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Scottish Independence and Scotland's Future
Security and Defence

An online comment by Dr James Wilkie that was deleted by Newsnet Scotland


This is an informative and interesting comment so why should Newsnet Scotland delete it?  You judge for yourself...

Dr James Wilkie is Chairman of the Scottish Democratic Alliance.

This decision brings SNP policy on NATO into line with that of the Scottish Democratic Alliance (SDA), which is to place a constitutional ban on all CBRN weapons of mass destruction (not just nuclear ones) in Scotland, its territorial waters and airspace, while seeking international cooperation through NATO to safeguard Scotland's independence and territorial integrity.

It is also in line with the United Nations campaign to abolish all CBRN weapons (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) once and for all. This policy has already had considerable success in the cases of chemical and biological devices, which are now being run down worldwide, with remaining stocks being destroyed under UN supervision.

The present situation with nuclear weapons is less advanced , since the dozen or so states that still retain them - against the fiercely expressed disapproval of the rest of the international community - are doing so largely for domestic political and not defensive reasons. Under present circumstances they are completely useless as deterrents, even against rogue states, because no government of a civilised state would dream of incinerating an innocent and probably repressed civilian population in order to exact revenge against their deluded and malignant political, religious and military leadership.

Unfortunately, nuclear weapons are still something of a national status symbol - at least in the minds of some politicians and military leaders. The United Nations has already made progress towards their abolition in the form of a total ban on nuclear weapons testing, in order to halt their further development. This has been a marked success to date, even though a handful of states with nuclear facilities have not yet ratified the relevant treaty (see www.ctbto.org). US President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton both have total abolition as their ultimate objective, but the Senate is the stumbling block for the present. The Chinese are waiting on a US move on the CTB Treaty, but the Russians signed and ratified it right away.

We can be certain that the SNP debate, and the voting figures, will have been noted at NATO HQ as well as the foreign ministries of all its 50 member and partner states. Only four of the NATO countries - the US, Russia, UK and France - possess WMDs, and the other 46 show no ambition whatsoever to acquire them. It is time for Scotland to join their ranks.

Having worked for decades in international affairs, I am better aware than most of how lamentably ignorant Scotland is generally regarding the world in which it will have to exist for all the foreseeable future - a world that has changed so drastically within the past 20 years that it is unrecognisable to anyone whose international experience is not up to date.

The SNP, as a major Scottish national institution, demonstrates that ignorance and inexperience of international affairs to a marked degree, most pronouncedly in its European policy, where it is decades behind the times. It is learning, however slowly, and it is good to see that it has now closed one major gap in its policy.

As the SDA's Security and Defence policy points out, this is now a global issue and must be organised on a basis of global cooperation. Even Europe is too small nowadays, which is why NATO provides some of the most vital support for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in respect of anti-terrorist activities. Neither Scotland nor the UK can possibly defend itself against all the modern threats and risks.

One final point. The SNP policy takes no account of the world's largest security institution, the 56-member Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE, a Chapter VIII organisation under the United Nations Charter, is the largest and most successful European institution, but operates on a diplomatic basis, in cooperation with the NATO military organisation in many a troubled situation. It is the OSCE, and not the EU, that represents Europe at the United Nations and reports on Europe to the Security Council. And it was the OSCE, and not the EU, that stopped the Cold War and disarmed Europe (the EU was not founded till after the end of the Cold War).

Independent Scotland will have to join the OSCE, and the other major European organisations (Council of Europe, UNECE), but beforehand it would be no bad idea to run a course of education for its decision makers. I am all in favour of stopping the world to let Scotland on, but the first step to that end is to be clear on the true nature of the world you aspire to join.


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