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  • In light of Russia’s increasing military actions throughout Europe, Sweden has reportedly considered casting off its neutral status, and joining NATO.

  • Sweden has famously refused to participate in any conflicts since 1918, including both World Wars.

  • So, what does it mean to be a neutral country?

  • Well, neutrality was spelled out in the Hague Convention of 1907, which first defined many of the rules of war.

  • Generally it means that a country has declared their non-participation during a war, and more specifically cannot be counted on to oppose a belligerent country.

  • A belligerent is what we call countries actively engaged in hostile warfare.

  • There are also non-belligerents, who take part in a war through support, but do not actually fight.

  • Most countries declare neutrality on a conflict-to-conflict basis.

  • Some countries, notably Switzerland and Ireland, are considered permanently neutral.

  • Switzerland is also one of the few neutral countries to have a significant military force, known as "armed neutrality."

  • Now, the main draw for declaring neutrality is the fact that no belligerent country is allowed to invade or violate your borders during the course of the war.

  • In theory, this works because it takes you out of the equation.

  • Belligerent countries know that you won’t attack them as long as they don't attack you.

  • However, this doesn’t always work.

  • During Word War I, Belgium was invaded by Germany despite declaring neutrality.

  • Neutrality also comes with limitations in exchange for international protection.

  • Belligerents are expressly forbidden from using a neutral country’s land or water to transport troops, send information, or recruit soldiers.

  • However, wounded soldiers are an exception, and are allowed to be transported.

  • Additionally, people in a neutral country who want to fight are allowed to leave the country to do so.

  • This was seen with Ireland, where Irish troops fought in British ranks during World War II, despite Ireland’s permanent neutrality.

  • If a belligerent does, in fact, attempt to invade a neutral country, that country can fight back without losing its neutral status.

  • Technically, only Finland, Malta, Ireland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkmenistan, and the Vatican City are considered neutral.

  • However, not everyone agrees on the list of neutral countries.

  • Although Ireland acts as a permanently neutral country, it is considered more of a non-belligerent, and is not a signatory of the Hague Convention.

  • A number of countries within the EU, who have never fought in conflicts, are unable to claim neutrality due to the EU’s mutual defense policy.

  • This means that Austria, Finland, Malta, and Sweden are no longer expressly neutral as EU members.

  • However, the implications of this issue have yet to be directly addressed during an actual war.

  • Although neutrality was originally an important aspect of diplomacy, there hasn’t been a far reaching conflict between superpowers since the cold war.

  • There is little threat of invasion for most countries.

  • With fighting limited to individual countries, neutrality looks like it can take a break for now.

  • There are quite a few countries around the world that have no standing army to defend themselves.

  • To check out the list, see our video right here.

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In light of Russia’s increasing military actions throughout Europe, Sweden has reportedly considered casting off its neutral status, and joining NATO.

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B1 US neutrality neutral country war ireland sweden

Which Countries Are Neutral?

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    劉宜佳 posted on 2021/08/09
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