A strong NATO, focused on Euro-Atlantic security, is undoubtedly in Scotland’s interest – Stewart McDonald MP


This will happen at a time when we are witnessing an illegal war of aggression waged by Russia against a democratic and sovereign Ukraine. Thousands have already been killed or maimed. Millions have been displaced. Large parts of the country are illegally occupied and besieged, with some of the worst war crimes imaginable being committed.

A new report from the New Lines Institute and the Wallenberg Center for Human Rights outlines Russia’s numerous violations of the genocide convention in Ukraine. It describes in painstaking detail the forensic level of planning and execution of crimes by the Russian Federation against our European compatriots, and the duty imposed on the signatories of the convention to prevent these crimes.

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Ukrainian servicemen fire a French 155 mm / 52 Caesar caliber self-propelled gun towards Russian positions on a front line in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

If NATO leaders had been warned of this reality when the last Strategic Concept was published in 2010 – a document that only matters after the Washington Treaty itself – no one would have believed it. . Yet here we are.

In response to the invasion of Ukraine in February, we saw governments across Europe react quickly and with clear objectives. Germany upended decades of energy and defense policy by canceling Nordstream2 and increasing defense spending by €100 billion. At more than 60%, Danish voters approved the end of their historic EU defense waivers in a national referendum. Sweden and Finland ended generations of military non-alignment by applying for NATO membership.

Russia’s new assault on Ukraine is Europe’s 9/11. It marks a major turning point for the continent and compels all of us, including my own party, to engage actively in building a new Euro-Atlantic security order that reflects the harsh reality of a continent at war.

In my five years as Defense Spokesperson for the SNP, I have always sought to engage constructively in ongoing defense debates in the UK and Europe. Although I believe that an independent Scotland as a member of both NATO and the EU – the two pillars of modern European security – offers our best option for strengthening and contributing to regional security, as long as Scotland is in the UK, I have always sought to make a thoughtful contribution to the UK’s security posture, because I believe that is what our constituents would expect. This is why I advocate a comprehensive defense and security treaty between the UK and the EU – which could provide a productive path to restoring relations with the bloc.

My recommendations for the next Strategic Concept are based on three key elements: strengthening the state, society and the international system. States must always have a solid defense position to face the modern threat image. Our society must always be resilient to a dynamic range of threats such as pandemics, hostile disinformation and cyberattacks. Our international system – under attack like never before – needs a renewed and robust range of rules and standards to protect our people from the misery of war, and these treaties need to be constantly updated to reflect the new technologies of the war.

NATO is backed by over 70% of Scots who have a wide range of views on the constitution. A strong NATO, focused on Euro-Atlantic security, is undoubtedly in Scotland’s interest. That’s why I think it’s important that as a party that wants Scotland to be a member of NATO and the EU, we show confidence and resolve in the changing security debate in our own neighborhood. That’s what I hope to deliver before the summit in Madrid this month.

Stewart McDonald MP, SNP Defense Spokesperson

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