Douglas Murray is horrified by the prospect of less interventionism after a ‘yes’ vote:
Debating some of this yesterday with a Nat on Sky it was put to me that one benefit of independence might be that Scotland could become a kind of Switzerland. Perhaps that is what the Nats are after. But that idea is what upsets and angers me most [bold mine-DL]. There is always a question of what we want to be in the world. And I know what the Scots Nats appeal to. It is the same thing petty nationalists the world over appeal to – the parochial, the inward-looking, the idea that we can avoid the world and believe that the problems of the world are not our problems. In fact everything they appeal to is precisely the opposite of what has made the Scottish people and the Union great. It seems to me that it would be an unspeakable tragedy if at the end of centuries of leading the world – and even, on occasion, let’s not forget, saving the world – the end-point of Britain was to be a hybrid of the Balkans and Switzerland.
I don’t know whether an independent Scotland would definitely become a “kind of Switzerland,” but it is revealing that this possibility so thoroughly appalls and angers some unionists and their hawkish sympathizers outside the U.K. If Scotland were able to become a “kind of Switzerland”–prosperous, well-governed, free, neutral, at peace with its neighbors–it would put the lie to every alarmist argument from the unionist side, and it would undoubtedly be a good thing for people living in Scotland. It would mean that Scotland was a normal country that tended to its own affairs. That doesn’t necessarily mean “avoiding the world,” but it does mean not going out of one’s way to start wars or unnecessarily join ongoing conflicts on other continents. It takes a very strange mind to imagine this and conclude that it is a tragedy.
Bret Stephens holds a similar view:
More often, small countries are merely insignificant countries; petty in their politics and limited in their horizons. Think of Slovenia, Slovakia and soon, perhaps, Scotland.
In other words, small countries can often be normal, reasonably successful countries. They don’t aspire to reorder other nations’ political structures or dictate terms to foreign governments, and so their horizons are said to be “limited.” However, all that this means is that they aren’t indulging in ideological crusades or yielding to a constant temptation to interfere in other people’s business. They are minding their own business, and for some people nothing could be more horrifying.