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TRIDENT 2

TRIDENT: THE LINE OF LEAST RESISTANCE

15-03-2007

ICBM

After last night's vote in favour of renewing Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent, Andy Goff looks to history for guidance as to how effective it might be.

The Maginot Line, named after French minister of defence André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications and other defences which France constructed along its borders with Germany and with Italy, in the light of experience from World War I, and in the run-up to World War II.

It ran from Belgium to Switzerland.

The French believed the fortification would provide time for their army to mobilize in the event of attack.

The success of static, defensive combat in World War I was a key influence on French thinking.

The fortification system utterly failed to contain the Germans in World War II, and the term is sometimes used today to describe any comically ineffective protection.

Why did it fail?

Because the Germans went round it!

In a letter to The Guardian Tony Cheney calls Trident nuclear weapons Britain's Maginot line. I have to say he's right.

We are continually told by those “in the know” that we need to have this weapons system because we could be threatened by others who have them.

However, we are told by those same ‘powers that be' that the threat has changed. We now face asymmetric threat i.e. global terrorism.

The next threat doesn't come from someone armed with Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, it comes from someone armed with a hydrogen peroxide and chapatti flour mixture.

And what use are nuclear weapons in the face of unleavened fanatics?

Nil: Unless we hold whole populations guilty for the actions of the few.

Thus the fanatics will always trot round the imagined line of defence - a la Maginot Line.

Always expect the unexpected. You just can't plan for it.

As they found in the 1940s.

Is Trident as pointless as the Maginot Line? Leave a comment in the News section of our messageboard.

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