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Showing posts with label Scotland nuclear policy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland nuclear policy. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 April 2012

SNP, NATO and the New Statesman

The New Statesman carries an article today The SNP’s NATO u-turn and its third and fourth paras purport to set out the arguments of those opposed to a u-turn on NATO. They are. in my view, a distortion of the core arguments, and omit the key argument, so I have posted the following comment -


In your third and fourth paras you set up straw man arguments to knock done. I am a committed independence and SNP supporter and party member. The real core arguments are these:-

1. NATO is firmly committed to nuclear weapons and the concept of nuclear deterrence, and only a unanimous vote by all 28 member states can change that policy (29 member states if rUK remains a member and Scotland becomes a member after independence.) In other words, while the nuclear member states dominate, they can veto any attempt to abandon nuclear weapons.

2. From NATO site: "Whilst the North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the ultimate authority within NATO, the Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) which meets annually in Defence Ministers format is the ultimate authority within NATO with regard to nuclear policy issues."

3. A democratic vote or consent to use nuclear weapons by the member states is not required to launch a nuclear strike. (The authorisation of the Kosovo bombing provides a salutary example of how things might work. Effectively, the USA military decides, supported by UK and France)

4. The situation of Scotland is fundamentally different from that of any other member state - it hosts the UK nuclear deterrent, and if it insists on the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland, rUK cannot host them and will cease to be a nuclear power. This poses a threat to NATO's nuclear stance that is posed by no other member state.

Although Scotland will reiterate its non-nuclear policy after independence, it must negotiate the manner and timescale of the removal of Trident and nuclear-armed submarines from Scottish waters.

To suggest that it can use membership of NATO as a bargaining chip against that background and sustain its non-nuclear policy is ludicrous. If it joins, it will be with the quid pro quo, at best, of indefinite postponement of removing Trident, paying lip service to their removal.

5. No non-nuclear nation, i.e. none of the 25 member states, and certainly not Scotland as the 26th, should be a member of a defence alliance that can - and would - launch a nuclear strike in their name without their authority. That is the bottom line.