Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Scare A Day - NATO edition

Would Scotland be a part of NATO post independence? The short answer is ‘Yes’, but the various scare stories issued by ‘no’ campaigners that have been promoted by newspapers and the British State Broadcaster are trying to suggest otherwise. We at Sign for Scotland are going to do our best to explain why there is only one circumstance where Scotland would be outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

BBC Scotlandshire report
Let’s start by looking at the scare and its purpose. ‘No’ campaigners are claiming that an independent Scotland would need to keep Trident at Faslane in order to be accepted into NATO. They hope that by implying that the people of Scotland are powerless to enact change whether they vote for independence or not will drive them to the conclusion that voting Yes is pointless. But let’s look at the reasons why this scare isn’t realistic.
1 – The UK’s nuclear deterrent isn’t very significant to NATO
The UK hosts less than 2% of NATO's entire stockpile of nuclear weapons. There would still be plenty left to return most nations on Earth back to the Stone Age even if Trident were scrapped. This is just one of the reasons why the US has repeatedly suggested that Trident be dropped in order to fund more conventional forces.

"Treaty ratifications?!  Only Westminster can do them!" said by no-one
2 – Spain’s historical precedence
Nuclear warheads, which had been stored in a joint Spanish-US naval base near Cádiz, were removed in 1979, just three years before Spain formally joined NATO (see:  The current Scottish Government intends to take a similar approach to Trident and there has been no specific reason offered as to how our circumstance is different.
3 – Existing members want us to join without nuclear weapons
Iceland, Denmark and Norway have a strategic interest in co-operating with an independent Scotland, and the easiest way to do that is if we are all members of NATO (
If Scotland were refused entry into NATO on the grounds that we won’t host nuclear weapons, then would the alliance demand bases in other, non-nuclear states?  It is hard to believe that Norway, which hosted a two-day conference to ban all nuclear weapons, or Denmark, which publically stated that it does not want nuclear weapons deployed in its territory, would accept these weapons being imposed upon them.
And as we saw in point 2, there is already an example of a nation banishing nuclear weapons from its territory and being welcomed into NATO, so the notion that NATO needs to take a hardline approach against Scotland to prevent anti-nuclear movements in other member states is both wrong and very much against the spirit of democracy.

"You don't want self determination.  BAD things might happen to you if I don't make all the decisions" Better Together statement (probably)
4 – The alternative
Scotland is not located in a strategically important position in terms of deploying nuclear weapons against potentially hostile states (primarily because there aren’t any near us), however we are becoming increasing important in terms of trade routes.
‘China begins using Arctic shipping route that could change the face of world trade’ was the headline from Business Insider from August 16th, 2013.  The route passes by the East coast of Scotland.  This is extremely significant because instead of being at the fringes of Europe, Scotland can become its gateway.  It’s estimated that between 5 and 15% of China’s international trade could be using this passage by 2020, offering huge opportunities.
If Scotland were to be shunned by NATO over weapons that don’t matter and wouldn’t be forced onto other members, then having closer relations with China and Russia would be very lucrative for us, and worrying for America.  The best solution for the United States would be to have us in the club instead of engaging in a bidding war for our co-operation.

5 – The legality of hosting Trident
We’ll have to make this a two part answer because we’re not sure which scare the ‘no’ campaign is using at the moment (see: and, but if Scotland is a brand new nation (with no debts or treaty obligations) then, under international law, we are not permitted to host nuclear weapons.  There is no rational reason to refuse a Scottish application to join NATO on the basis that we aren’t breaking the Non-Proliferation Treaty, especially when there are lots of positive reasons amongst various existing members for us to be included.
And if we are a successor nation (with our share of assets and with equal status with rUK), then we will already be members of NATO, and thus there is no debate.

We said at the beginning of this blog that there was one circumstance where Scotland would not be a member of NATO.  That is if we don’t want to be.  After independence, we will decide the important issues.  If we want to be a member of NATO, then we’ll be a member, if we want to join Partnership for Peace, then we’ll join Partnership for Peace.  Anyone who suggests otherwise needs to provide an answer to each of the five points listed above.
Otherwise, this is just another scare.
If you like this blog, then please consider visiting our other sites:
Facebook - Sign for Scotland
YouTube - Sign4Scotland
Twitter - Sign4Scotland

1 comment:

  1. Aye Drew, that just about sums it up!