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     Scottish CND      Magazine

SNP Defence Spokesperson

Colin Campbell, SNP Defence Spokesperson.

The SNP has never deviated from the policy that there should be no nuclear weapons or nuclear powered craft stationed in Scotland. The SNP supported full participation in NATO but the stumbling block of first use of nuclear weapons made it modify its stance.

The SNP states that an independent Scotland should not be part of the NATO command structure, but should be in Partners for Peace and the North Atlantic Co-operation Council, both of which embrace former Warsaw Pact and neutral nations. An independent Scotland would also be in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the West European Union and would be prepared to make contributions to UN peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief operations

For someone who was constantly aware of the Cold War the current international situation is almost unbelievable: nuclear stocks have been reduced, NATO countries' defence budgets have been reduced by more than 20% since 1990, US forces in Germany have been cut from 300,000 to 100,000 and the British are bringing home the RAF from Germany and will surely contemplate reducing the army there too.

The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty allows mutual inspection of military assets at as little as 15 minutes notice. Russian representatives are in NATO headquarters, former Warsaw Pact nations are in NATO, and Russian troops have served under US command in SFOR in Bosnia. The chances of high intensity conflict of the type envisaged in the eighties has diminished. The lead in time to the start of major hostilities, with forces being brought up to full strength is now months, where previously it was days.

In these circumstances it is strange that Labour, which was unilateralist at the height of the Cold War, now finds itself committed to continuing the Tories' Trident policy!

Nuclear weapons are a relic of the UK's post imperial delusions of grandeur. It is time for the UK to realise its limitations and to equip its armed forces for the kind of low intensity conflict which is happening now. It will also have to maintain some expandable high intensity conflict ability, with conventional weapons and accurate delivery systems.

The annual 1.5 billion Trident bill is a waste of money and supports an illegal and immoral weapons system whose use would represent the failure of humankind. The money would be better spent on equipping conventional service personnel well, on civilian uses, or on defence diversification to ameliorate the effects of the inevitable defence job cuts created by the peace dividend.

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     Scottish CND      Magazine