On FP Switzerland Goes Rogue: Is it still possible for a country to be neutral? BY STEVE KETTMAN The Swiss like the Irish view neutrality as a moral position. It was never that. It's always been more a matter of expediency for either country. The Swiss did rather well out of holding the coats in two worlds wars. They have always chosen their alignments carefully and switched them smartly. It was very clear they were in the US camp in the Cold War. Modern threats all require collective defense. Irish neutrality is also a joke. What's left of their economy runs on Septic venture capital. But the Swiss are not an Atlantic island, they can't even dream of being economically closer to Boston than Brussels. A small land locked country at the heart of Europe can only play at isolationist neutrality. The Jewish gold scandal shook some of the smugness out of the country a while back. The recent financial crisis saw the public turn angrily on the on the bailed out bankers of Piratenplatz. There a suspicion abroad that worse is to come. Now they are firmly interlocked with an EU essential to their economic health but steadily eroding their protectionist legal codes. The Banks have DC, Bonn and Paris breathing down their necks over facilitating tax evasion and other financial high jinks are nearly on the point of "going legit". The only bright spot for Zurich's bankers is their London rivals have also lost the paddle in a funk of failed risk management and seem even more deluded about their future prospects. There is a very genuine problem with immigration. The Swiss don't breed, often emigrate. They are the largest consumers of chocolate, cigars, porn and heroin in Europe. Much of the youth is permanently shrouded in a hippie haze of skunk. Many natives fall back on the countries luxurious benefits system or play at heavily subsidized micro-farming. It's a rich rather egalitarian country. Pay is good and the differential between blue color salaries and white is much lower than the UK. The widely admired social system and infrastructure are excellent. The natives are multilingual and surprisingly tolerant of language difficulties. The nicely diversified economy is strong enough to support a larger work force and its a very comfortable place to live. Some cantons are sparsely populated and eager for in comers. The aging, well pensioned population needs more young tax payers to feather their retirement but resents the resulting influx. Most Swiss cities are 40% foreigner. A blitzkrieg of well educated thrusting Germans is shouldering the sleepy Swiss middle classes aside. A million more will come to the small country in the next decade. A proportionally massive wave that dwarfs the Polish Plumber phenomenon in Ireland and the UK. They are almost certain to make the country much richer but it will be a painful culture shock. Imagine Scotland having nearly its entire intelligentsia taken over by braying Englishmen and you'll get some idea of how Swiss Germans will feel. At the bottom of the food chain fast breeding Turks, Yougos and N.Africans do the manual labor the slow handed natives shy away from and increasingly compete for the skilled work they prize. To top it off Hannibal Gaddafi unwisely arrested for behaving like Saudi Princelings frequently do in Geneva has had his dad comprehensively humiliate the Swiss who were an eager consumer of Libya's hydrocarbons. There is a grumpy and paranoid mood in the country easily exploited by the populist SVP. The boil messily burst in an asinine referendum over minarets last year. A grand sulk of a vote the SVP were shocked to win in a countrywide landslide. I smell trouble ahead particularly with those Germans.