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Britain’s defence policy is more like one big declaration of war | Owen Jones

Instead of stockpiling weapons and stoking fears of coming conflict, we should be focusing on keeping the peace

In our increasingly destabilised present, it is difficult not to see echoes of the run-up to the first world war. Back then, a standoff between two great power blocs led to a fatalism that a disastrous war was simply inevitable. If history does indeed repeat itself, that would be catastrophic for two reasons. First, because the mass slaughter turned out to be the warm-up act for worse in the rest of the 20th century. In many ways, we are still living in the aftermath. Second, because such a repetition would in fact prove the best case scenario; a nuclear inferno that devours human civilisation is a more probable outcome.

In two newspaper articles last week, Sir Keir Starmer committed Labour to retaining nuclear weapons and to hiking defence spending to 2.5% of GDP. Prevailing political wisdom would suggest this offers necessary distance from his predecessor, though it should be noted that Labour’s 2017 and 2019 manifestos both promised to retain Trident and keep defence spending to at least 2%, the target Nato members are committed to reach.

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