COVID-19 and British Nuclear Deterrence

War on the Rocks – In early April, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson nearly died. Suffering from COVID-19, Johnson spent three nights in the intensive care unit before eventually recovering and being discharged. Without the expert and round-the-clock attention of his medical team, the prime minister later admitted, he may not have survived. Johnson’s stint in an intensive care unit raised a sensitive question related to British national security — with the prime minister incapacitated, who was authorized, if required, to launch the country’s nuclear weapons?