IT occasionally frustrates me just how politically myopic some of my fellow Scots can be.

For a nation that never tires of extolling its “internationalist” credentials or having some citizens who constantly remind us how “worldly wise” Scots are, there often seems precious little evidence to back this up.

The fixation with independence is understandable given that so many Scots – myself included – see this as the real starting point from which we can begin to engage with the world on Scotland’s own terms.

But it strikes me that working hard for Scotland’s future also involves articulating and engaging with issues beyond our shores that are happening right here and now. Too often here in Scotland, the level of debate and discussion about the world we live in is restricted to navel-gazing at best and self-harm at worst.

It strikes me too that three things seem to dominate the current discourse among many of my fellow Scots right now. While not necessarily in this order of importance, they are as follows.

The first is attacking each other over the strategy towards gaining independence.

The second is attacking our own Scottish political leaders or media over their commitment – or not – to independence, something often carried out based on scant evidence and without any thought as to how self-damaging it is to our own overall cause of gaining sovereignty.

Then thirdly and the most obvious and understandable, is attacking the Tory government for policies that are anathema at best and at worst seriously damaging to most Scots.

On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with any of these given that self-questioning, accountability and debate are vital for the political process. But as you might have noticed there is a common word in all three examples I’ve given – “attack”.

We Scots pride ourselves on our political attack-dog capabilities, even if there are those among us who would argue there seems a dearth of such prowess on display right now just when it’s needed – a point with which I can empathise.

But this constant attack-dog role without the ability to step back and consider the bigger picture of the political world in which we live does us no favours. I wish I had the proverbial pound or euro for every time I’ve heard someone in Scotland say to me either, “Who gives a damn about elsewhere, it’s here that matters,” or “Let’s get independence done and then we can care about the world”.

Not only is such self-absorption deeply misguided but it displays a level of political naivety that flies in the face of this claim of being outward-looking and globally aware in political terms.

If I’m to be totally frank here, it’s often shocking how little some Scots appear to know about the world beyond their limited territorial and “localised” political obsessions.

Some I have talked with appear to live in a bubble or a place where everything begins and ends at our border with England. One only has to read some of the below-the-line comments in Scottish newspapers running international stories to realise how blinkered and factually wrong many of the observations are.

Let’s be clear, I’m not dissing people for having opinions here – far from it – indeed that is a prerequisite to a better understanding of global affairs. But so much of what I read or hear is based on a failure to acknowledge facts or – even worse – buying into conspiracy theories that it almost beggars belief. The one thing you can be sure of though is that any shortcomings by way of real facts and knowledge will be compensated for by an attack-dog delivery.

What I’m saying is that it’s time we Scots took a hard look at ourselves in terms of our efforts to engage – intellectually, at least – with affairs beyond our shores.

Any improved understanding is not only beneficial to our own current political situation but a prerequisite for those times ahead when as a sovereign nation Scotland would be required to put such understanding to the international test.

Sitting down to write this column I did so with the intention of drawing attention as to why we should all be concerned with what happened this week in Russia where president Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un have been cosying up.

In his toast summing up the meeting, Kim referenced the war in Ukraine, anticipating Russia’s “great victory” and offered his country’s “full and unconditional support” for what he called a “sacred fight”.

In other words, there is now the real possibility of an uptick in the deal between the Kremlin and Pyongyang whereby Russia get arms stocks in exchange for weapons technology that would enhance North Korea’s own missile capabilities.

That’s a prospect that even those of us in Scotland most singularly hard-wired to the debates about independence and other related homegrown political issues surely must pause and pay attention to.

There’s no shortage of other issues too, among them the impact of climate change, the coming US presidential election, the rise of authoritarianism and how the war in Ukraine will ultimately play out.

That Scotland is inextricably connected one way or another to such issues is undeniable. Fifty years ago this week, an event took place that marked a watershed in global history.

I’m talking about September 11, 1973, when Chile underwent a military coup installing General Augusto Pinochet as dictator of a regime that tortured, killed and disappeared thousands of people who stood against it.

To its great credit, Scotland contributed to opposing Pinochet when Scottish Rolls-Royce workers and trade unionists downed tools, refusing to repair jet engines for the Chilean Air Force, a story depicted in the wonderful documentary Nae Pasaran.

Then once again on September 11, this time in 2001, another event was pivotal in world history with the al-Qaeda terror attacks on the US which went on to have a global impact including here in Scotland.

My point is a simple one. Scotland’s future is not distinct from the rest of the world though at times you could be forgiven for thinking so. “Here’s tae us; wha’s like us?” just doesn’t cut it anymore if used as an excuse for Scottish exceptionalism.

That was never the Bard’s intention anyway, his message instead aimed at showing our sense of shared humanity.

Focusing on independence and showing why it is vital to Scotland’s future is the right thing to do. But not at the expense of ignoring the rest of the world.