Volltext: How do states without defence forces defend themselves?

Chapter 2 - Defence without force - The factors that influence the development of 
military forces. 
Geography, demography, history and strategic circumstances influence the world outlook of 
every state. The 20 states covered by this paper are no different and each of them have a 
number of geographic, historical and strategic factors involved in their decision not to possess 
armed forces. What makes these decisions interesting is that there are many states that seem 
similar in geographic, demographic, historical or strategic situation that have made the opposite 
choice and developed armed forces of their own. This chapter will examine these factors and 
look at examples of where states in similar situations have made different choices about the 
need for armed forces and why that has occurred. 
No Single Common Factor 
In looking at these factors it is important to examine that while there may be some unifying 
threads between the 20 states without armed forces in terms of geography, demography, 
history and strategic circumstance, there is no one magic formula. Each state has made 
decisions due to very different experiences, in different parts of the world. 
The diversity starts with geography. It is reasonable to say that all of the 20 states without 
armed forces are geographically small. Defending a small area is difficult. They lack any sort of 
depth from which to manoeuver or resupply, it concentrates targets for an enemy to strike and 
there is little room for military infrastructure like airbases or training ranges. While there is a 
wide difference between the smallest of the 20, Nauru at 21 sqkm?, and the largest, Iceland at 
100,250 sqkm, Iceland is still only ranked 108" in the world for land area'?. That being said 
there are states smaller than Iceland that have powerful militaries to defend their territories 
such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Singapore or Israel’. Indeed the two smallest sovereign 
states in the world, Monaco and the Vatican City, both have their own military forces, the 
Caribiniers du Prince"? and the Pontifical Swiss Guard'®. Size on its own is influential in not 
having a military but not an absolute determinant. 
Likewise the nature of the terrain can be influential but is no certain guide as to whether a 
country will have armed forces or not. It is true that 15 of the 20 states without armed forces are 
® Central Intelligence Agency, 601. 
'% Ibid, 394. 
'! International Institute of Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2016, (London: Routledge, 
2016), 89-90, 122-124, 286-288, 333-336. 
12 http://en.gouv.mc/Government-Institutions/The-Government/Ministry-of-Interior/The-Palace- 
"3 http://www. swissquard.va/content/guardiasvizzera/it.html. 


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