published Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Sweden, Switzerland and jet fighters

Can you think of any mature nation that has been more peaceful and peace-loving than Switzerland and Sweden?

And yet we read that gentle little Switzerland is planning to purchase 22 Gripen fighter jets from equally gentle Sweden's Saab AB -- at a cost of roughly $3.4 billion -- to replace its fleet of American-made Northrop F-5 Tigers.

The Saab aircraft beat out higher-cost fighter jets from a French company and from a European consortium.

We don't begrudge Switzerland its decision to get its fighter jets from Sweden. We do wonder, however, if we should be concerned that U.S.-made aircraft -- including some of the best in the world -- apparently were not high on the list of possibilities.

As for the seeming contradiction of a peaceful country such as Switzerland spending a good deal of money on national defense, it's really not contradictory at all. An adage holds that "If you want peace, prepare for war."

And it's true. Nations are less likely to face attack if their potential attackers know that they can fight back.

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