At the end of an otherwise well-judged piece in Foreign Policy on 16th March 2021, An Independent Scotland Would Bring No Surprises for Allies: Scotland is in a great position to be a good global citizen, SNP MPs Alyn Smith and Stewart McDonald write:
Like Ireland, Scotland will be a smaller state but within a global A-Team, a good news story for the EU out of the despond of Brexit. Unlike Ireland, Scotland will seek to be a reliable NATO partner; it’s in too vital a strategic position not to be.
Unlike Ireland? Global A-Team? Here’s the situation:
In 1999 when Ireland became a signatory to NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme and the alliance’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Since then, NATO and Ireland have actively cooperated on peacekeeping, humanitarian, rescue, and crisis management issues and have developed practical cooperation in other military areas of mutual interest, under Ireland’s Individual Partnership Programme (IPP) and Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP), which is jointly agreed every two years. Irish cooperation with NATO is centred around the country’s historic policy of neutrality in armed conflicts, which allows the Irish military to deploy on peacekeeping and humanitarian missions where there is a mandate from the United Nations (UN Security Council resolution or UN General Assembly resolution), subject to cabinet and Dáil Éireann (Irish parliament) approval. This is known as Ireland’s “triple-lock” policy.
Given the NATO A-Team’s disastrous bloody interventions in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Yugoslavia, the above makes a lot of sense to me and I’m not alone in thinking that in Scotland.
Alex Salmond has won a narrow victory in his attempts to overturn the Scottish National party’s long-standing opposition to membership of Nato. After a debate that split the party’s annual conference, delegates voted by 394 to 365 to back a new policy to support membership of Nato if the SNP wins the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. The result was far narrower than SNP leaders had expected, after numerous delegates said it would be hypocritical to join Nato while upholding the party’s historic opposition to nuclear weapons, with the UK’s nuclear arsenal based on the Clyde near Glasgow. To boos, Angus Robertson, the SNP’s defence spokesman, said that 75% of Scots wanted the country inside Nato and their support was essential if the SNP wanted to win the referendum.
I don’t know what the basis for Angus Robertson’s claim was but I’ve seen no evidence that Scots, if told just what NATO has done, would want us to be a more reliable partner than Ireland.
I mean, really, we leave one militaristic union for another, even bigger?