With friends like these…

By DeusExMacintosh

Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week. Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.

The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website…

A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the “New START” deal.

Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.

Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.

The Telegraph

UPDATE (9/2/11): Hillary Clinton’s spokesman calls Telegraph nukes story ‘bunk’, but fails to check his facts

17 Comments

  1. Posted February 7, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Difficult to imagine Obama’s thought process.

    People have faced a firing squad for less, but Obama will get a pension & book deal.

  2. desipis
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Steve, don’t we normally give medals to people who screw over other countries to benefit their own?

  3. Posted February 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Ah, the ‘special relationship’. Maybe this will encourage the Coalition to get rid of Trident – a notable waste of taxpayer moneys.

  4. Posted February 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] – aaahh yes, and you surely offer as exhibit A: Kissinger’s Nobel Peace Prize….

    [email protected] – but Trident is the nuclear missile Harrods would sell you!

    (and btw, Jim Hacker is looking more and more like a statesman. How many would rather Jim, Humphrey and Bernard in No 10 than any other team of recent years? I wonder if that would be a good litmus test for pollsters?)

  5. Posted February 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] – yep. Me too. Still, I’d still prefer the current lot in No 10 and The Lodge than Francis Urquhart, but that might even change I fear.

  6. Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    You might think that. I couldn’t possibly comment…

  7. Posted February 7, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    When I was in the Australian Public Service, Yes Minister was referred to by an older colleague as “the training program”.

    There is a line of critique of Obama on the grounds he makes a habit of screwing over the US’s friends and allies to conciliate enemies and opponents. This is not exactly counter-evidence.

  8. Posted February 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    “Friends with benefits”… Kinda… But not quite

  9. peter d jones
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    The big question is why a broke UK government even maintains the Trident fleet or plans for the next generation. I’m just back from the UK and despite the awful cuts that hit the poor far more than the rich, no-one (apart from CND) seems to ask why the government still funds the Trident submarine fleet which has no military or strategic role apart from waving the Union Jack and pretending GB is still a world power.

  10. Jacques Chester
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Peter: in European terms, the cold war was a brief sunny interlude. Not maintaining a deterrent would be silly, since both the Russians and the Fr- … the Frigging Chinese have nukes too.

  11. Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    [email protected]: the pollies in parliament used to rush out to cluster around the nearest TV set to get clues as to tactics used by their “Humphreys”.

    The common-sense arguments against Trident were put rather well in the relevant YPM episode, as well as the reasons for keeping it, the pseudo-prestige and the sucking-up.

    The JSF purchased at the pencilled-in-on-the-drawing-board stage have proven to show we are not immune from such subservience and stupidity.

    We’ve been screwed by the US ever since they demanded payment after the civil war for allowing a confederate ship to berth in Melbourne and refit. If we follow our “great and powerful friend” policy, the emergent more local power (and close trade partner) might be a better bet – cheaper better fighhers, more interest in actually intervening with regional troubles… (says I with tongue half in cheek).

    The best bet for Britain would probably be a close alliance with Germany, who make high quality kit, with a mere two squabbles in the whole of history since the Anglo-Saxons hit the Celts, with Germany physically closer to the ex-Soviets, a great economic power, and allowing a pincer movement with the more regular antagonist of both of them. (Heh heh)

    What advantage does the US gain from sucking up to Putin anyway? The chance of a few useful votes in the UN? Leverage against their common enemy (China)? It’s not like the US is politically compatible with Russia, run by cronies of plutocrats and the miltary, always heavying the neighbors, is it? Um… errr.

  12. Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    [email protected] There is a great story about Fraser (PM) Anthony (Deputy PM) and the head of the PM’s Department deciding to stay and watch Yes Minister. Afterwards, Fraser is supposed to have commented “Did you noticed we all laughed?” to which his very own Sir Humphrey replied “Yes, Prime Minister, but we laughed at different moments.”

    Touche on US/Russia, except I will note that the inhabitants of said neighbours try to move to the US — Russia, not so much.

    But unravelling the mysteries of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy is beyond me. (I have this sinking feeling that it is beyond them too. This is the Administration that took over 15 months to nominate anyone to two empty Federal Reserve seats.)

  13. Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    [email protected]: rotfl. Cannot imagine that being said in ant voice other than Humphrey’s or Bernard’s. Was forced by your and LE’s comments to write something myself on the preference for the fictional buffons.

    But seriously again, any other ideas why the US would do this? And is there any real chance of the UK ceasing to be the bitch of the US – and happy to be so?

  14. Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    [email protected]:
    {mutters} …well we are getting scr€wed…

    The big question is why a broke UK government even maintains the Trident fleet or plans for the next generation. I’m just back from the UK and despite the awful cuts that hit the poor far more than the rich, no-one (apart from CND) seems to ask why the government still funds the Trident submarine fleet which has no military or strategic role apart from waving the Union Jack and pretending GB is still a world power.

    Have to say I agree with you there Peter. Frankly, I doubt the effectiveness of a ‘dead man’s switch’ as a deterrent – I really don’t think it will make all the dead British people feel better. We’re far more likely to have a “false flags” attack on UK soil on a smaller scale (dirty bomb or whatever) for which retaliatory targets will be chosen based on convenient economic/diplomatic interests rather than actual attack responsibility – see the US response to 9/11. Massive attack on US soil by half a dozen Saudi Arabian citizens all apparently radicalized while studying in the Saudi city of Medina… and the US attacks Afghanistan and Iraq in retaliation.

    That “independent nuclear deterrent” isn’t independent (we rely entirely on US supplied and controlled technology), isn’t much of a deterrent, but I guess that as it IS still nuclear and that means the UK gets to sit at the ‘big table’ diplomatically which is of course THE biggest priority we should have right now…

  15. Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    peter and dem – I suppose that if you are going to be screwed by the US, at least with a Trident you can fork others, indeed fork yourself more than you can anyone else.

    But maybe by giving the infomation to Putin about the intimate details of the relationship to the UK, the US is just playing an obscene version of kiss and tell.

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