Peter Cannon is an Associate Fellow of the Henry Jackson Society
Toby Fenwick of Centre Forum argued yesterday on this site that we should “retire Trident now and invest the money in conventional forces”. Not a surprising argument from a liberal think tank, given the current Cabinet Office study into alternatives to Trident which is being carried out to assist the Liberal Democrats in making the case.
Fenwick complains that "we are investing at least £25 billion in Trident when the rationale for it melted away two decades ago". Yet it would be naive to assume that the downfall of the Soviet Union two decades ago means that not only is there no longer any nuclear threat to guard against but that there never will be. The rationale behind nuclear deterrence is not just defence against one state – the now defunct Soviet Union – but defence against any nuclear-armed state, of which there are several which are less than friendly.