In his letter supporting the retention of Trident (22 January), Alexander McKay uses the phrase, “anyone with the ability to think seriously”, but then, in what he writes, clearly excludes himself from that group.
There is, indeed, a worrying world situation where the threat of terrorism is increasing and there is a legitimate fear that fundamentalist terrorist groups might at some stage get their hands on nuclear weapons.
But does Mr McKay seriously suggest that any such terrorist group based in, say, Pakistan, Israel, Algeria or Somalia would be deterred by a threat from Britain to “nuke” those countries? Trident and its predecessors may have played a valuable deterrent role in the Cold War but it is of no value in the current world situation.
How does Alexander McKay believe that after Scotland and its population – together with much of northern England – had been laid waste by a nuclear attack, this country would be capable of “retaliating” – in kind or in any other way?
What price the “nuclear deterrent” then?
However, the possession of nuclear weapons makes this country a prime target for any group wishing to destroy that capability and, in the process, remove any possibility of retaliation. The money spent on weapons would be far better spent on making sure everyone in Scotland has a warm, safe home and enough to eat.
I agree that the horrors in Algeria should make everyone in Scotland think about how to protect themselves, but in doing so we should also think about the way we still think about the rest of the world in relation to ourselves.
The word “terror” is – once again – being used freely in just about every context possible by politicians and the mainstream media. Recent events in Algeria and Mali now signify the start of a new type of “war on terror” in North Africa.
The fixation with this word has allowed Western governments to justify their actions in foreign countries for years in the name of global “security”. But why terrorists in groups such as al-Qaeda target the West is generally understated and poorly understood.
In actual fact, advocating the removal of Trident is a strong indication to al-Qaeda terrorists that Scotland aims to question the UK Government’s involvement in the West’s so-called “war on terror” – a fight which has resulted in the killing of thousands of innocents in places like Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan.
Truthfully, al-Qaeda terrorists probably do “care a jot” whether Alex Salmond is running affairs in the northern half of Britain. They may be fundamentalists, but they are not mindless idiots.
Keeping nuclear weapons only reinforces the threat of terrorism. Removing Trident and taking a step back from the vanguard of Western intervention in other parts of the world – places which, in all honesty, we have very little understanding of – is the real solution to stopping terrorism.