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Scotland secession could lead to re-Balkanization of Europe ("The Washington Post", US)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:21 | Hits: 28176 |

This time next year, the country known as the United Kingdom may be about to disappear.

If Scotland’s separatist government gets its way in a referendum planned for September, the 300-year-old union of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland — the United States’ oldest and closest ally — will be on the road to disintegration.

That is a dramatic, though accurate, way of describing the possible secession of Scotland from one of the world’s most successful political, social and economic unions.

The ties that bind the United Kingdom are strong, but there would be profound international implications should the Scottish people choose secession. The residual United Kingdom would still be a major player in the world, but upon losing a third of its land mass, 5 million of its population and a huge amount of credibility, its global standing would inevitably diminish.

The global balance would be substantially upset should one of the West’s key unions, and its second-biggest defense power, split up. The United Kingdom has always punched above its weight diplomatically and militarily. A breakup would have a serious effect on its role in the world — all the more so because Britain’s nuclear-deterrent base is in Scotland, and those advocating separation have pledged to expel it. With the United States and other countries viewing a possible British withdrawal from the European Union as negative, how much more disturbing would they find a breakup of the country itself?

The ripple effects would not be limited to the United Kingdom. Other separatist movements in Europe are watching the Scottish debate with undisguised interest. In Spain, more than a million Catalans have turned out in the streets calling for independence. In the Basque Country, separatist violence has waned, but the desire for a separate state remains. In Belgium, whose unity hangs on a thread, Flemish nationalists have made it clear that if Scotland has a free pass to the European Union and NATO, they would be next in line. There could be more breakaways to come.

The re-Balkanization of Europe should give many pause. In a fragile, unstable world where problems and solutions are going global, going local would benefit no one. Separatism offers little by way of comfort to worried populations. It promises more strife and dissension.

Scotland’s nationalists gained control in the country’s devolved Parliament two years ago. Now they like to say that everything will change but also stay the same. This is not convincing. Secession is secession; a separate state is just that.

Consider their claim to continuity. It has been promised that Scotland would keep the same queen, the same single market and regulatory regime (this depends on the outcome of difficult and not necessarily favorable negotiations), the same currency (this presumes a euro-like currency, about which the other nations of the United Kingdom are skeptical or outright hostile) and E.U. membership (the decision process on whether to include a new country would be contentious).

Separatists pledge the same TV programming (but with a Scottish authority taking over from the BBC) and membership in NATO (even though their strident anti-nuclear stance would effectively bar them from a nuclear alliance).

All these assertions were spelled out in a 670-page blueprint published last month by the Scottish government. Already, it’s clear that serious questions about currency, taxation and pensions will not be answered until the breakup vote — and, indeed, cannot be until negotiations are concluded. The proclamation that a Scotland divorced from the rest of Britain would be richer, healthier, more influential and fairer has not been substantiated. What’s on offer? A real pig in a poke.

I doubt that my fellow Scots will take the drastic blind step that secession would require. Support in the polls refuses to rise above 30 percent. But this is no romantic “Braveheart” moment. The separatists are deadly serious, well-organized and well-funded.

Britain’s friends around the world need to pay attention. A dangerous historic event might soon be upon us — with few people outside the U.K. even noticing.

George Robertson 08/01/2014

Lord George Robertson held the post of Secretary General of NATO in 1999-2003. He served as Defence Secretary for the United Kingdom from 1997 to 1999 and Chairman of the Labour Party in Scotland in 1992-1997.

Оригинал публикации: Scotland secession could lead to re-Balkanization of Europe

Publication date: 06/01/2014



As the article suggests, Scotland’s secession could start a possible avalanche of separation: Catalonia, Flanders and others.

Evidently, the “divide and conquer” principle acts in relation to the United Kingdom. And somebody is definitely steering this secession, but not the Europeans themselves. Any separation weakens. Today, even any hints towards a secession weaken. Separation processes in Europe are commencing at the same time as the “Arab spring” continues in the Middle East, where NATO forces and/or sponsored separatists aggravate the social, political and economic situation. With that in mind, one can see that such processes of global politics are aimed at opening possibilities of realization of a multi-variant scenario of war between Christian Europe and “Islamic” fundamentalism. The latter has nothing in common with the Quran, the source of Islam.

The above does not mean that no actions should be taken. Staying on the sidelines is not possible; every new action or inaction irreversibly change the current state of affairs. Europe can no longer consume resources based on the current export-import relations, dividing countries into natural resources exporters, industrialists and consumers (service-centered). This has to be accepted.

Europe as whole, and Scotland in particular, has to choose:

  • whether to continue being an instrument in the politics of slowing down of human progress (moral, not technical) through systems of unlimited consumption and the culture of hedonism,
  • or to take the path of providing for development of the cognitive-creative potential of every member of the population.

In order to move towards realization of human potential, the basic principles of social construction should be reviewed. In the process of this review, transition to different governance principles is necessary. We would like to propose some of these principles for discussion:

  • creation of a new social culture and education system, aimed at development of the cognitive-creative human potential, abandonment of the modern suppression of human psyche and genetics, and destruction of the family institution;
  • orientation of the economy towards the prioritary provisioning of natural demographic needs of people, with gradual decrease of provisioning of unnatural needs in the society;
  • strict standards of business activity, which exclude the possibility of exploitation of people;
  • support of self-governance, in particular allowing workers to control their labour conditions (ie “whistleblowing” system);
  • support of informal education (self-education) and its official recognition in employment.

Proposed measures could finally open possibilities for personal growth and creativity for all people. They could also kick-start the formation of a new, humane culture and productive cooperation in Europe.

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