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How Swiss politicians dismantle Swiss neutrality

Originally published: Schweizer Standpunkt on February 28, 2023 by Christian Müller (more by Schweizer Standpunkt) (Posted Mar 09, 2023)

The Swiss Confederation—the “Confoederatio Helvetica”, hence the CH on the cars—has been historically neutral since the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Together with the reputation of the Swiss businessman Henry Dunant, whose experiences after the Battle of Solferino in 1859 and whose ideas gave rise to the “International Red Cross”, Switzerland has gained an excellent reputation as an international mediator and as a representative of interests between hostile states. However, this does not bother the current political leadership in Bern to pursue a one-sided NATO-friendly policy.

The first parliamentary summit of the Crimea Platform1 will take place on 25 October in Zagreb, Croatia. Around 50 delegations from around the world will discuss the future of Crimea. The Swiss Parliament will be represented at the summit by Irène Kälin (The Greens/AG). The participants will adopt a joint statement condemning the illegal occupation of Crimea, which will be issued after the summit.

The Swiss Confederation—the “Confoederatio Helvetica”, hence the CH on the cars—has been historically neutral since the Congress of Vienna in 1815. there been any protests? The then President of the Swiss National Council, Irène Kälin of the Green Party from Aargau, travelled to Zagreb in October 2022 to attend a parliamentary summit of the “Crimea Platform” created by Ukraine. As one can see from the official text from Federal Bern, dated 21 October, the aim was not to discuss, but to condemn the “occupation” of Crimea by Russia, everything already determined in advance. There, Irène Kälin introduces herself as the formal representative of Switzerland.

Here are some excerpts from her speech:2

On behalf of the Swiss parliament, I would like to begin by thanking Ukraine and Croatia for holding this First Parliamentary Summit of the International Crimea Platform. […]

That we gather here today as parliamentarians—as representatives of the people—is also a sign. Because in this way we express the solidarity of our people with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

This platform is now more important than ever. More than eight years ago, Russia annexed Crimea in clear violation of international law. With hindsight, it is clear that this annexation was not an isolated incident, but merely the first phase of a larger, brutal plan. […]

Let me also express our great concern about the human rights situation in Crimea. Reports by human rights organisations describe severe restrictions, particularly concerning the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. They also report numerous cases of arbitrary detentions as well as forced displacements. […]

The people of Crimea have suffered a double blow: First, the annexation eight years ago as well as the worsening of the human rights situation. And now the full-scale aggression against Ukraine, accompanied by a further restriction of fundamental freedoms, the recent imposition of martial law and the forced recruitment of Crimean residents by the Russian army. […] Switzerland’s support for a Ukrainian Crimea is unwavering. Crimea is Ukraine!

So, a prominent Swiss politician goes to an international meeting whose final announcement has already been made before the meeting, and she claims to speak on behalf of the Swiss people. In her speech, however, it becomes blatantly clear that she has not the slightest idea about Crimea and its population.

If she had ever been to Crimea, she would know that the people of Crimea expressly wanted reunification with Russia and expressed this in a free referendum. The author of these lines was, not for the first time, personally in Crimea for several weeks in 2019 and in a good hundred conversations with Crimean residents—from the cleaning lady in the hotel in Yalta to the university lecturer in Sebastopol—did not find a single person who wanted to go back to Ukraine.3

But what does a Swiss politician, nota bene the Green president of the National Council, care about the wishes and hopes of people in another country? The fact that there were also justified reasons under international law4 for secession after the coup against the democratically elected president in Kiev and the subsequent illegitimate installation of a new government dependent on the USA, is obviously of no concern to this lady politician. She “doesn’t give a damn”, as the average citizen would put it. And what about Swiss neutrality, which she, as an elected member of the National Council, should respect? She doesn’t give a damn either!

And now, in February 2023, a new, topical example …

A formal announcement from the Federal Parliament in Bern:5

Head of the Armed Forces to welcome NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe on a working visit

Bern, 10 February 2023—On 9 February 2023, General Christopher G. Cavoli, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), paid a working visit to the Swiss Armed Forces. Talks held with Armed Forces chief Lieutenant General Thomas Süssli focused on intensifying cooperation with NATO. […]

During the visit, Lieutenant General Süssli and General Cavoli discussed a range of topics, including the situation in Ukraine and the impact of the war on Europe and NATO. They also discussed the new strategic concept adopted by NATO at its summit in Madrid at the end of June 2022, which attaches great importance to cooperation and dialogue with partner countries such as Switzerland.

Cooperation increases defense capability

In its supplementary report to the 2021 Security Policy Report from September 2022, the Federal Council outlined its intention to strengthen international cooperation with partner organisations, in particular with NATO and its member states, while maintaining Switzerland’s legal obligations as a neutral country. Contributions to European security and deeper cooperation will increase the defence capability of the Armed Forces and thus strengthen Switzerland’s security. Switzerland has participated in NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) since 1996. Within this framework, the Armed Forces have improved their interoperability with NATO.

Concrete possibilities currently under discussion include the secondment of Swiss staff and liaison officers to the NATO command structure and expanded participation in NATO Centres of Excellence (CoEs). Switzerland has already been engaged in the Cooperative Cyber Defence CoE in Tallinn, Estonia, since summer 2021. Lieutenant General Süssli and General Cavoli also discussed the possibility of Swiss troops participating in multinational exercises. […]

Strengthening bilateral cooperation

In addition to his NATO role, General Cavoli is Commander of the United States European Command (USEUCOM). During his visit, ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation were also addressed. The basis for this cooperation is a training agreement that Switzerland concluded with the U.S. in May 2020.”

To cut a long story short: Switzerland wants to cooperate more closely with NATO and militarily also more closely with the USA. A neutral state!

This policy pursued by the Swiss government, by both chambers of parliament and by their administrators is a clear betrayal of Swiss neutrality.6 However, is the majority of the Swiss population really willing, like Germany and other EU and NATO states, to shape their future according to the world domination wishes of the USA? This USA, which for decades has been responsible for military interventions in almost all regions of the world with hundreds of thousands of war victims on its conscience?

… and the Swiss media just follow this line!

The worst thing about the whole story is that all four big Swiss media groups, Ringier, Tamedia (TX Group), Neue Zürcher Zeitung and CH-Media, also report and comment faithfully according to the wishes of NATO and the USA. Only relatively small news media still dare to express a different opinion, among them, expressly recommended for regular reading: “Weltwoche”,7 “Current Concerns”,8 “Zeitgeschehen im Fokus”9 or also “Swiss Standpoint”.10

For Switzerland as a free and hitherto neutral country, the current media landscape is a real tragedy, and a disgrace that will hopefully go down in the history books, with explicit mention of the corporate majority owners responsible for it.

Christian Müller, born in 1944, studied history and constitutional law at the University of Zurich and graduated with a DPhil. He studied business administration at the (then) Handelshochschule St. Gallen. This was followed by 28 years of active journalism at various Swiss daily and weekly newspapers in various positions (editorial office and editor-in-chief) as well as 20 years of publishing management (management, CEO, board of directors in various media). For many years he has been running his consulting company Commwork AG on a full-time or part-time basis and has been editor of the online platform https://globalbridge.ch.

Source: globalbridge.ch/so-demontieren-schweizer-politiker-die-schweizer-neutralitaet/, 15 February 2023

(Translation “Swiss Standpoin t”)

  1. .parlament.ch, 21 October 2023
  2. globalbridge.ch/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Crimea-Platform-2022-10-2-Statement-NRP-Kaelin-Parliamentary-Summit-International-Crimea-Platform.pdf.pdf
  3. globalbridge.ch, 21 July 2019
  4. globalbridge.ch, 15 July 2022
  5. www.admin.ch, 10 February 2023
  6. globalbridge.ch, 8 March 2022
  7. weltwoche.ch/
  8. www.zeit-fragen.ch
  9. zeitgeschehen-im-fokus.ch
  10. www.schweizer-standpunkt.ch
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