Regarding the future foreign and defence policies that might be followed by an independent Government of Scotland. May I suggest a number of ideas that ought to see the legislative light of day.
It could be said that a consequence of the British Imperial project, that defiantly continues to this day, is that two aspects of state policy, the two aspects that project a nation to an Earth of watching eyes and listening ears, are intrinsically interwoven. This has to end. Defence of the realm means just that. The realm, once shod of the fantasy of empire, would be ourselves and our own homeland. Essentially becoming a domestic matter, of course, by definition a domestic matter with an international, foreign dimension.
An independent non-nuclear Scotland must retain a Navy and an Air Force with vessels and aircraft appropriate to our needs and capable of defending our territorial and maritime interests. Giving up the nuclear powered submarines that carry the murderous Trident weapon system of global destruction, the aircraft carriers and the battleships, all of which are used to maintain a global military presence and threat, allows a future Scottish Navy to retain the logistical support and research vessels, the frigates and inshore boats that we require for protecting any offshore interests that we have along our coastline and in our national waters. The next generation of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy carriers and auxiliary ships are already built or are being built, therefore to ‘divvy’ up the vessels, all of which will be modern and up to date, should pose few problems. The interests of Scotland and Great Britain diverge to such an extent, that the ships that each state would set out to retain for themselves after the divorce, they could without any argument.
The current infrastructure of shipyards and ports would be retained for maintaining, refitting and building the current ships and the vessels required the future. Our expertise in shipbuilding would be protected and expanded as the ports and docks currently used will continue to be so. Government contracts and diversification into the construction of commercial ships (ferries and fishing) and submersibles will guarantee long term employment and a stable future for the yards currently struggling under the senseless, anti-Scottish strategy that is being pushed by the Ministry of Defence and the Westminster Parliament. Our shipbuilding industry must be reinvigorated and restructured to work hand in glove with former military yards, sharing expertise, experience and enterprise.
The traditional regiments of Scottish infantry must be raised again, re-forging the link held dearly by local communities, between soldiering and the soil and never again to be deployed on foreign soil other than at the behest of a sovereign Government of Scotland operating under United Nations jurisdiction. All troops would be stationed within the country other than those on UN duty, who of course would be being paid for their service by the UN. The traditions and professionalism of the Scottish soldier would be a valuable asset, not only to Scotland, but to the international community as a whole. Where needed they could be sent and be relied on to serve assuredly and effectively. Battalions of Engineers could be put to work appropriately on infrastructure projects in conjunction with their civilian counterparts to achieve effective, efficient and cost effective outcomes both overseas and at home.
It is in the arena of foreign policy that effective defence of the nation state is actually achieved. Once the fighting has started, countries have failed in their duty to protect their citizens. All sides end up as losers, one way or another. Diplomacy and the development of real and respectful relationships with international colleagues is the surest guarantor of our own security and sovereignty. Withdrawal from all international unions, whether they be economic or military, allows us to be independent and non-aligned. That action in itself will see our status in the world community rise. It is a non-threatening, positive position to adopt. Open to all sides, at all times, always. Membership of NATO condemns Scotland to being a part of the American neo-conservative, imperialistic agenda, as it is seen by the majority of the world’s sovereign states and their populations. We have nothing to gain from participating in aggressive military adventurism, and that is precisely what NATO has engaged in ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the deconstruction of the Warsaw Pact. The western military alliance has now expanded numerically and advanced it’s troops and tanks up to the border of Russia herself, directly contradicting the public promises of the late George H.W Bush, that it would not do so and had no plans to do so in the future. Blatant and brazen lies. The United States went into ‘MAD’ mode in the 1960’s because Soviet missiles were in Cuba, less than one hundred miles away. The US/UK NATO alliance is today, less than one mile from Russian soil. The hypocrisy is rank and the provocation real.
The colonial history of many Asian and African countries is shared by Scotland. Of course not everything that happened within, and as a consequence of the British Empire was bad. But it happened and colonisation is morally wrong and indefensible. It has to be accounted for and made right. That can be achieved by an ethical foreign policy. A new nation state needs a new start, karmically speaking. The goodwill that would be generated from such an honest and sincere endeavour, would have ripple effects throughout our social and economic space and be a significant driver in the years that immediately follow our independence.
Let us use our freedom wisely and use our diplomatic resources diplomatically, rather than as a cover for militarism, disguised as moderating and democratising countries that were all to often once coloured in colonial blood red on the world map. Liberalism at home is one thing but to construct one’s foreign policy on the basis of exporting it, is a recipe for disaster. It is illiberal. It is for others to determine how to live their lives on their own soil, in their own countries, not for us. It is for us to use our foreign policy to deal with these countries according to our values. Dealing with people and nations need not mean converting them to our social, religious and moral values. Live and let live would not be an inappropriate mantra to keep in mind at our new, clean, independent and sovereign Foreign and Defence Departments.
All the best for now,
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