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Scotland’s nuclear dodge

Proponents of Scottish independence have made the removal of nuclear-armed British submarines from Scotland’s waters a centerpiece of their campaign ahead of a Sept. 18 referendum. In Edinburgh, anti-nuclear politics reign.

Since the days of the Cold War, the Royal Navy has operated submarines armed with ballistic nuclear missiles out of Faslane, a base on the river Clyde, 25 miles northwest of Glasgow. Trident missiles are also stored at a Royal Navy armaments depot near Coulport village, 2 miles west of the Faslane base.

The left-wing, pro-independence Scottish National Party views the Trident as a symbol of British imperialism. “For decades we have been part of a Westminster system that has sought to project global power,” the SNP’s pro-independence white paper says. “Trident is an affront to basic decency with its indiscriminate and inhumane destructive power.”

Should the Scottish people vote to leave the United Kingdom, the SNP says, the Trident subs will have to be removed from Scotland’s waters by 2020.

An independent Scotland, the SNP argues, can still join NATO as a non-nuclear member no longer obliged to host strategic weapons. Yet NATO is a nuclear alliance, and the SNP position is a classic case of freeloading: The party wants Scotland to enjoy the benefits of the British and Western nuclear deterrent without having to bear its historical responsibility for maintaining it.

The SNP may imagine that the need for nuclear deterrence is a thing of the past, but sober people shouldn’t. The SNP’s nuclear dodge is another reason, if more were needed, for voters to reject its feckless politics.

The Wall Street Journal

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