Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pax Romana Redux

In March 2007, Switzerland invaded Liechtenstein.

In the middle of the night, 171 Swiss soldiers crossed into Liechtenstein. They penetrated over two kilometers into the country and met no resistance. They entered through a dark and unprotected forest.

After getting 2km into Liechtenstein, the commander of the Swiss guard realized what was happening.

Why did Switzerland invade its tiny and helpless neighbor? To seize its resources? Destroy the liberties of a helpless and tiny principality?

No. The Swiss company had gotten lost in the dense Swiss forest and taken a wrong turn. They had crossed the border by mistake.

They had accidentally launched an invasion.

The Swiss company, heavily armed with rifles but no ammunition, promptly turned around and hastily beat feet back to Swiss soil.

One of the soldiers explained their mistake: "It was all so dark."

How did Liechtenstein react?

They did not even notice until Swiss leadership called them up in the morning and told them, at which point they laughed it off.

One Liechtenstein authority said that "it's not like they invaded with attack helicopters."


Also in March 2007, two British vessels--inflatable boats--accidentally crossed into disputed waters in the Strait of Hormuz. It still remains unclear whether they truly entered Iranian waters.

The Navy of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard seized them and held them in Tehran for two weeks, and relations between the U.K. and Iran became tense.

But, on Easter Sunday, Iran released all the sailors unharmed. According to President Ahmadinejad:

"For the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people — with all powers and legal right to put the soldiers on trial — forgave those 15. This pardon is a gift to the British people."


  1. What were Brits in inflatable boats doing in the Strait of Hormuz?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Just regular patrols in (what they thought were) Iraqi waters. Routine.