Ex-NATO Chief Cautions Scottish Independence Would Be ‘Cataclysmic’

(Reuters) – An ex-secretary general of NATO has warned that Scottish independence would be “cataclysmic” since breaking up Britain would rob the West of a premium anchor of stability and solidarity at a hard time.
An ex-British defense minister and NATO head from 1999 to 2003 George Robertson, said a vote for independence at a September 18 referendum would wear away Britain’s role in the West and undermine the international balance of power.
Robertson, a Scot, said Scotland clearing its 307-year tie with England would have outcomes across Europe, triggering a potential fragmentation secede movements in Catalonia and the Basque country in Spain and in Belgium followed suit.
“The loudest cheers for the break-up of Britain would be from our adversaries and from our enemies,” Robertson said in a speech delivered at the Washington-based U.S. think tank, the Brookings Institution, late on Monday. An audio recording of the speech was made accessible on the think tank’s web.
“For the second military power in the West to smash this year would be cataclysmic in geopolitical terms: Nobody should underestimate the effect all of that would have on existing international balances and the forces of darkness would simply appreciate it.”
He said dividing the United Kingdom, Washington’s staunchest ally on the international stage, would spearhead to a torrid, tough divorce that would take years and deprive the West of a serious partner at a time “when firmness and cool nerves will be fundamental” amid renewed territorial pressure.
He cautioned the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) promise to do away with Britain’s Trident nuclear submarine fleet from western Scotland would also have broader implications.
Ripple impact
“It is one thing to unilaterally defuse yourself but to unilaterally defuse your neighbor is playing with fire,” Robertson said. “The ripple impacts will go much broader than our own shores.”
Saying this was not a purely domestic matter, Robertson urged the U.S. government and other United Kingdom allies to make their observations public as Scottish independence would influence them too by undermining stability within the region.
Robertson’s comments emerge as Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond was in New York on a business mission.
The Scottish government rejected Robertson’s comments as “crass and offensive” and that he added nothing positive to the discussion.
Opinion polls have limited this year although the nationalists carry on to trail in support, with the economy and future currency becoming as big battlefields in the discussion.
British economic research group, the National Institute of Economic alongside Social Research (NIESR), declared on Tuesday it would not be in the interests of Scotland or the rest of the UK to share the pound after independence.
This contradicts the SNP’s opinion that both states would save on currency conversion costs if Scotland kept sterling, a proposal undoubtedly thrown out by the main UK parties. NIESR said the cost of a prospective currency menace if a sterling union broke up would dwarf other savings.
NIESR also said Scottish independence may ring alarm bells when ratings agencies glimpsed at the rest of the UK’s general government debt as a share of GDP. This is possible rise above 100 % due to the Westminster government’s commitment to honor all united kingdom debts, and seek separate remunerate from Scotland.

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