Swiss neutrality: Wrong time, wrong idea
Switzerland is known for its policy of neutrality, which means that it does not take sides in conflicts between other countries. However, this policy is not absolute, and there are several reasons why it is not considered to be pure neutrality. Especially in times like these, where the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put a heavy toll on the whole concept of Western unity, and military aid for Ukraine is needed to defend a nation against its fascist aggressors, Switzerland remains hesitant about aiding a country in an emergency.
The Swiss plan is not the plan to be on
First, Switzerland is a member of various international organizations, such as the United Nations, which may require it to take certain actions in the event of a conflict. Additionally, Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and participates in the European single market through bilateral agreements with the European Union. This means that it must adhere to certain EU regulations and policies, which may require it to take sides in certain conflicts.
Second, Switzerland maintains a policy of armed neutrality, which means that it maintains a strong military force to defend itself in the event of an attack. This is a departure from the traditional concept of neutrality, which calls for complete abstention from the use of armed force.
Third, Switzerland has been known to provide humanitarian aid to countries affected by conflicts. This may be seen as taking sides in a conflict, as it is aiding one side over the other.
Overall, while Switzerland has a long tradition of neutrality, it is not pure neutrality. Switzerland is a member of many international organizations and has a military force to protect its sovereignty. It also provides humanitarian aid and participates in some international conflicts which may require it to take sides.
The current situation
Switzerland has a policy of non-re-export for arms and ammunition, which means that weapons and ammunition sold by Swiss companies are not allowed to be resold or transferred to other countries without the express authorization of the Swiss government. This policy is in place to ensure that Swiss-made weapons and ammunition are not used in conflicts or situations that violate international law or Swiss foreign policy objectives. The Swiss government also wants to make sure that the arms and
ammunition are not used against civil population or human rights are not violated, it also wants to prevent the Swiss-made weapons and ammunition to be used in the wrong hands like terrorist groups or criminal organizations. This is why the Swiss federal council has to authorize each re-export and ensure that the end-user is legitimate, and that the weapons
and ammunition will be used following Swiss foreign policy objectives.
Which, in theory, sounds like a good cause. But in this conflict, it does not make sense, since "staying neutral" and not aiding Ukraine, actively helps the Russian regime. So it is more of a moral question, “which side do you want to help?”: The Russians, who are invading Ukraine and heartlessly torturing and killing every human being not in Russian uniform, or do you want to help Ukraine? A nation that wants to choose its own destiny and is attacked by a superpower for denying its way of life - or Putins power fantasies.
So far, Switzerland (as a State) is indirectly helping Russia. That is why it is time for a change! Nations that bought Weapons from Switzerland should not be stopped by a stupid law to aid Ukraine. After all, Switzerland itself is sitting on a huge pile of Weaponry. Over time, Switzerland has been accumulating enough to even use some as military aid for Ukraine. With the recent news that Germany, Spain, Poland, and more to come have let the Leopards fee, more military aid from Switzerland seems like a logical step.
A possible change to the good side
At least, as of today, there have been some changes coming. The Security Policy Commission of the National Council (SiK-N) is calling for weapons produced in Switzerland to be allowed to be passed on to other countries under certain circumstances, especially with regard to the war in Ukraine. The SiK-N has approved a corresponding motion and parliamentary initiative, as stated in a statement. The parliamentary initiative proposes that the non-re-export declaration will be invalidated if the re-export of the war material to Ukraine is related to the Russian-Ukrainian war. The motion has the same goal but is formulated more generally. If the re-export refers to a situation that the UN Security Council or the UN General Assembly, with a two-thirds majority, determines to violate the prohibition of the use of force under international law, the non-re-export declaration may be lifted.
A clear mission ahead
For western Europe, the mission is clear: The defense of western European values, our freedom, and democracy begins at the Ukrainian front, where Ukraine is the first pillar of defense against Russian aggression. It seems late but it is not too late for one of the wealthiest countries in the World to do its part. It is just a small piece of that giant puzzle, but in the end, every piece is needed to defeat the aggressors. Therefore, I am counting on the Swiss government to do the right decision and fight against the dark side which is attacking our ways of life, our freedom, and our future.
Sandro Wächter, IT Specialist and Freelance writer from Switzerland. The freedom of Ukraine is a personal matter to him, that is why he is doing his part. Words can be a strong weapon too.