The US and the UK have secretly renewed a nuclear treaty tied to their Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA), originally signed in 1958.
The MDA allows the US and the UK to work together on “all aspects of nuclear deterrence including nuclear warhead design and manufacture.”
According to The Guardian, the treaty is shrouded in such secrecy that the scant details known about it “can’t be understood in the absence of information” unknown to the public. The treaty is renewed without Parliamentary debate, and some MPs are calling for changes to that protocol while others are content with the economic “advantages” the MDA offers the UK by allowing them “to significantly reduce costs while maintaining an operationally independent deterrent.”
Yet the British American Security Information Council’s (BASIC) executive director Paul Ingram sees a conflict between the US/UK nuclear relationship and the expectations placed on countries like North Korea. He described the MDA as “the manifestation of the deep political, cultural, and philosophical relationship between [the US and the UK],” then added:
[But] how can it possibly be effective to criticize North Korea for allegedly supplying nuclear and missile technology to states like Syria and Iran when we trade between ourselves technologies directly relevant to constructing nuclear warheads, missiles, and submarines?
A report by the Trident Commission, brought together by BASIC, asks how Britain “can promote nuclear non-proliferation and…moves toward a nuclear weapon-free world, if choosing to renew its own nuclear weapons systems?”
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