Scotland may face a significant decline in political and economic influence should it declare independence. Economically, it would fall to fifty-ninth in the world and would lose one of its two voices in the G20. In relation to power, it would no longer share a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and would become one of many voices in the global dialogue, unable to veto resolutions it opposes. The European Union would potentially require re-admission, potentially forcing Scotland to adopt the Euro as its currency. Diplomatically, Scotland would need to build direct relationships with every nation around the world, potentially at significant immediate financial costs. Militarily, Scotland would need to apply for NATO membership, or craft new alliances to ensure national security.
But Scotland would also gain. They would gain an independent voice that speaks for Scotland alone, rather than working to ensure their voice is heard when the UK speaks. Scotland would, dependent on membership, be able to have that voice in the UN, the EU, and the Commonwealth of Nations. It would also be able to decide its own military and diplomatic policies, and be able to ensure those policies are followed at all times.
However, the decision to vote for or against independence is about far more than just the influence on the world stage Scotland could gain or lose. This paper has only sought to briefly look at what Scotland has to gain and lose in relation to international politics, and I would encourage all Scots to look at all the other issues that are important when making a decision of this magnitude. Can Scotland support itself economically? Are the espoused policies of the SNP in line with what is best for the Scottish people? Is Scotland better off inside or outside of the UK?
I, for one, have an emotional attachment to the idea of a free and independent Scotland. But I am also British, and proud of being so. I also think the UK is better off with the voice of the Scots, the passion of the Scots, as part of the dialogue.
But, are the Scots better off?
I, as a Scot living in the United States, don’t get to decide yes or no on Scottish independence. My family back home in Scotland does. My friends across the pond do. I can simply encourage them to take emotion out of the decision, and choose what, in their opinion, will make Scotland stronger, better, more prosperous, and a country we can all continue to be proud of.
And, regardless of the outcome of the referendum on independence from the United Kingdom in late 2014, Scotland will continue to have an incredible cultural influence around the world, thanks to the Scottish Diaspora and the work we all do, every day, to celebrate, promote and advance Scotland in our adopted communities and countries. Combine that work, with the tireless efforts of the plethora of people who are not Scottish, but who love Scotland all the same, and who devote their efforts to celebrating our culture at every opportunity, and you have a Tartan Army, spreading Scottish influence globally, and ensuring Scottish culture influences daily life from the Far East to the Middle East, from London to Melbourne, from Moscow to St. Louis, USA, and all points between.