A Foreign Policy for Scotland

 Our neighbours continue to engage in illegal and pointless wars. 

These are extracts from the address on foreign policy to the Scottish Independence Convention conference at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow [2010] by Osama Saeed:

The spur that converted me to Scottish independence was to do with foreign policy. I was heavily involved in the anti-war movement and through it I came into contact with members of the SNP. From the thought that we wouldn’t have been dragged into that disaster if we had been independent, everything else flowed.

I describe myself as an internationalist nationalist. While opponents may like to deride us as wanting to opt out from the world, the opposite is the case. Yes, we can rid ourselves of the vestiges of a imperialist London foreign policy, but this means a greater role for Scotland in the world, not a lesser one . . .

Making Scotland a force for good in the world

We have to lead with our values making Scotland a force for good in the world:

  • meeting our obligation to giving 0.7% of GDP in aid, rather than dragging our heels for decades as the UK has;
  • being able to sing about our commitments on climate change to the world, rather than being frozen out of the key discussions as we were at Copenhagen last year;
  • upholding human rights and being against torture under any circumstances;
  • being the kind of country where Craig Murray [speaker on the same panel at the conference] could be ambassador!

Scotland could be an international centre for peace.

Witness the role played by Norway in brokering the Oslo accords. Angus Robertson, MP for Moray, brought delegations from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to Speyside for talks a few years ago.

As a nation that gave up nuclear weapons we would carry additional moral weight.

Much of the time, upholding these values can be seen as inhibiting trade. It leads to a political trade-off in deciding what is more important. However, Scotland as a force of good would also help with trade. The profile and stock of our country would rise.

Even more so if our neighbours continued to engage in illegal and pointless wars.

Read the full article here.

Note: Osama Saeed founded the Scottish Islamic Foundation, which offered to help protect an Edinburgh synagogue which was attacked during last year’s Gaza conflict.

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