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  • The Defense Implications of Scottish Independence

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on September 10th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Trident Nuclear Submarine HMS Victorious

    America 3.0 coauthor James C. Bennett has a post on National Review Online entitled What are Defense Implications of Scottish Independence?

    Bennett notes: “First, it takes 5 million plus taxpayers, and most of the North Sea oil base, out of the funding available to keep the U.K. within the minimum 2 percent GDP contribution to its defense capabilities that NATO calls for … .” It will reduce Britain’s defense capabilities, and make Scotland a security free-rider.

    Second, it will likely require Britain to remove the nuclear submarine base from Faslane, which is the base for Britain’s Vanguard class Trident ballistic missile submarines. Britain’s entire nuclear deterrent force is on these submarines. Building a new base to replace Faslane will be an enormous new expense at a time of declining defense budgets.

    Bennett also notes that the Scots seem to have erroneous ideas about the prospects of making their country more socialistic than it already is.

    But, as Bennett notes, a defeat for the independence referendum could mean a move toward a more federal United Kingdom, which would be more interesting than just another small, socialist ethnic enclave in Europe.

    RTWT.

    UPDATE: This article, entitled SCOTLAND’S REFERENDUM: TO GREAT MICHAEL OR CALUM’S ROAD? is also very good.

     

    8 Responses to “The Defense Implications of Scottish Independence”

    1. ErisGuy Says:

      England::Scapa Flow
      USA::Subic Bay

    2. Grurray Says:

      Let’s take a step back here and look at this a different way.

      If Scotland does go independent, it will take its Euro-loving MPs with it. Euro-skeptics will dominate Parliament and could pave the way for the UK (or what’s left of it) to leave the EU.
      Meanwhile the EU will take its own sweet time admitting Scotland after the debacles that are Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, etc. That’s supposing it does at all because its last potential entry has caused a war.

      NATO, on the other hand, has been described lately as a council of Europeans who get together and decide how the Americans will defend them.
      How long before we Americans cut our losses and say, we’ll defend our real friends and leave the rest of you basket cases to figure it out for yourselves?

      I’m surprised James C. Bennett, the man who introduced most of us to the concept of the Anglosphere, doesn’t see this for what it is – the opportunity of the century.
      This could be the end of the EU, the beginning of the end of NATO, and the beginning of the English Speaking Union.

    3. James Bennett Says:

      I can construct scenarios in which Scotland’s secession has positive outcomes similar to what you describe. I just don’t have any great confidence that they would prevail.

      As for NATO, Mike and I discuss it at some length in America 3.0. Right now I think we are better off with it than without it. It actually doesn’t cost much, and it preserves capabilities in force interoperability that would from a practical standpoint be impossible to rebuild if they were allowed to lapse. I suspect the SNP will have to let the rUK use Faslane for another twenty years even if they do win the referendum. Calling it a NATO base rather than an English base will probably be the fig leaf needed to save SNP face in that event.

    4. East Anglian Says:

      “First, it takes 5 million plus taxpayers… out of the funding available to keep the U.K. within the minimum 2 percent GDP contribution to its defense capabilities that NATO calls for … .”

      But very few net taxpayers. Scots are more dependent on the dole and government make-work jobs than England.

    5. Mike K Says:

      “I suspect the SNP will have to let the rUK use Faslane for another twenty years even if they do win the referendum. Calling it a NATO base rather than an English base will probably be the fig leaf needed to save SNP face in that event.”

      I think the Filipinos are still regretting the closing of Subic Bay. That was a very short sighted decision in response to some demagoguery.

      “But very few net taxpayers. Scots are more dependent on the dole and government make-work jobs than England.”

      Unless things have changed recently, the only part of UK with a positive GDP is southeast England around London.

    6. Robert Schwartz Says:

      If I understand the referendum correctly, it is not self executing. If the yeas have it, Scotland is not ipso facto independent. The next step would be negotiating terms and having them approved by the UK parliament. There are a number of issues that might become insuperable, such as EU membership (a number of other states such as Spain will oppose Scottish membership because of their own issues) and NATO membership.

      Is it not possible that the process will end with a US stile federation rather than Scottish independence? I think a major issue in that case might be whether a separate legislature is established for England that would handle the issues that are devolved on Scotland, Wales & N. Ireland.

    7. ErisGuy Says:

      As I recall the Parti Québécois screamed long and loud for independence, finally won, and… lost their nerve. Catalonia, Brittany, Piedmont, Tuscany, and more yet only two independent states have come into being: Iceland and Slovakia without bloodshed (e.g. Yugoslavia).

      “just another small, socialist ethnic enclave in Europe”

      Somebody must set a bad example. Can’t let the Russians do it all by themselves.

    8. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      >>I think the Filipinos are still regretting the closing of Subic Bay. That was a very short sighted decision in response to some demagoguery.

      I work with a Filipina with the same view. When Clark Field and Subic Bay closed, an enormous amount of money left the Philippine economy. Not to mention the security they provided, free of charge. The Philippines are now a sitting duck with some very powerful neighbors.