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Can the UK justify the use of its nuclear weapons arsenal?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/31/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 364 times Debate No: 96549
Debate Rounds (5)
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The debate over the justification of ownership and potential, if needed, usage during desperate measures has been quarreled over for years and will continue to for many more. I personally believe that it is justified due to the necessity of protection that can only be resorted to during times of need. Having said this I understand both arguments and the reasons for both yet the underlying factor of 'if we dispose of ours they still have theirs' poses a definitive threat. I wish to know your opinions and views towards the matter.
With regards.


The United Kingdom was the third country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon, in October 1952. It is one of the five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Since the 1958 US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement, the United States and the United Kingdom have cooperated extensively on nuclear security matters. The special relationship between the two countries has involved the exchange of classified scientific data and materials such as plutonium.
The UK retains a stockpile of 215 thermonuclear warheads, of which 120 are operational as of 2016, but has refused to declare the exact size of its arsenal.[1][2][4] Since 1998, the Trident nuclear programme has been the only operational nuclear weapons system in British service. The delivery system consists of four Vanguard class submarines based at HMNB Clyde in Scotland. Each submarine is armed with up to 16 Trident II missiles, each carrying warheads in up to eight MIRV re-entry vehicles. With at least one submarine always on patrol, the Vanguards perform a strategic deterrence role and are also believed to have a sub-strategic capability. In contrast with the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the United Kingdom operates only a submarine-based delivery system, having decommissioned its tactical WE.177 free-fall bombs in 1998.
The UK has not run a programme to develop an independent delivery system since the cancellation of the Blue Streak (missile) in 1960. Instead it has purchased US delivery systems for UK use, fitting them with warheads designed and manufactured by the UK's Atomic Weapons Establishment and its predecessor. In 1974, a US proliferation report discussing British nuclear and missile development noted that "In many cases, it is based on technology received from the US and could not legitimately be passed on without US permission."[5]
The Atomic Weapons Establishment is undertaking research which is largely dedicated to providing new warheads[6] and on 4 December 2006 the then Prime Minister Tony Blair announced plans for a new class of nuclear missile submarines.[7]
Debate Round No. 1


Under which circumstances could we possibly justify the usage of these weapons, is it even viewed as being an action that is morally justifiable?
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
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