Firstly I’d like to talk about trident. It’s intiguing that Corbyn has come to be seen as an extremist, for his desire to get rid of Trident, with his more moderate shadow cabinet and the “middle-ground” Cameron distinguishing themselves by their willingness to see the eradication of the human race. Why has no-one asked him: please, Prime Minister, hypothesise for us, if you would, a situation where you would actually use Trident?
If we are going to spend billions of pounds over the next few years basing our defense policy around hypotheticals, then what reason could we have for not exploring them? Because the simple truth is this: there is NO situation in which a British prime minister would ever have call to use nuclear weapons. If you use a nuclear bomb after having been hit by one, then it was never a deterrrent to begin with, not to mention that the deaths of millions in Moscow or Tehran would only balance out the lives of Londoners in the mind of a mad man. Further tragedy compounds rather than eliminates prior tragedy.
Is threatening the use of an atomic weapon ever a sound foreign policy move? Or is it simply dehumanising both for those making and responding to the threat, as well as being transparently a piece of bluff; a game of brinkmanship, toying with the lives of millions. But surely the crux is this: is there really a potential prime minister out there with the “iron” to see such a policy through? Is there really anybody who could bear to have millions of souls weighing on their conscience? Yes, Truman did it, but the bombs used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like child’s play compared to our modern nuclear armoury.
I henceforth issue a challenge to the right-wing commentariat. If anyone wants to rubbish trade unions and diminish the work they do; to write inflammatory, ungrounded articles about the disruption they’re causing and the so called “militancy” of their leaders, and the way that they and the teaches and nurses they fight for somehow represent “vested interests”, please go right ahead. But in the interest of honour and chivalry, please renounce your right to stay home from work on weekends.
Donald Trump. What can I say?
I watched a Trump rally this morning whilst ironing my shirts, and feel emotionally and intellectually exhausted. It stopped being funny after about half an hour; and let me tell you, when he has control of the world’s strongest military, it’ll stop being funny much sooner than that. Much of his rhetoric consists of this desire to “make America great again” (of course nothing we haven’t heard before) but there is something new: a strange, twisted sense of self-pity. The burning conviction that America is being taken for a ride, and that it shoulders the responsibility for world affairs without reaping any of the benefits. That the leaders of Mexico, Japan and China are too “smart” for Barack Obama, and have conspired to put America in trillion of dollars of debt, as well as an outstandingly large trade deficit, and to steal all their jobs. But what’s so strange is that this feeling isn’t constricted to the demented Donald Trump; you see it flaring up again and again in the annoyingly liberal West Wing, which I think will be the subject of my next post.
It’s a feeling that can only come from seeing world events through an entirely different prism from everyone else. Where news of the outside world is filtered through those sharp minds at Fox News, and where America’s bombing campaigns, carried out through the 70 years or so that they have been the world’s superpower, are just the inventions of terrorist-sympathising journalists and communists.
Trump has no understanding of the countless civilian casualties, all over the world, that have ensued due to the Pentagon’s desire to see left-leaning tyrants replaced by more market-friendly butchers. His supporters don’t understand that the people working long hours in awful conditions in Mexican sweatshops aren’t the victors; they are every bit as much the loser as a redundant car manufacturer from Detroit. They are both equal victims of an academic, cultural, world consensus that says: “Trade must be free. The movement of capital must be free. Government is always the problem. Your freedom is inextricably bound up in the freedom of corporations to exploit you.” And how could Trump supporters know this? For that matter, how can Britons, or Frenchmen, or Bulgarians be expected to understand it? When they have a media that is blind to the world’s ills, and is as much in thrall to market forces as anyone.