Two things are happening right now in relation to the question of whether an independent Scotland should be part of the nuclear-armed North Atlantic Treaty organisation (NATO).
It is obvious that within the Scottish National Party the defence spokesperson Angus Robertson is being allowed or encouraged by the leadership to promote a switch to a pro-NATO policy.
He has been publicly floating the idea for some weeks now and has not been slapped down by others in the leadership. The party which is best placed to form an administration in an independent Scotland is moving to the utterly contradictory position of wanting Trident out of Scotland but wishing to take a deliberate step to join a nuclear alliance.
The mix of ‘No to Trident’ with ‘Yes to NATO’ suggests that your ‘No to Trident’ is founded on something less than principle, something akin to NIMBYism (‘not in my backyard’-ism). If you want that mix, it makes me wonder just how committed you will be to removing Trident when the owners of the system on both sides of the Atlantic decide to play hardball.
A NATO future is like a submissive alignment with the Mafia bosses in one’s neighbourhood whose protection racket is ultimate ruination. To be inside that historically is one thing. To actually choose to enter it is complete lunacy.
Meanwhile, those who want an independent Scotland to mesh neatly into the power configurations of the status quo are out there making their case in the conventional media and at security conferences.
This means that the people of Scotland, who are, at least anecdotally, largely opposed to NATO’s wars and hegemonic tactics, are letting the establishment fill in their atavistic image of the future unhindered.
So a third thing is required – a real stushie [outraged uproar – Eds].
So far, ordinary SNP members who oppose Trident and NATO have been strangely coy about making a fuss about this, perhaps because they see that opening the controversy will pose a risk to the road to independence.
In fact, the real risk is that they will sleepwalk into a scenario in which much of their vision for a new Scotland is betrayed.
The peace movement itself needs to waken up and present the challenge over NATO to the country and the SNP and avoid playing along with limited NIMBY takes on nuclear disarmament.
Asking a different question
But this is not just about negatives, about abolishing the horrific apex of our policies of hate.
It is painful to see how the position of an independent Scotland in the world is largely defined in terms of ‘defence’ and ‘security’. The critical fragility of our present condition as a human race and a planet demands that we ask a different question.
What sort of contribution, however modest, can we make towards the peaceful global collaboration that is the only thing that offers any kind of future at all?