As a one-time opponent of Britain's nuclear deterrent (preferring to strengthen non-nuclear defence) I now no longer know where I stand. Ian Martin's recent piece in support of Trident is probably largely correct about global politics, whilst adding to the range of dark predictions. I may not live to see a world where the number of nuclear powers is at least doubled from the current nine, with no promise that the younger generations will survive to my age. I can think of my father once saying that your car is a huge convenience, but everyone else's car is a pest. Similarly, our nuclear weapons are (hopefully) a protection and everyone else's a menace. 

But in dealing with 'bad actors' who are probably even less rational than the Cold War superpowers ever were, I would certainly dismiss notions of anyone, Britain included, setting an example by giving up their nukes. Examples work only if you are already respected. I am also doubtful about being able to escape being a target for nuclear attack - or having much future even if you could. 

The survival issue is what gives some rationale for the attention focused on Gaza and Ukraine rather than Sudan or Myanmar. The latter two conflicts are no less nasty and brutal, whilst also displacing huge numbers of people, but they do not threaten to involve the nuclear powers whereas the first two already do. Peter Zeihen, one of the most sophisticated of current pessimists, predicts Russia will threaten use of nukes against Nato following the war in Ukraine. The question then arises: just how close to the 'precipice' in Toby Ord's expression, do we have to come before we all get a panic attack?

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