The Swiss army is one of the best trained in the world, but it can be difficult to imagine scenarios in which it would need to be used. The country is landlocked, and hasn’t been invaded since the 1790s and it’s surrounded by the European Union, a group with peace as a founding goal. Swiss soldiers still need training, however, and the country’s officer corps has imagination on its side.
Marketwatch’s Tom Bemis picked up a Telegraph report on the recent Swiss war games which involved a particularly nasty scenario involving France. In the training exercise, France’s economy had reached such a crux that the state stopped functioning. The resultant splinter states took to their own devices. One state took up arms against the Swiss in an effort to get their hands on the money in the country’s bank accounts.
Switzerland and France Round 2
The last country to successfully invade Switzerland was, in fact, France. In the revolutionary wars that rocked the continent in the 1790s, France took over the Alpine country and renamed it the Helvetic Republic. The roots of the Republic that currently rule the region can be found in an agreement between Napolean Bonaparte and the local populace.
It’s not so surprising then that Switzerland may be wary of the French in their fictional wars. There is a more modern political aspect to the war games as well, demonstrated by the inclusion of a monetary reward for the invasion of the country.
When a politician from Haute-Savoie, the region that Switzerland envisioned the attack would come from, said that Switzerland should have more realistic scenarios. A Swiss military representative said the game was conceived in a time when arguments over tax evasion between the two countries was less strained.
Not so fictional after all
Switzerland may feel that the French harbor aggression toward them because of the supposed tax evasion, but that is not the most believable part of this military exercise. It is unlikely that the French state will disappear in the next five years, but without serious intervention, France will seek to function in the next thirty or forty years.
France suffers from public sector inefficiency, de-industrialization, wage rigidity and that old chestnut, an aging population. A recent study from Natixis took a look at what France would look like in 2025. The results were far from pleasant.