Sunday, October 14, 2012

Scotland, NATO and Nuclear Weapons

I have recently seen some absurd arguments on this topic. While I tend to try to stay away from politics on this blog, I find it necessary to comment.

There are 28 nations in the NATO alliance: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States.

There is something very interesting about that list. Of those 28 nations in NATO, only three have nuclear weapons: France, the US and the UK. That means they at least more or less have their own weapons (although whether the UK could use theirs without input from the US is open to question). However, there are this time five nations of NATO that allow nuclear weapons -- mostly operated and guarded by US forces -- upon their soil in what is called "nuclear sharing": Belguim, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

That's it. Twenty-eight nations in NATO, and only eight have nuclear weapons on their soil. Twenty do not.

Canada "hosted" nuclear weapons until 1984 when they were expelled from the country. Until 2001 nuclear weapons were "hosted" in Greece at which time they were expelled from that country. Now in Scotland in the run-up to the referendum, there are many people who will tell you that Scotland cannot be part of the NATO alliance unless they allow nuclear weapons in the waters of the River Clyde, next to their most populous city!

Every nation that has been admitted in the past few years, and there has been a number of them, (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland) has been admitted WITHOUT imposing nuclear weapons upon them on their own soil. But supposedly, according to some, Scotland would be expelled -- as it is now in effect a member as a part of the UK -- if it does not meekly agree to nuclear weapons in its waters.

Frankly, the argument is risible.

I am not getting into the argument about whether Scotland should be an independent or not. That is not my business. In the autumn of 2014, the people of Scotland will rightfully decide that matter in a referendum. But they must be given facts upon which to decide. It would be a travesty for the decision to be based upon lies perpetrated by pro-Union politicians and those who are simply in opposition to NATO.

Edited to add: Congratulations to my many friends in Scotland today on the signing of the agreement between the Scottish Government and the UK Government on a referendum for Scottish independence. Alba gu brĂ th!

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