Guest Post: Do The Swiss Know Something The Rest Of Us Don't?

Tyler Durden's picture


Via John R. Schindler of The XX Committee,

Do the Swiss know something the rest of us don’t?

Ueli Maurer, the Swiss defense minister, has been making coy statements about the European crisis getting ugly – as in really ugly, like needing armed troops to deal with it. This sounds more like Greece, where the rioting is regular and increasingly scary, than anything in Central Europe, but where the whole EU furball is headed does seem less than clear of late.

The Swiss are famous for preparing for everything and having an absolutely huge army, relative to their population, to deal with any eventuality. They maintain their special military system, based on training for nearly the whole male population but a very small active duty cadre (plus a few, tiny UN peacekeeping-type missions abroad, since the Swiss have an actually defensive defense force): the Swiss can call up over 200,000 trained troops, which is but one-third of what was on-call twenty years ago – like everyone, they have downsized as the threat has receded since the fall of the Soviet bloc – but that’s still pretty huge in Swiss terms. In America, that would mean a mobilization strength of nearly 8,000,000 for the U.S. military (it’s a hair under three million, in case you were wondering).

Minister Maurer, accompanied by whispers from the top uniformed leadership in Switzerland, is trying to raise awareness that Europe’s massive fiscal-cum-political crisis could get very unpleasant. Swiss military exercises in September, called STABILO DUE, were based on EU instability getting out of hand. The Swiss have stayed out of the EU – one more thing the very prosperous Swiss are gloating about these days – and they certainly don’t want EU problems spilling over into their peaceful little country. That the Swiss military is adding four new military police battalions to the army, to be spread around the country, indicates that the threat they have in mind is more disorder and chaos than actual invasion.

The Swiss are in the process of modernizing their military, which they have discovered is very expensive; the purchase of 22 new Saab Gripen fighters has proved a big political headache, since the Swiss are as notable for their frugality as for their military preparedness. But Minister Maurer is on firm ground when he notes that the massive decline in European militaries since 1990 has implications for today, none of them positive. When even the British have cut their army so much that, in the event of a serious crisis, there would be at most two dozen infantry battalions on hand in the UK (that’s well under 20,000 bayonets), one has to wonder if the next London “disturbances” could be kept in check if things got truly ugly. It’s commonly held by European security insiders that if the next Anders Brievik were to target Muslims, not fellow Europeans, things could get unimaginably ugly very quickly. It is difficult to see how Europe’s much smaller militaries could cope with massive civil disturbances. (And don’t ask Uncle Sam for help, since the very last thing the Pentagon wants is to get dragged into any riot suppression – particularly putting down Muslim uprisings – anywhere in Europe.)

It’s easy to dismiss the Swiss, since they are a tiny country whose military hasn’t actually fought anybody in a couple centuries. On the other hand, they managed to stay out of both of Europe’s catastrophic World Wars precisely though preparing for eventualities and maintaining a strong defensive capability. They’re clearly on to something.

Your rating: None

- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Sun, 10/07/2012 - 15:59 | 2865441 Debtonation
Debtonation's picture

But, they should have pegged their currency to gold instead of euros

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:21 | 2865571 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Didn't some Swiss dude sell most of Switzerland's gold DECADES ago?  nuff said.  

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:47 | 2865808 akak
akak's picture


The Swiss have stayed out of the EU – one more thing the very prosperous Swiss are gloating about these days

Yeah, and good thing nobody in Switzerland was EVER foolish enough to even consider buckling under to insidious and long-standing surreptitious demands by the IMF to totally delink their currency from gold --- and then selling off half of their national gold stockpile ---- both of which they have done in the last 12 years, or more recently pegging their (formerly much more stable) Swiss franc to the (formerly much faster) depreciating euro. 

Oh yes, hooray for Swiss "independence" and "neutrality"!

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 17:03 | 2865881 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Maybe that explains those tungsten bars in the NY Feds vault.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 19:39 | 2866202 max2205
max2205's picture

Swatch watches.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 20:10 | 2866249 JohnG
JohnG's picture

That's a damn nice knife. 

Gotta get me one of those :)

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 20:27 | 2866276 The Shootist
The Shootist's picture

Victorinox bitchez, great value!

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 21:05 | 2866341 imaginalis
imaginalis's picture

Switzerland: A nice place to eat chocolate while stashing stolen loot.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 02:40 | 2869941 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture

wooooooooooah the master economist is showing his clever thinking.


not pegging to euro 1.20? can you even imagine what would be the consequences to our EXPORT ECONOMY/INDUSTRY?


plz shut up if you dont have a clue on what are you saying

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 14:53 | 2875741 akak
akak's picture

Ar-Pharazon, when it comes to currency debasement, why do you blinkered idiots (and yes, you are most definitely an idiot) always focus ONLY on the export sector, and NEVER on the IMPORT sector, or the domestic sector?  What about the costs of currency debasement to the Swiss people when it comes to fuel imports, for example?

No government has ever made any nation more prosperous by debasing its currency --- just the opposite, in fact.  Your argument in support of currency debasement is fallacious, specious and disingenuous.

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 05:54 | 2889343 AvoidingTaxation
AvoidingTaxation's picture

From 1.55 to 1.20 is quite a reevaluation...

Fri, 10/19/2012 - 19:31 | 2905750 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture

nobody and nothing can save Switzerland from the caos incoming.


as i said our economy live on exports. no discussion on this.


not pegging the franc to the euro would have destroyed our exports and would make us loose probably thousands of jobs. with the peg to 1.20, actually our economy is growing.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 18:58 | 2866138 reTARD
reTARD's picture

I don't trust the Swiss powers just as I don't trust any other TPTB.

History is littered with clues:

- the Swiss Guard to the Vatican

- the Swiss neutrality claim; ever wonder why their word was enough not to be invaded while everyone else was stream-rolled?

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 19:54 | 2866226 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Not worth the effort to try and invade Switzerland - limited access through easily defended passes a fully armed populace.  During WWII it was to both sides' advantage to let the Swiss remain neutral and uninvolved, though the Swiss paid a pricew too... ever see the generation that came of age during thewar years?  Short - from a severely limited diet.  The Germans limited the food imported into Switzerland from occupied Europe.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 22:56 | 2866622 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

they're dug way deep into their mountains-like the Iranians

Mon, 10/08/2012 - 04:15 | 2867000 vato poco
vato poco's picture

Yeah, that "Switzerland was just too mountainous and tough to invade" whopper is what they (still) teach the good little burghers in the good little Swiss schools - right after "overcharge the foreign tourists for _everything_, including the air they breathe, if you can". Unfortunately, it's all bullshit. (What is now) Yugoslavia is a mountainous country peopled with stubborn ornery fuckers, just like Switzerland, but that didn't stop the Nazis at all, did it. If it took 5 divisions, so be it. When that proved to be not enough, they sent more.

Germany didn't invade Switzerland in WW2 for one reason, & one reason only: Der Swiss cheerfully agreed to be the Nazi bankers (for the customary fee, naturlich.) After the war, they proved this indirectly by their habit of refusing to pay on life insurance policies of jews killed by their good & great customers, the 3rd reich. Survivors of folks killed in Nazi death camps didn't get mom/dad/grampaw's life insurance, because *they couldn't produce a death certificate*. And, of course, post-war wire transfer records to, say, South America are still a State secret. Look it up. Classy little collaborators, are the Swiss.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 02:43 | 2869946 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture

woaaaa, while we were COMPLETELY surrounded by axis forces we make deals and trades with them..... HOW BAD ARE THE SWISS!!!! they are really devils for trying to survive.....


and guess how many lives we saved from certain death in this period?



Mon, 10/08/2012 - 03:47 | 2866985 Hermel
Hermel's picture

One of the strategic Swiss assets are Switzerland's tunnels through the mountains. The Swiss filled them with dynamite and threatened to blow them up in case of a German or Italian invasion. At the same time, they still allowed German and Italian trains to pass through the mountains during the war. Invading Switzerland would not only have been coupled with high military losses, it would also have meant the loss of the ability to efficiently move goods through the alps. Even with todays technology, it takes decades to build tunnels like the Gotthard.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 21:31 | 2866413 BeaverFever
BeaverFever's picture

Here in Canuckistan the demand for Toblerone chocolate is exceptional, and reaches levels that I deem "batshit crazy" come Christmas time. Women would go full hormonal and turn the average man to drinking 24/7 if those frickin' triangular pieces of chocolate/nutty pieces of cocaine laced Swiss bars were not available.

Gold? Screw gold. Guarding borders against a flood of refugees? Forget that. Worry about hordes of woman needing their Swiss Chocolate fix to fill their blood streams with whatever concoction of additives they throw in their "All-Seeing-Eye" chocolate. 

If they screw with me this year and stop exporting Toblerone bars I have only two words for those Swiss bastards: "Dammit Janet."

Mon, 10/08/2012 - 07:44 | 2867129 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture

some swiss dude?


the entire swiss people decided to sell SOME of the reserves to lower deficit spending.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:24 | 2865612 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

they can peg it to Christine Lagardes arsehole as far as i'm concerned, i'm still a buyer

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 20:50 | 2866319 LongBalls
LongBalls's picture

Where is the Bank of International Settlements located?

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 03:01 | 2886258 e-recep
e-recep's picture

all swiss exporters would have to close down or go bankrupt within the last ten years.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:24 | 2865451 Robot Traders Mom
Robot Traders Mom's picture

I'll bet they don't have all the patriotic "USA, USA, USA" chants (which is clearly an inverse relationship to common sense)...


EDIT: I corrected 'be' to 'bet' and forgot to spell out the ignorance of USA chants...

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:34 | 2865781 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Switzerland has the highest gun ownership rate in all of Europe.  I'd say they have plenty of "common sense".  Bitch.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 17:48 | 2865995 Debeachesand Je...
Debeachesand Jerseyshores's picture

I think that's a whole lot of common sense.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 17:56 | 2866015 malikai
malikai's picture

If I remember correctly, every single household has a rifle and a box of rounds issued by the government.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 18:19 | 2866061 ShrNfr
Mon, 10/08/2012 - 07:47 | 2867132 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture

every swiss male that did military service had an assault rifle at home.

now things changed and the rifle is deposited in a safe place

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 10:43 | 2906264 arvesia
arvesia's picture

wrong dude, still got my P220 and FASS90 under my bed.. like everyswissone else. 

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:49 | 2865803 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture


Why would a Swiss chant "USA, USA, USA"?

Who has the more cukoo preamble to their constitution? vs. Who gets gets laughed at more for clinging to their guns & religion?


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.



In the name of Almighty God!
The Swiss People and the Cantons,
mindful of their responsibility towards creation,
resolved to renew their alliance so as to strengthen liberty, democracy, independence and peace in a spirit of solidarity and openness towards the world,
determined to live together with mutual consideration and respect for their diversity,
conscious of their common achievements and their responsibility towards future generations,
and in the knowledge that only those who use their freedom remain free, and that the strength of a people is measured by the well-being of its weakest members;
adopt the following Constitution:


Sun, 10/07/2012 - 18:37 | 2866103 Whiner
Whiner's picture

Whassat " future generations " thingy mean? Why isn't it in our Preamble?

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 19:29 | 2866188 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Define Posterity.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 23:28 | 2866696 1984
1984's picture

For some reason I read that as "posterior"...

Mon, 10/08/2012 - 04:18 | 2867001 vato poco
vato poco's picture

"Until the current crop of politicians, bureaucrats, government lawyers, and other assorted state-paid parasites retire and collect their God-given 50 years worth of gold-plated pensions."

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:03 | 2865452 Haus-Targaryen
Haus-Targaryen's picture

Winter is coming.  

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:18 | 2865497 Haus-Targaryen
Haus-Targaryen's picture

Who the fuck red arrowed me?  


Fact - Winter is coming . . . its October.

Fact - Winter, as in a metaphor, for the future political and economic climate of the continent is coming as well.  

Fact - Its colds in die Schweiz 

Fact - Ties neatly into my name on here.  

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:29 | 2865766 Likstane
Likstane's picture

Maybe it was a southern hemisphere ZHer.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:33 | 2865774 NewThor
NewThor's picture

Maybe it was someone mad at George RR Martin for

books #4 and #5?

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:34 | 2865778 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

Winter is coming. Have a drink.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 18:26 | 2866079 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

Who the fuck red arrowed me?!

Fact: I'm having a drink.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:36 | 2865787 Alpha Monkey
Alpha Monkey's picture

Those are the words of house Stark... but I agree.  And I've been saying it to myself (as i'm finishing the first book in about another hour from now) to every shitty headline I read about the world tearing itself apart.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 17:00 | 2865877 holgerdanske
holgerdanske's picture

See, it all depends. Where I live, summer is around the corner! As a matter of fact, half the world is going into summer!;-)

As for the Swiss. I agree, they have started lately to become more "mainstream" which is a pitty.

I still think it will be one of the better places to be in the years to come. From a standpoint of humanity, independence, free thinking and civil liberties.

I just wish they would tell the American government to go stuff themselves.!

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 18:02 | 2866023 NoTTD
NoTTD's picture

You're kidding, right?  Stark red arrowed your dragon-loving ass.

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:20 | 2865565 Cloud9.5
Cloud9.5's picture

As in Kondratiev Winter?

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 23:13 | 2866668 monkeyboy
monkeyboy's picture

Which has got to better than a nuclear winter.

Mon, 10/08/2012 - 05:41 | 2867040 _underscore
_underscore's picture

It's always winter in Switzerland - at one level or another.

Mon, 10/08/2012 - 07:50 | 2867137 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture

lol i live in southern switzerland (Ticino)


and here now it's 20° C


i m just saying

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 18:24 | 2866077 Oldballplayer
Oldballplayer's picture

I did, but just because everyone else was doing it.  I am American....isnt that what we do?

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 16:03 | 2865453 Ignorance is bliss
Ignorance is bliss's picture

Fail to see the relevance of anything materially important to anything...We are talking about Switzerland's military. Why ???

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!