According to new Scottish political analyst firm European Merchants, the US election will “have an extraordinary impact” on America’s global direction, which will “produce significant effects for Scotland and the UK” on foreign policy, climate change and transatlantic relations.
However, whether it is Donald Trump or Joe Biden who is elected, the report says in the wake of Brexit, Scotland needs to take the initiative to build a “deeper bilateral political relationship” and “foster new mutually-beneficial partnerships across government, business and civil society” in the US to boost the Scottish economy.
Author of “Scotland's Outlook on America's Vote: Ramifications for Scotland of the 2020 US Presidential Election”, political scientist Anthony Salamone, said: “Scotland benefits from close political, economic, social and cultural connections with the US. Such connections must, however, be constantly renewed, and consideration should be now given to means to develop the US-Scotland relationship from Scotland’s present constitutional position.
“While the fundamentals are good for American interest in Scotland, nearly every other territory in the world is also seeking some form of relationship with the United States. Moreover, the US has continual major demands on its foreign policy attention, so the Scottish approach must be adroit and targeted.
"Additionally, it is imperative that US-Scotland relations are fully insulated from the Scottish independence debate. Internal constitutional affairs should not form part of Scotland’s external relations, including at the political level, else their practical value will be limited. To be sustained, positive bilateral relations must be focused on matters of mutual interest and opportunity."
However, Mr Salamone warns that if Mr Trump wins a second term, the Scottish Government should still seek to build a closer relationship “capable of transcending differences between governments”.
He said: “The focus for Scotland should be to nurture long-term links which can develop whatever government holds power in Washington or Edinburgh. It must be noted that Scotland will operate within the current limitations of its external action for years to come – as part of the UK or during a transition to independence.
"Purposeful consideration should now be given to how to proactively and strategically develop the US-Scotland relationship, whatever the result of the independence debate.”
He also suggests that should Scotland become independent in the future, the “debate on foreign affairs needs to become more realistic”.
Mr Salamone added: “The common idea that Scotland has to choose between close links with the EU or the US is wrong and needs to be called out. Scotland needs both relationships and should do more on both.
"The negativity around a trade deal with the US makes it harder to build new bridges. The US-Scotland relationship needs to be able to carry on regardless of different governments or differing points of view.”
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