Letter: Folly of defending nuclear weapons

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Sir: I doubt if it is quite fair to describe Lieutenant General Tolubko of Ukraine as a 'zealot for the bomb' (19 June). In defending the possession by Ukraine of nuclear weapons, his thinking is exactly in line with that of our own political and most of our military leaders. General Tolubko's 'common sense' is expressed in British terms by Trident submarines and before too long in yet another generation of nuclear air-to-surface missiles.

In a House of Lords debate in March this year, in which a ban on nuclear testing was widely supported, old ideas were not far below the surface. Lord Kennet made it clear that Britain should hold nuclear weapons 'as long as any other country did'. Lord Rodgers affirmed that even in post-Cold War days, the defence of Britain 'must continue to contain a nuclear element'. Sir Michael Quinlan in Moscow in 1990 declared that nuclear weapons have a 'unique value in war prevention . . .'

The reality is that General Tolubko has done nothing but reflect establishment thinking in all the existing nuclear weapon states. As long as such thinking continues, and ideas of common security ignored, the world continues on an increasingly dangerous road.

Yours faithfully,

BRUCE KENT

Vice President

Campaign for Nuclear

Disarmament

London, N7

20 June

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