Neutrality is not the highest good
Does Swiss neutrality mean that our government can never take a position on a foreign conflict? asked Linus Schöpfer. That’s what Swiss People’s Party lawmaker Roger Köppel argued last week when he opposed—in vain—the historic parliamentary declaration denouncing war crimes in Syria. Neutrality, he said, is our “indispensable security guarantee” and can be upheld only by our “deliberate silence” on world affairs. But his is a “dangerous miscalculation.” Tyrants and imperialists are not interested in neutrality: The British subjugated half of Africa even though the continent had never meddled in U.K. affairs; the Nazis overran Belgium despite its explicit neutrality. Look at the Dutch, the Danes. History is littered with peoples who tried to stay out of wars but were dragged into them anyway. Switzerland was spared the first two world wars not because we were neutral, but “because we were lucky.” Since then we’ve been protected by the twin umbrellas of NATO, which U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to destroy, and the European Union, which is in crisis. Switzerland may soon have to “join forces with other democracies” against the rising autocrats. What good is it to be safe and neutral if we end up “castrated and blinded”?