New Forest East



The Times – 21 November 1989

When the Cold War was at its height, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament maintained that nuclear deterrence would prevent the situation improving. Now that the situation has improved despite such prediction. Mr Bruce Kent of CND, demands (November 16) that we abandon nuclear deterrence to "contribute ... to the process of stability" in Europe – as if our possession of Polaris or Trident would do anything to undermine the growth of democracy in Eastern Europe.

Mr Kent suggests that the anti-nuclear campaigns of the early 1980s were in some way responsible for the unravelling of Soviet hegemony which appears to be under way. Let us remember that it was only after the total failure of those campaigns to prevent NATO's nuclear deployments that the Soviets felt it necessary to conclude a deal with NATO on intermediate-range nuclear forces. If CND had had its way, cruise would unilaterally have been cancelled and the Soviet SS-20s would have remained permanently in place.

No-one could have predicted the rise of Gorbachev with any degree of certainty, as the Soviet Union is still far from being a democracy, and no-one can be sure how long he and his policies will manage to survive. Mr Kent unwisely cites the role of the Helsinki Agreements in his internationalist alternative to NATO, whose patient policy of containment is so clearly now being vindicated.

We should recall the fate of those who sought to monitor and uphold the violated Helsinki guarantees before we put any faith in CND's recommendations to abandon our security arrangements in favour of nebulous and unreliable confections which can be swept aside if ever the political landscape darkens.

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