NATO should make commitment to strengthen frameworks of nuclear non-proliferation, SNP says

NATO must make a “clear commitment” to strengthening the waning frameworks of nuclear non-proliferation and needs to establish a “permanent presence” on the alliance’s eastern flank, the SNP has warned.

In a submission document to NATO for the Strategic Concept, the party also called for NATO to create society-wide resilience to hybrid threats such as cyber-attacks and disinformation.

It reiterated an independent Scotland would be “best served” as a member of both NATO and the European Union, but said in the current situation in union with the UK, it would still continue to push for a comprehensive defence and security agreement between the UK and the EU.

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Last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the war in Ukraine had strengthened her belief that NATO membership post-independence was the right one given Scotland’s strategic defensive position in the north of Europe. However, the move puts the SNP at odds with the Scottish Greens - with which it is in a coalition at Holyrood.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds the closing press conference at NATO headquarters during the second of two days of defence ministers' meetings on June 16, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.
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A strong Nato, focused on Euro-Atlantic security, is undoubtedly in Scotland’s i...

MP Stewart McDonald, SNP spokesperson for defence, warned all nuclear-armed states were increasing or upgrading their arsenals and giving nuclear weapons a more prominent role in their military strategies, eroding global efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The SNP has long pushed to remove nuclear deterrent programme Trident from its home in Faslane and Coulport.

Mr McDonald said: "A resurgent Russia is currently prosecuting an illegal war of imperialist aggression on European soil, while the Chinese government openly contests the liberal rules based order which has ushered in an historically unpreceded era of global peace and prosperity. Our free and open societies are confronted by threats from within and without.”

NATO’s Strategic Concept document, which will define the security challenges facing the Alliance and outline the political and military tasks that NATO will carry out to address them, is set to be unveiled at the 2022 Madrid Summit. Since the end of the Cold War, the document has been updated approximately every 10 years to take account of changes to the global security environment and to make sure the Alliance is prepared for the future.

MP Stewart McDonald has called for a strengthening of anti-nuclear policies.

Mr McDonald described allies currently on the eastern flank of NATO as “canaries in the Alliance’s coalmine” and said there needed to be a “credible, visible and effective deterrence” against invasion.

He said: "We argue for a clear operational focus within the Euro-Atlantic area with a strengthened and permanent presence on NATO’s Eastern Flank, whilst making the case that the defence of our way of life can no longer be the sole preserve of the military when our societies and international system are also under threat. Recognising the vital role that citizens and private enterprise play alongside state institutions in upholding the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic region, the Strategic Concept should explicitly commit to building society-wide resilience to hybrid threats such as cyber-attacks and disinformation.

"The 2022 NATO Strategic Concept must also be explicit about the Alliance’s interest in upholding and strengthening the rules-based international order and must make a clear commitment to strengthening the waning frameworks of nuclear non-proliferation. The Concept must signal that Allies are willing to take action to uphold these interests and commit the Alliance to being more effective in creating consequences for breaches of international law.”

He said that he wanted the SNP to be an “engaged voice” in NATO issues.

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He added: “NATO and the European Union are the twin pillars that buttress the Euro-Atlantic security order and I believe that an independent Scotland’s interests will be best served as a full and active member of each organisation.

"Until Scotland secures its independence, I will continue to advocate for the closest possible relationship between NATO and the EU – including pushing for a comprehensive defence and security agreement between the UK and the EU – and will continue to ensure that the SNP remains an engaged voice in the Euro-Atlantic debate now taking place. The moment demands no less.”

Last month the SNP’s youth wing reversed years of opposition to NATO membership in a significant shift in policy. Young Scots for Independence said they now agreed with the mainstream SNP position that an independent Scotland should join NATO following an overwhelming vote.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has made Europe and the world a more dangerous place. That’s why the UK is taking leading role in efforts to adapt and modernise NATO to meet current and future threats, and why we are committed to maintaining our independent nuclear deterrent.

“We have also significantly boosted our military commitment to NATO’s eastern flank and we continue to work closely with our friends and partners to explore how we can further strengthen the Alliance’s defensive posture. In Scotland the presence of sites including RAF Lossiemouth and HMNB Clyde are critical assets which are cornerstones of the UK’s defence and that of its NATO allies.”

The Conservative party has been contacted for comment.



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