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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Top 10 Countries Without Military Forces

As said by famous French statesman George Clemenceau, “War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military,” and even today, his statement still stands true. While most countries have large military forces that are able to deploy and protect at any given time (the largest and most notable being China, at about 1,600,000 army personnel), some countries have no military at all.

Below is a list of ten countries that have no set military forces, each of them with varying reasons why; some because of the country’s history other because of its location. While many people believe that a military force is a necessity, there are countries that see or have no need for them; however, in many cases, there is a back-up plan in the case that the country is attacked or war is declared upon that country.

10. Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands, surprisingly, is not made up of just a few islands, but totals ranging in the thousands. Ever since the U.K. became the country’s protectorate in 1893, the country hasn’t had much of a military defense. During WWII the country did have the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defense Force. Then, in 1976 the Solomon Islands were able to establish a government that was stable up until about 1998. During 1998-2006, the country was plagued with misconduct within the government, crime, and ethnic conflict. To properly resolve these issues, New Zealand and Australia both stepped in to restore peace and eventually disarm. Today the country internally has the Solomon Islands Police Force.

So who’s the protector?

There is no set protector of the Solomon Islands; however, the country had paid Australia for certain defense items. If a war were to ever be declared upon the islands, Australia would probably be one of the first countries to provide a defense. (Image: “Captain Warren Frederick Martin Clemens, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defense Force (BSIPDF), with six members of the BSIPDF Scouts,” www.leatherneck.com.)

9. Costa Rica

Though the country did once have an army, today, Costa Rica stands as one of many countries without a formal standing army. On December 1, 1948, José Figueres Ferrer, president at the time, signed legislation that would abolish the military after the fatal Costa Rican civil war that killed almost 2,000 people. To properly represent this abolishment, the president himself was able to break a wall of the Cuartel Bellavista, which was once an army headquarters location. Today the country has the Fuerza Pública which provides law enforcement, ground security, border patrol, and many other common duties held by a police force.

So who’s the protector?

Thanks to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of 1947, if any country were to ever attack or declare war upon Costa Rica, the country can depend on 21 other countries, including the U.S., Chile, and Cuba to provide some sort of military force to provide defense. The treaty stands that if any of the signed countries were attacked, those other countries would be looked upon to help provide some sort of military defense.

8. Samoa

Today, Samoa has no set military force that could be used if ever necessary. Instead, the country would have to rely on outside friendships with other countries to find protection and defense in wartime. The country does have a Samoa Police Force, but of course, this is definitely not considered to be a military force for the entire country.

So who’s the protector?

Samoa has a friendship treaty with New Zealand, made in 1962. In the event of a war or other foreign invasion, Samoa can call upon New Zealand for any sort of necessary military aid. However the agreement does state that either country can pull out of the treaty at any time if wanted.

7. Palau

Despite the lack of a national military force, Palau does have a Palau National Police section that was created to provide the necessary protection for civilians. Like most police forces, the Palau National Police force is needed to keep the peace and attend to any internal unrest that may occur. If war were to ever arise, Palau would have to reach out for help from other countries to provide some sort of defense system.

So who’s the protector?

Standing as an associated state, Palau will be protected by the U.S. in the event that the country is attacked or if another country decides that war with Palau is a must. This is because of the Compact of Free Association of 1983 that basically made the U.S. the protectorate of Palau.

6. Andorra

Despite not ever having a true organized military, the tiny country of Andorra was bold enough to declare war on Germany in 1914 and join the so called Great War. With a 10-man strong army, the country did not do much and was not taken seriously. Even though the country did officially pick sides, Andorra was not invited to the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations. In 1931 the group of men roughly called an army was replaced by the Andorran National Police. This group, made up of about 240 men, was created to help keep the peace and is even trained to provide hostage rescue. Joining the police force is a must if you’re a man who owns a firearm.

So who’s the protector?

Andorra has not one, not two, but three protectors. France and Spain have both pledged to be the militaristic protectors of the 181 sq mi. country because of its location (landlocked). In fact in 1933, France militaristic force was needed to help settle civil unrest in the country. Besides these two countries, NATO forces would also take part in protecting the country if ever necessary.

5. Grenada

Ever since the American-led invasion of Grenada, the country has not been able to establish a standing army. The invasion was mostly started because of a military coup and a power struggle within the government that led to the execution of the Grenadian Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop. Because of this invasion which successfully turned a communist state back into a democratic nation, the country does not have a standing army, but relies on the Royal Grenada Police Force as well as the Regional Security System.

So who’s the protector?

There is no set country that is set out to protect Grenada with a military force. Because of the Regional Security System, the country can look to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for some sort of military support; however, most of these countries do not have a big enough defense system to be of great assistance. It seems that inevitably the U.S. would run to the rescue.

4. Marshall Islands

Under the Compact of Free Association of 1983, the Marshall Islands was granted the status of a sovereign nation. Also involved in the pact is the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. Under this agreement, the three countries would be free, but would stand as associated states to the U.S. This means that the U.S. will serve as the protectorate and that the Marshall Islands would have no regular military force, or any sort of responsibility for the country’s defense during wartime. The country created the Marshall Islands Police to carry out common police duties within the country.

So who’s the protector?

Since the Marshall Islands are considered to be an associated state to the U.S., the U.S. is fully responsible for the country’s defense and security. If the islands were ever attacked, the U.S. would have to provide the necessary military support to assist in the war.

3. Liechtenstein

Like a few others on the list, Liechtenstein is another country that decided to completely abolish its standing army. Liechtenstein got rid of its army in 1868 after the Austro-Prussian War because it was said to be too expensive for the country to afford. After the country was freed from the German Confederation, it was obligated to maintain its own army, but the funding just wasn’t available. However, to keep peace within the country, there is a police force known as the Principality of Liechtenstein National Police.

So who’s the protector?

There is no set country that would have to defend Liechtenstein in the event of a war or some other sort of attack. It is said that the country is allowed to rally up an army in the case of a war, but this army would probably be futile and help from Switzerland just might come. There have been talks of Switzerland being responsible for Liechtenstein’s defense, but neither country have proven or denied this claim. (Image: www.landespolizei.li.)

2. Nauru

Nauru, known as the smallest island country in the world at just 8.1 sq miles is definitely unique in many ways, though like plenty others on the list, has no set standing army or any other type of military force. The country, possibly due to its size, doesn’t even have a capital. Though extremely small, the country does have a Nauru Police Force that is utilized to ensure that the country is able to maintain stability. Located in a group of thousands of small islands called Micronesia, the country is heavily relied upon for its readily accessible phosphate. Today the country keeps close contact with nearby Australia and other Micronesia islands.

So who’s the protector?

It is said that through an informal agreement made between Nauru and Australia that Australia would supply militaristic needs or basic country defense. In fact, in December 1940 when Germany attacked Nauru, the Australian Navy was called upon to defend the country as necessary.

1. Vatican City

Named the smallest country in the world, Vatican City, unsurprisingly, is a country that does not have a de jure military; however, this hasn’t always been the case. In the past, there were numerous militaristic groups that were created to protect the country and most importantly the Pope. Notably the Noble Guard and the Palatine Guard did exist, but Pope Paul VI abolished both groups in 1970. Today, Vatican City’s best example of a militaristic force would be the Pontifical Swiss Guard. This group is meant to protect the Pope as well as the Palace of the Vatican. There is also the Gendarmerie Corps, but this group is considered to be a civilian force rather than military. They are responsible for keeping public order, traffic control, border control, and investigating criminal activity.

So who’s the protector?

Well, since Vatican City is located in Rome, Italy is fully responsible for protecting the tiny country within its own country’s capital. Italy has an organized armed force of about 186,798 men and women with 109,703 personnel in the Army and 43,882 in the Navy. The country also has an Air Force that can provide protection as needed.

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