Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday publically stated that plans are in place for a second independence referendum. The move follows a narrow defeat for the Yes campaign in September 2014 and the subsequent decision for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, a decision the majority of the Scottish public voted against.
In the 24 hours since the public announcement, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated Scotland would not retain membership of NATO should Scotland become independent. Whilst this may be strictly true, the notion that NATO would reject Scotland’s application to join has been cited, but this would go against the best interests of the organisation. NATO will not be willing to leave the GIUK open and allow the opportunity for Russian encroachment in the region.
Scotland would be in control of a large part of the vital Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom passage, the section of the Atlantic Ocean that would potentially allow Russian naval forces free entry into the Atlantic. The straight is of vital strategic importance to NATO should tensions escalate to a level seen at any time during the Cold War. The purpose of NATO, to defend against Russia in the Cold War, would mean that any application Scotland makes would more than likely be automatically accepted.
With the announcement of an independence referendum in Scotland, we can expect to see more deceptions like this in the near future.