Kent Brooks responded to my recent letter (November 16, 'It's time to doth Trident') highlighting the fact that the government is planning to squander ever more billions of pounds on the Trident nuclear weapons system by asserting that “our only way of protecting ourselves” is to threaten others “with a like-for-like retaliation” (Letters, December 7, 'Nuclear subs are insurance').

Mr Brooks suggests that being able to threaten others with nuclear weapons of mass destruction somehow provides a country with “an insurance, which we have to pay to remain safe”. In doing so, he fails to explain why the overwhelming majority of countries in the world remain safe without this particular form of ‘insurance’ and without any plans to squander billions of pounds on nuclear weapons.

At the same time, Mr Brooks seems to be working from a uniquely unusual definition of ‘insurance’. It seems that, for him, ‘insurance’ equates, not with long-term peace, security and survival, but with the US Air Force policy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), in which use of nuclear weapons by two or more sides causes the complete annihilation of both!

The reality is that, in the event of any nuclear conflict, the use of nuclear weapons would, as Pope Francis reminded us on November 10, 2017, have such “catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects” that the threat of their use, as well as their existence, has to be “firmly condemned” (see ).

Threatening others with nuclear weapons of mass destruction, such as the Trident system, provides us with neither ‘insurance’ nor ‘safety’. On the contrary, it provides us with a very costly, dangerous and immoral means of threatening the destruction of humanity.

Philip Gilligan