In less than six months, voters in Scotland will be presented with a simple yes-or-no question with outsized significance: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” The September 18 vote on Scottish independence will have consequences across the United Kingdom and Europe, where other areas with distinct national, historic, and linguistic identities are also considering independence. The Scottish referendum has the consent of the UK’s government and has been deliberated through ongoing, open and comprehensive debate. However, despite adherence to established democratic norms and processes, questions remain regarding the economic, legal, social, political and security implications of the referendum. If Scots vote yes, the rest of the world would review its relationships with a newly-independent Scotland, including evaluating the automatic continuation of its memberships in political, currency, and security alliances.
On April 7, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) and the Project on International Order and Strategy (IOS) at Brookings hosted Lord George Robertson for an address on the historic Scottish referendum and the international consequences of the decision. The Right Honorable Lord George Robertson was Secretary General of NATO from 1999 to 2003. He was Britain’s Defense Minister from 1997 to 1999 and the Labor Party’s principal spokesman on Scotland from 1992 to 1997. He joined The Cohen Group as a Senior Counselor in 2004.