Saturday, March 3, 2012

Countries without Military Forces

India spends nearly $41.3 billion a year on its military which is about 2.7 percent of its GDP while the United States tops in military spending, way ahead of India, with around $1630 billion spent in 2010. However, in this era of mindless pursuit for sophisticated military force, there are a few countries with no set military forces at all, quite surprisingly. Here is the list of 10 countries that manages to survive, not going by the global trend of developing a strong military for the country.

1. Costa Rica

Bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the southeast, Costa Rica stands tall with no military force on its own, though it had a military force in the past. Costa Rica, which means "Rich Coast", constitutionally abolished its military permanently in 1949 when the then president, Jose Figueres Ferrer, signed legislation against a formal army after the deadly civil war in the country that killed almost 2,000 people. Marking the abolition of army, the president himself broke the wall of Cuartel Bellavista, which was once an army headquarters location. Costa Rica has been a part of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of 1947 which enables the country to depend on other 21 countries including U.S. if any war situation arises. The country has a public security force, Fuerza Publica which manages law enforcement, border patrol, ground security and many other common duties held by a police force.

2. Solomon Islands

The country, consisting of nearly one thousand islands, had a heavy ethnic conflict between 1998 and 2006 which was ended at the intervention of countries Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific countries. Though the country has no standing military forces, it has a police force of nearly 500 includes a border protection unit. The police force is responsible for fire service, disaster relief, and maritime surveillance. In 1983, the United Kingdom instituted a protectorate over the Solomon Islands and the country was free of major violence until the beginning of ethnic conflicts in 1998. Although Solomon Islands has no set protector of the Solomon Islands, Australia would be the first one to protect the Island nation.

3.  Vatican City

The smallest country in the world, Vatican City, has no military force of its own; however, it maintains a Gendarmerie Corps for internal policing. Many militaristic groups were formed to protect the Pope and the country and the Swiss Guard belongs to the Holy See, not the Vatican City State. Pope Paul VI had abolished the Noble Guard and the Palatine Guard in 1970. The Pontifical Swiss Guard is assigned with the duty of protecting the Pope and the Palace of the Vatican. The Gendarmerie Corps responsible for traffic control, public order, border control, and investigating criminal activity, is a civilian force rather than military. Although there is no defense treaty with Italy, Italian military protects Vatican City as it’s located in Rome.

4.    Nauru

The smallest island country in the world, Nauru has no set military force and probably due to its size, doesn’t even have a capital. The 8.1 sq miles spread country has a Police Force that maintains the stability of the country. Nauru, placed in a group of thousands of tiny islands called Micronesia, is totally relied on easily accessible phosphate. Australia protects the country under an informal agreement between the two.

5. Liechtenstein

Like Costa Rica, Liechtenstein abolished its existing army in 1868 as after the Austro-Prussian War as it was too expensive for the country to afford it. Once the country was out of the German Confederation, it was obliged to create an army for its own but the funding was not available. Principality of Liechtenstein National Police, the police force of the country, keeps the stability and peace of the country. Switzerland might help the country in the event of an attack, although there is not official word about it.