Scottish Independence: The Commonwealth of Nations

Part 8 of an 11-part look at Scottish independence and its potential impact on Scottish influence

The Commonwealth of Nations is not something most American’s are familiar with, but for those member nations it is a key diplomatic relations organization. It is an organization with a membership of 54 nations, of which 52 were part of the British Empire in the past. These nations have made a commitment to the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace.[i]

The Commonwealth has two key goals, and these goals see each member nation working in partnership with each other, via governmental, private and NGO cooperation such as found in the pluralist model of international relations.[ii] Goal one is the promotion of peace and democracy, and goal two is pro-poor growth and sustainable development.[iii] The Commonwealth also supports and promotes citizen diplomacy through events such as the Commonwealth Games, which are similar to the Olympics but only participated in by the members of the Commonwealth and are committed to “uniting the Commonwealth through sport.”[iv]

The current Head of the Commonwealth is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The United Kingdom is a member nation, and, should Scotland declare independence they would have to apply for membership.[v] The Scottish Government has declared it would be their intention to become a full member of the Commonwealth.[vi]

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[i] “Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles 1971”. thecommonwealth.org. Commonwealth Secretariat. 22 January 1971.

[ii] Viotti, Paul R. & Mark V. Kauppi (2007) Chapter 1, “Theory, Images, and International Relations: An Introduction” in International Relations and World Politics: Security, Economy and Identity, p. 10.(Allyn and Bacon)

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