Letter to the Editor

No neutrality on a case-by-case basis

Our state neutrality is a demanding state maxim. It is respected worldwide like the Red Cross and forms the basis for the great reputation of our small state around the globe. Our neutrality is not tied to any kind of sympathies or dislikes or to political parties at home or abroad. And it is intergenerational, i.e. very long-term oriented, often described as perpetual neutrality. It thus remains removed from one’s own momentary thinking of advantages and disadvantages.
  Since all conflicts come to an end sooner or later and lead to a peace solution – albeit one that is judged differently – Swiss neutrality can be helpful in the case of conflict and within the framework of a peace order. In this context, credible neutrality is indispensable. It is always an instrument of peace that can be used over a long period of time thanks to its honourable nature. It therefore goes without saying that expressions of sympathy by public officials for one or the other party to the conflict violate the requirement of impartiality. In contrast, neutrality in no way restricts impartial humanitarian aid.
  These considerations cannot be reconciled with selective deliveries of weapons or ammunition to conflict parties (“Neue Zürcher Zeitung” of 21 February 2023), even if domestic war material production would have to endure short-term disadvantages as a result. If one does not want to risk these disadvantages for reasons of expediency, one must admit that integral neutrality means less to one than other advantages.
  The NZZ article of 21 February 2023, which accuses a political party (in concreto the Swiss Popular Party) of stubbornness in adhering to neutrality, fails to recognise that it is not a question of stubbornness, but of generally credible adherence to the concept of neutrality, which does not tolerate any partial abolition on a situational basis. Neutrality on a case-by-case basis is not neutrality and contradicts the successful long-term Swiss concept of the state. Later generations should also remain committed to integral neutrality. It would be difficult to find a better basic attitude for our small country.

Hanspeter Bornhauser, Bedano

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