19 Feb 2012: Scottish independence: US debates UK break-up
Alex Salmond’s plans to remove Trident submarines from Scotland are to be raised in the US, in a fresh sign of the global ramifications of Scotland’s independence referendum. The issues will be discussed next month in Washington at a Friends of Scotland caucus, which includes 66 congressmen and senators. Organizers say senior US politicians are only just beginning to examine the implications for America if Scotland was to become independent and the UK to break up.
Senior defense figures have now questioned whether the UK could continue to have nuclear weapons, currently based at Faslane, if an independent Scotland insisted they be removed, because of the cost of finding and maintaining a new base.
On the economy, caucus organizers suggest that the break-up of the UK could shake markets across the world.
The event, entitled Political and Economic Implications for the United States should Scotland leave the United Kingdom to become an Independent Nation, will set out the key US interests.
“The geopolitical ramifications on US foreign and economic policy, and the impact on our national security strategy of an independent Scotland have not been well aired in the USA,” an advance notice states. “Before coming to power, the Scottish National Party long called for Scotland, to include the removal of nuclear submarines from their base at Faslane, in western Scotland. What would be the impact for the US if these things were to happen?”
The notice also says that the impact on global markets of a break-up of the UK could be “quite destabilizing, with ripple effects on the American economy. Few Scottish-Americans have publicly focused on these aspects”.
The event which started on 28 March 2012 with a video address from Alex Salmond was organised by the US National Capital Tartan Day Committee.
It’s chairman Robert Murdoch, a noted Pittsburgh lawyer said “This symposium will be useful for an exchange of ideas on the issues surrounding independence. Will there be a Scottish pound and an English pound, for example. My gut feeling is that independence will not happen. But if Scotland were to vote for independence, it could ultimately strengthen the ties with the US.”
The first signs of US concern over independence came in a report written by a veteran US Congressional defense analyst, Robert L Goldich, which suggested that Scottish independence “might not be too good” for American defense and foreign investment.
Goldich raised questions over how much Scotland would cooperate with Nato; the armed forces, intelligence and anti-terrorism services of “a truncated United Kingdom”; as well as those in other western democracies, including the US.
The SNP spokesman for External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Our international friends are watching the debate on Scotland’s future keenly, and those in the US can be sure that an independent Scotland will continue the strong and longstanding bonds of friendship and cooperation between our nations.” (The Scotsman)
11 Sep 2014: Congress split over Scottish Independence
The heads of the Friends of Scotland Caucus and the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus are split over whether Scottish voters should declare their independence and break away from Great Britain in a referendum on Thursday.
While the Friends of Scotland Caucus is officially neutral, Co-Chairman John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) broke from many lawmakers and from the Obama administration, which have indicated support for Scotland remaining part of the U.K. when he said: “I think it would be a good thing for Scotland to be independent, because when it comes to government, smaller is better, and closer to the people is better, If they follow free-market, small-government policies, they could become very, very prosperous.”
Duncan’s co-chairman, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), is in a unique position because he also leads the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus. His office did not respond to a request for comment.
Duncan and McIntyre introduced a resolution stating that the referendum is a decision that can only be made by the Scottish people and that they believe “a strong and prosperous Scotland is important for United States national priorities.”
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), a co-chairman of the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus, said: “I personally believe that it will be much better for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland if the United Kingdom stay united. If Scotland were to separate, this will only be a further negative disruption to global stability and the world economy. I hope the people of Scotland vote ‘no,’ but I do not get a vote.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said: “We certainly respect the right of individual Scots to make a decision about, along these lines,” Earnest said. “But, you know, as the president himself said we have an interest in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united and an effective partner.”
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced a separate resolution advocating for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom stating: “It’s clear from this side of the Atlantic that a United Kingdom, including Scotland, would be the strongest possible American ally.” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, co-sponsored Sherman’s resolution.
Right winger, the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who claims Scots-Irish heritage, said: “To break up what is left of Great Britain, I think, would not be good for their economy, but I’m not going to tell them how they ought to vote,” McCain said. (The Hill)
Comment: The 2012 event contained a number of negative references to the SNP policy of a independent Scotland leaving NATO which is no longer the case. We stay!!! What is of concern is the credence given to a caucus which had only one member in favour of Scottish independence and he has since retired from politics.
What is required of US politicians is a caucus that fully supports the aims and aspirations of Scots, and its name should reflect this. The Friends of Scotland Caucus still functions but numbers are reduced to 18 from a high of 68. (https://www.billtrack50.com/committee/8784)