IMAGINING Scotland as an independent global actor – working with other countries, in the European Union and at the United Nations – is an inspiring prospect.

Yet we also know that, in becoming an independent state, Scotland would enter a volatile and uncertain world. The global order is changing and multilateral institutions are being tested. In European and international action, values matter alongside interests.

READ MORE: Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross 'misled' public on food standards

In our new political phase, defined by majority support for independence, it’s time for us to think big and be ambitious about an independent Scotland’s place in the world. We must consider how we would build the institutions, relationships and partnerships to advocate Scotland’s values and interests in the rest of Europe and globally.

To develop this essential part of independence in practice, I have launched a new project to publish a landmark Scotland’s Foreign Policy Blueprint. This will provide a cogent, comprehensive and credible vision for the foreign policy architecture of an independent Scottish state.

For the first time, it will set out the principles, institutions and approaches that could underpin Scotland’s external action and lead to successful European and international relations.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon on lockdown plans

This is not about deciding in advance what Scotland’s foreign policy would be – that would be for after a vote for independence. Instead, it’s about providing innovative thinking and bold ideas on the mechanics which could deliver a future foreign policy.

The blueprint will address how to construct a values-based foreign policy for Scotland, rooted in support for the European Union, the United Nations and multilateralism. It will consider how to create Scotland’s ministry of foreign affairs and a global footprint of diplomatic missions to represent Scotland, our citizens, interests and values.

It will set out how to establish productive bilateral relations, integrate Scottish EU membership with foreign policy, and participate in multilateral institutions.

The blueprint will look at what Scotland can learn from countries like Ireland, Finland and Denmark in how they conduct their foreign policies and use soft power to multiply their influence. This report will advance the debate on an independent Scotland’s international relations to a new level of detail. With our politics evolving,such detail is now necessary.

In the Brexit era, we also face completely different circumstances, which call for new ideas. We must now give more thought to the place of a Scottish state in Europe and the world. We must be up front about the challenges and opportunities under independence on the European and international planes.

Scotland has every chance of becoming a successful European small state, but it would require significant and continual work and investment. Influence is hard to acquire and easy to dissipate, as Ireland could soon see in the current controversy engulfing European Commissioner Phil Hogan. The best defences are robust national institutions, solid diplomatic networks, and diverse bilateral and multilateral partnerships – which derive from a strategic yet adaptable foreign policy.

This blueprint will provide original and innovative thinking on how to build resilient and successful external relations under independence. It will be a primary work of reference for an eventual government of Scotland on how to make a foreign policy happen in practice.

Institutional support for this kind of work does not exist. A crowdfunder to underwrite the Blueprint is running now. Any contributions would be appreciated.

As an independent state, Scotland would have the dual opportunity and responsibility to advance its values and interests in Europe and the world. It’s time for us to imagine how we would achieve Scotland’s global ambitions in practice.

For more about the project see

Anthony Salamone is a political scientist and analyst in Edinburgh, and managing director of European Merchants