Politicians don't like hypothetical questions from journalists - and often I can see their point. But what are we to make of Gordon Brown's statement on Trident which is an answer to a hypothetical question that nobody had even asked?
The Prime Minister has suggested that Britain might reduce its nuclear forces "as part of an agreement by non nuclear states to renounce them". The idea is that the Trident submarine fleet might be reduced from four to three boats.
This new offer comes in the context of UN talks on nuclear non-proliferation. Emerging atomic powers have long complained that those already in the club have never taken seriously their commitment under the Non Proliferation Treaty to work for the abolition of their own arsenals.
So in essence, the British offer, conditional upon others moving at the same time, is to take a step in the direction of cutting its submarine force, in the hope of playing its role in improving global karma. Just as those who believe in the UK having nuclear weapons have often talked about 'sharing the burden' of ownership with the US, so the idea of joining them in disarming seems sensible enough.
How likely is it that North Korea or Iran are really going to be influenced by the UK example? It is also important to remember that a number of the emerging nuclear powers that might worry this country are outside the non-proliferation regime anyway.
Even so, the idea of renewing the treaty and of the US and Russia negotiating further cuts in their arsenal is not pie in the sky. But the UK offer is a conditional one. It remains hypothetical for the moment.
At home, Mr Brown's offer was welcomed by the Conservatives. They've pointed out that a 2006 government paper on replacing Trident had already suggested that the idea of a three boat fleet rather than a four boat one was being actively investigated.
Many in the UK will see the New York offer in terms of domestic political and budgetary struggles. Everybody knows there will be pressure to cut Trident in the Defence Review which is expected to be underway by the middle of next year.
This will not be a choice between having the bomb or not - as some backers of Trident such as the former defence secretary, John Hutton, appear to suggest. It will be a choice between different nuclear systems, and one about the degree of strategic risk the UK is willing to accept if it moves away from a four boat Trident replacement. All of these options, from cutting one submarine to opting for a different nuclear system such as cruise missiles launched from hunter-killer submarines, will be cheaper than the current one.
Will the public spending climate be so dire by next year that Britain will cut back its nuclear forces even if there is no agreement on renewing the Non Proliferation Treaty? I have my suspicions - but for the moment I'm not going to answer a hypothetical question.