There will be many decisions for the democratically elected government of Scotland to make after independence. These will certainly involve big and controversial decisions on international relations and defence policies. And positions do change as we’ve seen over Sweden/ Finland and NATO.
I spotted this ‘straw in the wind’ recently: ‘Could Spain be the first NATO State to sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty? ‘ (https://www.icanw.org/could_spain_be_the_first_nato_state_to_sign_the_nuclear_ban_treaty)
‘.. in exchange for their support on the 2019 budget, political party Podemos obtained a commitment from the Spanish government to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The government has not yet announced how and when they will implement this decision.
‘Spain’s signature would represent a significant breakthrough for the TPNW among NATO states. Spain would be indicating that it supports a future for the Alliance without nuclear weapons. As several studies have acknowledged, there are no legal impediments for NATO states to join the TPNW. But there is significant political pressure within the Alliance to steer clear of the treaty.’
Recall that the TPNW was adopted at the United Nations in 2017. After reaching the threshold of 50 ratifications or accessions, it entered into force on 22 January 2021, becoming a permanent part of international law.
The many countries that have now signed the Treaty (as of April 2022) are listed here: https://treaties.unoda.org/t/tpnw In the UN jargon, there are now 86 Signatory States and 60 State Parties.
Interestingly, one of the countries to ratify the Treaty is New Zealand. Notwithstanding this position, New Zealand remains a member of the ‘Five Eyes’.
According to the BBC News website on 4 May 2021, ‘the Five Eyes alliance is an intelligence-sharing arrangement between five English-speaking democracies: the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. … It is often DESCRIBED AS THE WORLD’S MOST SUCCESSFUL INTELLIGENCE ALLIANCE.’ (my emphasis)
Another country to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is Ireland. Notwithstanding this, the UK is willing to maintain an ‘interesting’ defence alliance with Ireland.
See: ‘Why do British jets ‘protect’ Irish airspace?’ – at https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/why-do-british-jets-protect-irish-airspace/
‘The agreement reportedly permits the British military to conduct operations over Ireland in order to intercept aircraft in the Flight Information Region shared by both nations. Make no mistake however, this agreement is mutually beneficial. The UK needs to be able to intercept aircraft even as far south west as Ireland.’
‘The Russian air force knows that it can approach or even enter Irish airspace with far less immediate and serious consequences than if it did the same to other north Atlantic countries such as Iceland where there is a Nato air policing mission – or NORWAY, WHICH HAS A WELL-RESOURCED AIR FORCE capable of quickly intercepting suspected incursions.”
On 19 December, 2015 the UK government announced the signing of an MoU with the government of Ireland: this ‘represents a major step forward in the process of formalising the already broad and strong relationship the UK and Ireland have, RECOGNISING THE 2 COUNTRIES’ SHARED INTERESTS, VALUES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. The MoU will provide both the UK and Ireland with a means for developing and furthering their ALREADY EXCELLENT DEFENCE AND SECURITY RELATIONS and will help to enhance cooperation in exercises, training as well as peacekeeping and crisis management operations.’
All this despite Ireland not being a member of NATO and also signed up to the TPNW! Points to an independent Scotland being perfectly able to reach a position close to meeting our own needs and wants in cooperation with all these pragmatic third party countries seeking the same – is it not?