On Tuesday, April 9th I ventured to the Brookings Institute to sit in on a conversation on Scotland’s hopeful independence featuring Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond. As the leader of the Scottish Parliament as well as the Scottish independence movement, Mr. Salmond provided a compelling argument as to why Scotland would make for a “Good Global Citizen” in its future as an independent nation. Some of the points that Mr. Salmond addressed in his argument included future relationships with the rest of the world, membership in international institutions, and priorities in foreign and diplomatic affairs.
Mr. Salmond opened his argument with remarks about the close ties between the U.S. and the Scotland region, referring to how many 20 million Americans claim Scottish heritage and emanate a spirit of Scottish pride. He added that he hoped that these close ties would lead to a strong international relationship between two independent nations if the referendum for Scottish independence churned out a “yes” vote next autumn. In fact, Mr. Salmond hopes to continue relationships with other nations, as well as membership in international institutions such as the UN, European Union, and NATO. His vision of an independent Scotland is one of little change, save for independent power in international affairs.
According to Mr. Salmond, it is only a matter of common sense that Scotland should become its own independent nation. Scotland is already active in supporting climate and energy programs, including adopting the toughest climate control program in the world. The region is becoming a role model for independent nations in terms of climate control and energy concerns. Mr. Salmond then proceeded to end his discussion by quoting a speech by John F. Kennedy made in 1963: “nationalism must embrace internationalism”. For a region that is already distinct in some international concerns such as climate control, why shouldn’t it have the power to independently control international decisions- or its own defense and taxes in the welfare system either, for that matter?