Thursday, 1 November 2012

Is Scotland a Threat to Global Security?

The issue of Scotland’s potential post-independence approach to international relations is playing less of a role in public debates on independence than ought to be the case. However, the editorial board of the Washington Post (WP) caused somewhat of a stooshy today across Scotland by claiming that the referendum on Scottish independence is part of a “worrying trend”. Their main concern lies in how Scottish would affect “global security”, specifically that:

“An independent Scotland would significantly weaken the foremost military and diplomatic ally of the United States, while creating another European mini-state unable to contribute meaningfully to global security”.

If Scotland became independent then perhaps the UK, a leading ally of the US, would indeed be militarily weakened. This would mean no bridge between the US and the EU and less support for US military projects of “regime change” and “nation-building”. This would be a good thing for security and may force the US government to engage more diplomatically with states which offer alternative approaches to bombing the Middle East into ‘democracy’. The concern of the WP here is of course not the security of the globe. The WP is concerned about the ability of the US to maintain a position of power where it can pursue “security” projects abroad through military might and the support of key allies instead of through multilateral negotiation. This is about securing the hegemony of the alliances between actors in the US state and its leading corporations, which in recent years have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, privatised their industries, outlawed trade unions, and then seemingly expected democracy to spontaneously emerge.

The Washington Post acknowledged that “more local government can be more efficient, more democratic” yet also that “a weaker Europe means a less stable world and less leverage for the democracies”. Their political priorities are fairly clear here: we ought to choose to be less democratic in turn for more “collective strength”. However, if it made Scotland more democratic and the world less unipolar, then independence could only promote global security.

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