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The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated the challenges posed by Brexit, the Integrated Review and a separatist Scotland, and shined new light on the UK nuclear weapons debate. This combination of issues has bolstered the argument that the resources allocated to sustaining and replacing the ‘Trident system’ should be used to develop societal resilience and support the economy. The pandemic has also highlighted possible vulnerabilities of the Trident system and the opportunity costs for other parts of the military, and aggravated the uncertainties of a fluid domestic political and constitutional context within which decisions about the UK’s nuclear future will be made. But while this climate may lead the UK government and electorate to look again at the broader opportunity costs and geopolitics of remaining in the nuclear club, Andrew Futter and Bleddyn E Bowen argue that the most likely result will be business as usual, making it difficult to see when, if ever, the country will disarm in the foreseeable future.
BANNER IMAGE: HMS Vengeance, one of the four submarines that form part of the UK’s continuous at-sea deterrent. Courtesy of Royal Navy/Tam McDonald/OGL
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