The Russian invasion of Ukraine, a conflict that many experts expected to be over in days, has now stretched on for months. The reason many pundits expected such a short conflict is the relative differences in military size between the warring nations, with Russia’s forces many times larger than that of Ukraine.
The fact that the invasion has dragged on for so long is a reminder that a standing army may not be the only military force in a country. Ukraine’s military numbers 196,000, but many of its citizens have joined in the battle for independence.
The size of military forces generally corresponds to the population. There are a few exceptions, the most notable of which is North Korea. In the United States, less than 2% of the labor force is in the military. In North Korea, the figure comes close to 9%.
Thirty-six nations in the world have no standing militaries at all, according to the CIA World Factbook, as compiled by the World Population Review. Some of these are territories. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the list, adding population figures from the World Bank.
According to World Population Review, “Countries without militaries have either been demilitarized, never established a military when the country was created, or are former colonies/dependencies of nations with militaries and are still under the protection of those countries.”
Greenland is an example. The largest island in the world is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Another country without a military is Liechtenstein. Its population is only 39,000. It covers only 62 square miles and sits between Austria and Switzerland.
The Falkland Islands is another territory without a military. It was the site of a war between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 1982. Currently, it is a British Overseas Territory. (Many of the countries on this list are among the world’s least populated countries. And this country has the fewest residents in the world.)
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