. Because Britains efforts in this area were so often achieved in the face of United States opposition, Britains subsequent utilization of her deterrent capability as an instrument to secure American support, notwithstanding that opposition, ought to be considered an example of successful policy management. The product of this effort has been the Anglo-American special relationship in nuclear weapons. The demonstrable success of British policy management to nurture and secure the special relationship in nuclear weapons is confirmed by its endurance in the face of American indifference, if not overt hostility, to its continuation. A major contention of this inquiry, therefore, is that the independent nature of Britains strategic nuclear deterrent has been the primary prerequisite for the evolution of an interdependent, hence special, relationship with the United States. This relationship will endure, for it must the physics and metaphysics of strategic relationships in the thermonuclear age will secure this constancy. In the meantime, Britain will play a far greater role internationally than heretofore, just as the special relationship binds her ever closer to the United States. And this, after all, has always been a principal objective of British policy.
- Government and Political Science
- Nuclear Warfare
- Nuclear Weapons