Reworking George Robertson in 2014, when the New Labour Lord and NATO supremo suggested that ‘Forces of Darkness Would Love Scottish Split from United Kingdom‘, former Tory councillor and MEP, Struan Stevenson warns us:
It is not only the people of Scotland who should witness this spectacle with fear and trepidation. Joe Biden must be pacing the Oval Office in alarm. If the SNP gets its way and succeeds in breaking up the United Kingdom, it would be a geopolitical catastrophe, not only for Scotland and the UK, but also for the United States. The SNP would destroy, at a stroke, the UK’s diplomatic and military capability in the international arena, depriving the US of one of its most important and long-standing allies.
One minute we’re too wee, too poor and too stupid to go it alone, now we’re far too important. I am, of course, not that fussed to be in a relationship of any kind with the US but, for the sake of argument with the likes of Stevenson and any who think it matters, it’s worth countering this daftness
Stevenson’s reasoning is at best, dated. He, not surprisingly as a Tory, ignores the factors that really do threaten any relationship with the US – Brexit and Johnson. First on Brexit, see this from Beatriz Duarte in Eyes on Europe, February 2021:
For the American side of the Atlantic, the UK lost its value because, even when they were the EU’s awkward partner, they still managed to play a central part in engaging the US in European affairs and advocating for US’ policy. In reality, the US “special relationship” with the UK was an extended arm towards the European Union. As for the moment, the Biden Administration and the EU share similar worldviews and challenges for the coming decades, such as the climate crisis and the post-pandemic world. This ideological closeness leads the US to look increasingly to the EU for partnership. As Charles Kupchan, the former National Security Council for European Affairs official said: “[Washington] still going to call London, but that call will be lower down in the queue. Britain doesn’t have a seat at the table anymore”.
As for new president, Joe ‘I’m Irish’ Biden and Boris Johnson, things look at best problematic. Johnson’s ineptitude over the border deal and barely concealed contempt for Ireland have prompted anger in Washington. That and the wider schism over EU membership, above, make a good trade deal ever more unlikely. Ryan Heath in Politico, December 2020, suggests:
Boris Johnson is unlikely to seal a trade deal with the U.S. in 2021……And while Biden’s tight-lipped transition team won’t reveal its plans for the U.K., interviews with 16 officials and former officials on both sides of the Atlantic make clear that Brexit has changed the dynamic.
Finally, and this gives me no pleasure, the current First Minister, who has already been to the US to swear fealty and whose whole persona is, by a century, more aligned than Johnson’s with contemporary political thinking in the US and among its allies elsewhere, is just what Biden wants to see.
Scotland in the EU and NATO would serve the US better than Scotland still the UK but out of the EU.
For me though, a better path, clinging less to the US, might be achieved if the victorious SNP was to offer the role of acting Foreign Secretary, pending independence, to a man who knows a bit about the task and who has the guts to insist on putting Scotland’s interests first by opposing imperialist tendencies. There are others in Europe whom he could align us with.