Independent Scotland should not join NATO despite Russian war in Europe, Greens insist

An independent Scotland would be better off staying out of the NATO military alliance, the Scottish Greens have said.

The party – which will hold its spring conference on Friday – has no plans to change its defense policy despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It puts the Greens at odds with the SNP as the Nationalists dropped their long-held opposition to NATO in 2012.

Both parties remain opposed to nuclear weapons and are committed to removing them from Faslane if a majority of Scots vote for independence in the future.

A senior defense figure today warned that relocating the UK’s nuclear deterrent represented a threat to European security.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has already forced several European counties to reexamine their military spending and approaches to defence.

Finland and Sweden are both members of the EU but have never joined NATO.

A poll out last week found that a majority of Finns now support joining the military alliance amid fears over what Vladimir Putin could do next.

The Greens have previously argued that an independent Scotland should immediately sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which would make the Trident submarines at Faslane illegal and force their removal.

A spokesman for the Greens said: “Our position on NATO is longstanding and well understood.

“As a democratic party any change in that position would be down to members, but as the world changes we would always look for ways to ensure peace and cooperation.

“One only has to look at the important role the EU has played this week in terms of sanctions and practical support for Ukraine to see an example of a close working relationship between neighbours, not all of whom are members of the NATO alliance.”

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There are no set criteria for joining NATO but aspiring candidates must meet certain political and other considerations.

It comes as a retired defense chief warned that SNP and Green plans to remove nuclear submarines from the Clyde could imperil European security.

Rear Admiral John Gower, a former submarine commander, warned that pulling out Trident subs would leave the West seriously exposed.

“To leave Faslane and Coulport in short order after a referendum, and that is the SNP’s position, would represent a very significant threat to the UK deterrent,” he told the Sunday Times.

“A precipitate departure from Faslane would represent a clear and present risk to that deterrent.

“Seeing the departure of nuclear weapons from an independent Scotland might be seen as an easy gimme, a cozy feel-good risk-free by-product of independence for many Scottish voters.”

“However, they need to be made aware, on a factual basis, of the repercussions for Scotland, the rest of the UK, the wider Nato alliance.”

He added: “Should the First Minister succeed in triggering a second independence referendum, the Scottish people should be in no doubt about the potential effect on the UK deterrent and thus in the worst cases the consequences to the security of the Nato alliance and broader European security.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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