IT’S a big world out there and there’s no shortage of stuff to get into in the world of international affairs. Russia has understandably dominated the headlines in recent weeks, but there’s always something happening somewhere. Over the past few days alone, there’s been enough bad news that if you are a pessimist you have no shortage of reasons for a glass-half empty outlook.

On Friday in Tonga, a tsunami caused by the eruption of an underwater volcano slammed into its coastline. Communications have been seriously impacted whilst the Red Cross estimates that up to 80,000 people may have been impacted by the natural disaster.

That same day, The World Food Programme warned that it would be distributing its last supplies of cereals, pulses and oil next week to Tigray. The region has been locked in brutal fighting between government forces and members of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front for more than a year. More than five million people are estimated to be in need of food assistance, not to mention the four million in need of food assistance in the neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions.

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A few days later, in Abu Dhabi, a suspected drone attack was launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels which targeted a key oil facility and started a separate fire at Abu Dhabi’s international airport. At least three people were killed and six wounded at the time of writing. Meanwhile, Yemen’s civil war trundles on, leaving millions trapped in a conflict with seemingly no end.

Three different parts of the world. Three separate crises. Yet despite its slogan, Global Britain is nowhere to be seen in any of them. Its pretensions of being a great power belie an insecurity about where the UK sits in the world, post-empire and post-Brexit.

This insecurity has revealed itself in ugly ways. Johnson’s Tory government (and those of May and Cameron before it) has sadly not been afraid to show its lack of compassion to the world’s most vulnerable. Don’t forget that the UK was the only G7 to cut international aid last year, precisely to the countries which are often most at risk to instability, conflict and natural disasters. The catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan has left behind many who helped our forces and worked towards building a better society. At the same time, the Government has tightened the eligibility criteria for Afghans seeking resettlement in the UK as part of Operation “Warm Welcome”.

There was a time when the UK under the late Robin Cook worked towards an ethical foreign policy. Safe to say that phrase has not been attached to the UK Government lately. Scotland, aspiring to be the world’s newest state, would look to contribute in its own small way towards international peace and law.

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Instead of just swaggering up to an international summit and dropping a few slogans, our foreign policy will be thought through, precise, and, yes, ethical. Our Feminist Foreign Policy alongside Scotland’s Peace Institute will work towards a fairer and more equitable world, addressing the barriers that stop women, vulnerable communities and other minorities from being able to stand up for themselves and fulfilling their potential. An independent Scotland will aim to be a good global citizen in international affairs. We won’t always get it right, nor will we always be able to help. We will, though, always strive to tackle inequality and injustice wherever we can, alongside those with a similar drive to make the world a better, fairer and more peaceful place. My job at Westminster is to work that sort of ethos into the independence proposition we are working upon. We’ll be an entirely different global actor.

We are already pointing towards precisely that. When the world convened in Glasgow for COP26, Scotland led by example by announcing that it will increase its funding for climate justice by a further 50%, valuable funding which will help vulnerable or developing countries meet the challenges of adapting to climate change. In March last year, Scotland donated £340,000 in aid for those affected by the conflict in Tigray, despite the limits of devolution. And in Westminster, we continue to stand up for human rights around the world from Palestine to Colombia to Hong Kong.

Going forward, this year promises to be an exciting one for Scotland internationally. The EU-UK parliamentary assembly will finally be set up, allowing us to address some of the problems of Brexit before they are splashed across the tabloids. In the next few weeks, myself, Stewart McDonald and Chris Law will be releasing our paper on the Protection of Civilians and what actions an independent Scotland could take to prevent mass atrocities around the world. And of course, there is the gearing up for #IndyrefNew where the people of Scotland will have the chance to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.

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Where there is peace, there is prosperity. Independence in Europe will put rocket boosters on Scotland’s economy. Internationally, we will lead the way with gold-standard regulations and investments in our people and in communities around the world. In breaking free of the increasingly dysfunctional UK, Scotland will provide a close example to our friends and neighbours in these islands of what happens when progressive policies are enacted. There are always going to be bad things which happen in the world, but an independent Scotland can be a feel-good story for international society as the world’s newest global citizen.