If George W Bush and his war-mongering cronies, including Tony Blair, had listened to Blix, they would not have invaded Iraq. Arguably – actually I believe it’s beyond argument – there would be no ISIS threat today. And plausibly no desperate millions sparking crisis in Europe by fleeing homes engulfed in the Middle East holocaust.
But they didn’t listen. And people right across the British political spectrum are not listening to Blix now.
Well, almost right across the spectrum. Honourable exceptions include the Green and Scottish National parties and Jeremy Corbyn.
Few people alive have the knowledge and experience of nuclear weaponry that Hans Blix has. So we should be interested, at least, in what he thinks of the impending decision to commit many billions of pounds to replacing Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system.
From a peace and security perspective, Blix told the Hay Festival in 2013, it is “a completely pointless exercise”.
Pointless because it totally fails to address the real threats we face in today’s world.
What use could Trident conceivably be against ISIS? What deterrent function could it possibly serve against Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, the Taliban in Afghanistan, or any terrorist threat to anyone anywhere?
How exactly did it help the United States on 9/11 to be one of the world’s five countries possessed of a supposedly legitimate nuclear arsenal? How did it help the UK on 7/7?
Whatever some of his shadow cabinet colleagues think, Corbyn’s position on nuclear weapons is clear, consistent, logical – and right.
If nobody is prepared to push a button with the power to wipe out life on earth, what is the point of having that button?
And if anyone IS prepared to push it… having it is worse than useless. A lot worse.
However many jobs in Barrow-in-Furness depend on building the submarines. And however many hospitals, schools, libraries, free university places, social services jobs and welfare benefits we’ve given up to pay for them.
Many leading members of the armed forces recognise the truth of this. They’d rather some of the Trident billions were spent on personnel and equipment that might actually be used.
Sadly the people who will shortly rubberstamp the decision – Her Majesty’s Government – seem incapable of seeing it.