Being a strategist by training, I've repeatedly questioned the SNP's defense policies, which are sort of a giant, incoherent mess. About a year and a half ago - before I even got to Scotland - somebody wrote up an op-ed that I took some interest in. It's short and worth the read, but it essentially boils the SNP's stated defense policies down and compares them with reality to conclude the following:
All of the above basically put [...] Scotland wouldn’t have enough of an army to defend even Inverness.I had a discussion with one of my Scots Nationalist friends a while back, in which he dismissed my concerns about Scottish defense by saying that an independent Scotland's strategic concerns would be "mostly internal", and that they could be dealt with by way of European Union cooperation. Putting aside for a moment the inconvenient fact that Scotland's post-secession membership in the EU would in no way be guaranteed, the position of the SNP is that they will rely more heavily on the post-secession United Kingdom for its defense, and to a greater degree the United States; and this would take place without Scottish input in terms of force provision or strategic planning. (That's also skimming over the fact that strategic concerns being "mostly internal" suggests that Scottish independence would lead to an internal insurgency, though that's not what my friend meant and I don't have any expectation that it would happen. that said, it does give an indication of the level of sophistication with which Scots nationalists have thought this whole thing through.) As the author goes on to say:
So, if they mess up this area of policy, what are the chances others are messed up?As that article says, First Minister Salmond and his political allies are fond of comparing a notional independent Scotland to Norway. I continue to believe that it's an apples-to-oranges comparison, but be that as it may, my buddy Chops sent me this comic a few weeks ago. For the record, I don't get the impression that the English are actually prone to making fun of Scotland's proverbial hat, or that Scandinavian countries necessarily have much more than a passing affinity for their extremely distant Scottish cousins (Scots having actually come from Ireland, vice Orcadians and Shetlanders who actually have slightly more solid ethnic and cultural ties to the Nordic states.)
I remain skeptical of the proposed Scottish secession referendum, but I'm also willing to be convinced that the SNP has a plan and a justification for secession. The wait continues.