I write in The National Interest on Tuesday that as the pro-independence ‘Yes’ campaign narrows the gap with unionists in advance of the September 19 referendum, and it becomes more feasible that Scotland could become an independent, sovereign country, the United States needs to start thinking about a cohesive foreign policy regarding Scotland.
First minister Alex Salmond (pictured above in New York earlier this month) is leading the ‘Yes’ campaign, and he’s been a thorn in US-British relations for quite some time — both to US president George W. Bush (Salmond vehemently opposed the US invasion of Iraq) and to Barack Obama (Salmond’s government in 2009 released Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, convicted for his role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, on health grounds).
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But if Scotland becomes an independent country, it will require a huge rethink for the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and the United Kingdom, and the economic, diplomatic and security consequences of what would presumably be a ‘special’ tripartite relationship among the United States, Scotland and the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland:
Though polls still show that the ‘No’ camp is leading, U.S. policymakers should be taking the possibility of an independent Scotland more seriously and, accordingly, preparing for the possible repercussions of a successful ‘Yes’ vote for U.S.-Scottish relations.
No third country has a greater stake in the outcome of the Scottish vote than the United States, which would have to reconfigure its ‘special relationship’ with what presumably would be the ‘United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland,’ while formulating a wholly new relationship with an independent Scotland. It’s a relationship that the United States has never had to consider seriously, given that when Scotland and England merged with the Act of Union in 17o7, the original American colonies were still sixty-nine years away from declaring independence.
Do read the whole piece here.
Photo credit to Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images.