September 15, 2014
The Gatestone Institute, a New York-based neoconservative think-tank, has argued that Scottish independence will serve to encourage Vladimir Putin to go out and annex Eastern Ukraine as well as “reunite all Russian ethnic minorities in former Soviet republics with the Russian Motherland”.
In an article titled Will Scottish Independence Give Putin Pretext to Annex Eastern Ukraine?, yet another specter of doom is being conjured up, predicting doom and gloom if Scotland would take its destiny in its own hands. Following the recent avalanche of threats and semi-threats from banks, politicians and military experts, the Gatestone Institute dishes out another argument to vote No in the upcoming referendum:
“Putin will certainly use the Scottish precedent in an attempt to try to gain the moral high ground in the conflict over Russian ethnic minorities in Eastern Ukraine”, writes Peter Martino of the Institute, before adding: “Putin in the Kremlin has several reasons to cheer if the Scots decide to go their own way.”
Describing Putin as a “shrewd Machiavellian”, the institute suggests that a Yes-vote on the part of the Scottish electorate come September 18 will result in a cascade effect in other European regions.
“(…) a Scottish precedent would seriously handicap European governments in their attempts to convince public opinion of the need for a strong stance against Russia.”, Martino writes.
Already Catalonians have taken to the streets, demanding a similar referendum. Flemish regionalists are beginning to stir as they watch the neck and neck race in Scotland running to a fever pitch. Martino argues that all this talk of independence will only serve to weaken NATO’s fist that it has been shaking so violently towards Russia in the last couple of months, allowing Putin to continue along the path of international conquest.
The Gatestone Institute is not the only think-tank dealing the Putin-card in relation to the Scottish issue. On august 26, Business Insider featured a story by one James Cook (ahem) who actually attempts to make the case for the status quo, claiming Scotland would “leave its coastline at risk” as the British naval fleet would almost certainly depart its waters after an independent Scotland is declared.
The thing about Martino’s argument is that one can reach an entirely different conclusion based on the exact same arguments. For example: the increase of regions in Europe declaring independence will make it more difficult for Russia to declare war. After all: instead of fighting, say, the UK and Belgium, Russia would have to declare war on England, Wales, Scotland, Flanders, and Wallonia. NATO’s current golden rule, namely that “an attack on one of us, is an attack on all of us” would become “an attack on one of us, is an attack on each of us”, making Putin’s situation more problematic in the long run, for it would be hard to sustain the antagonism towards an increased number of sovereign nations.
Interesting to point out the Institute is being chaired by none other than crazed neocon John Bolton. That’s right, the same John Bolton who cheered on George W. Bush’s Iraq-war so vehemently, he almost knocked himself out.