Global Britain: Nuclear weapons, militarism and a dark horizon looming on Northern Ireland

21 March, 2021

HMS Vengeance will carry nuclear weapons under the Global Britain Plan

Boris Johnson unveiled before the British Parliament his Global Britain strategy. A true militarist nonsense which increases the UK nuclear weapons arsenal by 40%, bares its imperialist teeth at such tenuous threats such as Spain and Argentina, will fill sea trade routes with nuclear warheads and openly plans to destabilize South America and Asia in order to gain weight in the trade war. All in a context in which its American and European allies are fueling a new conflict in Northern Ireland.

In this article…

  1. The UK raises its nuclear weapons arsenal by 40%
  2. Global Britain: Imperialist aggression outward, first attempts at militarization of workers inward
  3. Northern Ireland: dirty war around the corner
  4. Global Britain and the 2026-2030 horizon

The UK raises its nuclear weapons arsenal by 40%

The nuclear submarine HMS Talent, which under the Global Britain strategy will carry nuclear weapons, off Gibraltar this past Tuesday.
The nuclear submarine HMS Talent in Gibraltar this past Tuesday. Under the Global Britain strategy, it will also carry nuclear weapons.

Post-Brexit Britain has increased its nuclear capability by 40%: from 180 to 260 100-kiloton nuclear warheads (the bomb dropped on Hiroshima carried 16 kilotons) mounted on Trident missiles between now and 2025.

In this regard Global Britain basically means two things: first, it breaches nuclear non-proliferation treaties with the stroke of a pen. Secondly, those warheads, mounted on missiles, will roam the world’s sea lanes stopping at British overseas bases such as Gibraltar, Cyprus or the Malvinas/Falklands. That is to say, whether they want to or not, the populations of countries surrounding these bases, such as Spain, Argentina, Cyprus, Greece or Lebanon, for example, will be exposed to the risks associated with nuclear weapons without having any say in the matter. accidents involving British nuclear submarines in the Gibraltar Strait have not been a rare occurrence.

As it could not be otherwise, the plan to rearm and increase the number of nuclear weapons contained in Global Britain has a global effect, fueling the nuclear race already underway. Countries like Iran, which has responded to the announcement by featuring the buildup of its own missile arsenals, escalating the violence of its speech and threatening to blow up neighbors and rivals like Israel.

Global Britain: Imperialist aggression outward, first attempts at militarization of workers inward

With the Global Britain strategy HMS Queen Elizabeth will be the captain ship of the British navy in the China and Indian Seas.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth will be the captain ship of the British navy in the China and Indian Seas. Part of the fleet will be equipped with nuclear weapons.

The development of the nuclear weapons arsenal is part of a post-Brexit context in which Britain is trying to assert itself as an autonomous imperialist power without having much of a gap, to do so. It now needs to elbow its way in, or as the Global Britain draft says, resort to greater international activism … to shape a more open international order. The result is a bloated military budget (€7.7 billion) and a North Korean-like aggressiveness.

The UK wants to become the European partner with the most extensive and integrated presence in the Indo-Pacific. This means firstly greater military presence, secondly joining the QUAD (India, Japan, Australia and USA), ever closer to becoming the anti-China NATO and trying to win over South Korea to the alliance… which would irremediably produce an economic earthquake and an increased risk of armed conflict with China.

In South America, Global Britain is clearly betting on relying on bolsonarista Brazil – increasingly tense with the European continental powers – and its strategy of regional disciplining, explicitly targeting Colombia and Argentina. In this line, Global Britain militarily fortifies the Malvinas/Falklands in an unnecessary show of power that as recalled by the Argentine government evidences the loss of economic value of the southern colonies now that the UK is outside the EU economic space.

But there is plenty to go around: Russia is considered an active threat so not only is the number of nuclear weapons targeting it maintained and increased, the pressure in the Arctic and Baltic will be multiplied. In addition Global Britain incorporates mandates to its armed forces as specific as ensuring that they will deter and challenge incursions into British Gibraltar’s Territorial Waters, referring to fishermen and Guardia Civil patrol boats in Algeciras Bay.

Global Britain is so obscenely militaristic that it doesn’t forget the inevitable inward-looking branch: creating a volunteer force, a civilian reservist cadre like the one made famous during the second imperialist world war. Enmeshing relatively large parts of the population and workers in military structures back home is another new line to be developed by the plan.

Northern Ireland: dirty war around the corner

Northern Ireland's armed unionist groups believe the Peace Accords are no longer in force.
Northern Ireland’s armed unionist groups believe the Peace Accords are no longer in force.

So far it would seem that the UK is in a relatively quiet corner of the world. But the truth is, that’s becoming less and less true.

The false solution found for Northern Ireland’s borders with the rest of the UK and with the Republic of Ireland in the treaty with the EU is tremendously fragile. The British government has been unable to do anything but extend exceptions in violation of the treaties. After several warnings Brussels has taken legal action and Ireland is threatening to not ratify the British association treaty with the EU.

All this would be a serious matter in any other similar relationship with an external partner – Norway, Switzerland or Canada for example. But the consequences would be limited to trade, current account balances and surely some backsliding in international bodies. But we are talking about Northern Ireland. So Unionist armed groups have withdrawn their support for the peace agreements.

The Republic of Ireland, whose strategy as a state has as its main goal – in the very Constitution – the annexation of Northern Ireland, is beginning to float the idea of submitting to referendum where the UK should put the EU border. It’s a risk-free way to move toward unification. The result would almost certainly put customs in the Irish Sea, not on the borders with the South, creating the de facto situation of a unified island Ireland as a market in the EU and separate from Britain…which would also keep what would legally be an internal border of its own state.

In the US, less given to the niceties of the eternal asymmetrical warfare between the Republic of Ireland and its former colonizer, the immediate question was to ask the Irish prime minister whether the time had come to call the referendum on unification in Northern Ireland provided for in the Peace Accords. The Taoiseach’s response was beyond troubling. According to it: it is too early to reopen divisions.

Translated: there will be a time to reopen divisions and tension in Northern Ireland so as to ensure the outcome of the referendum and the neutrality in it of a Britain that is keen to rid itself of the Ulster problem once and for all.

Biden whom a reopening of armed conflict during his term in office would hinder as much as Britain, offered his help and launched his vice president Harris to work with the political leaders of Northern Ireland. Can you imagine an entire US president trying to establish direct ties with the leaders of a region with fewer powers than a Spanish autonomous community, a German Länder or an Argentine province? American drive reveals a real danger.

Global Britain and the 2026-2030 horizon

An unprecedented production and deployment in recent decades of nuclear weapons in Europe; an increasingly aggressive imperialist attitude in all corners of the world; imperialist temptations awakening among neighbors and rivals and at the moment concentrated in Northern Ireland…. Global Britain is only one part of a global framework setting a confluent time horizon.

Chinese strategists set the horizon for an armed conflict development in 2027; Global Britain wants to put the United Kingdom in a dominant military position – nuclear weapons included – in 2025; Dublin dates the annexation of Northern Ireland at the end of this decade; Brussels hopes to have remapped the global energy axes in 2030… The agendas of all competitors and contenders seem to place between 2026 and 2030 a critical moment of the global imperialist conflict.

It is not a matter of waiting for a fait accompli. Now is the time to be concerned… and stand up to it.

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