Monday, 9 May 2016

New Atlanticist: Why NATO Allies Should Be Worried About the Scottish Elections

New Atlanticist: Why NATO Allies Should Be Worried About the Scottish Elections


by John Johnston

"The SNP leadership was only able to win the NATO vote by caveating the motion with the provision that Trident was to be permanently relocated from its current Clyde river base to one outside of Scottish borders. Owen Thompson, an SNP Member of Parliament, described the Trident system as “immoral, strategically useless weapons.” SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was “worried” about any country that possesses nuclear weapons—hardly a reassuring sign for the UK’s NATO partners.

Before the 2014 independence referendum, senior SNP officials were told in no uncertain terms by NATO that an independent Scotland would not be accepted as a member state while they fought a territorial dispute with the rest of the UK over the basing of the Trident fleet. Asked to clarify her position, Sturgeon made it clear that a nuclear-free, independent Scotland was a higher priority than retaining NATO membership. In fact, the SNP’s defense “policy base” has only two pillars: rejecting Trident’s renewal and stopping nuclear convoys from moving on Scotland’s roads.

If the SNP finds cause to hold another independence referendum, the fate of Trident’s basing or even the entire Trident program could be in jeopardy. Further impediment to this process will undoubtedly impact the UK’s defense posture and, consequently, its credibility as a strong NATO ally."

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