Which country has permanently abolished its military?
It works without the military
In times of economic crises and austerity programs, governments around the world try to use the red pencil in various areas. The military budget is rarely cut - according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), military spending in Europe rose by 1.8 percentage points in 2013.
But does a strong military pay off if you are not in a permanent state of war with the neighboring country?
More than 20 countries worldwide do not invest in a standing army, i.e. a military that is permanently under arms and always ready for action. However, these states must first be divided into three groups: those that do not have a standing army but have reduced armed forces for their own protection; those who make themselves dependent on other countries for their military defense; and those who forego military support altogether.
The former include Iceland, Haiti, Monaco, Mauritius, Panama and the Pacific island of Vanuatu. They all do without a standing army, but have security forces or paramilitary units on duty, which occasionally take on tasks that the military normally performs in other countries.
The NATO member Iceland, for example, has a peacekeeping force and an air defense system, so it is not completely military-free. Mauritius continues to operate a coast guard and a mobile special unit, while Monaco has a small military unit to protect the prince.
Depending on neighboring states
Andorra, for example, belongs to the group of countries that do not invest in their own military because neighboring states support them in an "emergency", where the French and Spanish armies are responsible for defense.
In the Oceania region, the island nation of Nauru is supported by Australian troops and Samoa by New Zealand troops, and Kiribati by the military of both countries.
The defense of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau is officially taken over by the USA and that of the Vatican is taken over by Italy. The Caribbean island states Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines jointly operate a regional security system designed to guarantee their military security.
Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu can manage completely without a military - even without one of their neighboring countries.
Happy, demilitarized Costa Rica
After the bloody civil war in 1948 with thousands of deaths, the then President of Costa Rica, José Figueres Ferrer, announced that the country now wanted to completely renounce its military - in 1949 the constitution banned a standing army. The military budget then moved to the areas of health and education.
In 1987, then Costa Rican President Oscar Arias gave a speech to the US Congress: "I come from a small country that was not afraid to give up its military to gain strength ... Today we do not threaten anyone , neither our own people nor our neighboring states. And not because we have no tanks, but because very few (in Costa Rica) are hungry, uneducated or unemployed. " Two months later, Arias received the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace efforts in Central America.
In the 65 years without a military, there was no coup in Costa Rica - unlike in other states in the region. The fact that the country has no armed forces is also always well suited to discrediting hostile governments: "I would like to remind the gentlemen in the north that only cowards attack the defenseless," said Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla in the 2010 in view of new border disputes with neighboring Nicaragua.
The seat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the UN Peace University are located in Costa Rica. In this context, Costa Rica's first place in the "Happy Planet Index" is repeatedly referred to, for which the individual countries are assessed on the basis of the satisfaction of the population, their life expectancy and the "ecological footprint". It is possible that the satisfaction in the country is related to demilitarization, but it remains open. (Noura Maan, derStandard.at, July 30, 2014)
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