Chasing the Nordic option after independence

Scotland the brave new world

The World Today Updated 4 March 2021 Published 3 June 2013 4 minute READ

Alyson Bailes

Adjunct professor, University of Iceland

Paul Ingram

Executive director, British American Security Information Council

Debates on the strategic implications of Scottish independence have centred on the future of nuclear submarine bases, the divvying-up of British armed forces, and Scotland’s ability to defend itself. But these are questions about the means rather than ends of a hypothetical Scottish security policy. What would be the broader foreign policy posture and wider security aims of a new, small, independent state in Northern Europe?

For a start, Scotland would have to defend its people against ‘new threats’ such as terrorism, crime, and illegal immigration and against accidents and natural disasters. It does some of this already under devolution but, as a separate state, it would need to join various related international conventions and specialized groupings. It would answer directly for its performance to the European Union and NATO, which the Scottish National Party (and presumably any prospective Scottish government) would propose to join.

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