The other day I was link-surfing through Wikipedia -- you know, one of those meandering jaunts from hyperlink to hyperlink that you just kind of follow without thinking, until you come to and you're like, "Holy crap, all I wanted to know was how many times Richard Burton had been divorced and somehow I'm now reading about the Dawson's Field hijackings of 1970" -- and I found myself perusing the list of unrecognized countries. And lo and behold, the nation of Slovakia -- the land of my ancestors, where the morning mist wafting over the Tatras is as lovely and sweet as any perfume -- was on it. Yup, neither Slovakia nor our comrades in the Czech Republic are recognized by Liechtenstein due to an ongoing dispute over something called the Beneš decrees. Liechtenstein!
So my natural reaction to that is -- what the fuck, Liechtenstein? Who do you think you are, all hugged up between Switzerland and Austria like that? You may have the highest nominal GDP per capita in the world according to the CIA, but that just makes you a bunch of rich skiing twerps, it doesn't make you special. For your refusal to respect my homeland, Liechtenstein, you're not only getting a permanent spot on my "On Notice" board, you're the subject of this week's +5 -- as in Five Reasons Liechtenstein Sucks.
How small? Sixty-two square miles, y'all, meaning that Rhode Island dwarfs Liechtenstein. Luxembourg is more than 15 times the size of Liechtenstein. In fact, all but five sovereign nations in the world are bigger than Liechtenstein, including Slovakia. You call yourself a country? The city of Birmingham is both bigger and more populated than you. I've probably flown into airports bigger than you. Speaking of which . . .
They don't have a single airport
Nope, if you want to go to Liechtenstein -- and why the hell would you? -- the best you can do is fly into Zurich (above) and rent a car. The only landing area of any kind is a heliport in Balzers (heh, Balzers), and it doesn't even have any regularly scheduled flights.
They depend on Switzerland for their military
However, air travel is only one of many things Liechtenstein has to go running to daddy Switzerland for. Liechtenstein is one of the few countries in the world to have no army of any kind, so according to the CIA, they turned over responsibility for their national defense to Switzerland. Apparently they got rid of their own military in 1868 because -- get this -- it was too expensive. Yeah, the country with the highest per-capita GDP on earth is too cheap to field a field an army to defend their sixty-two lousy square miles of suck. There's just one problem, Liechtenstein -- you put your defense in the hands of what is, as we all know, a neutral country. Going to them for military protection is kind of like asking a priest for advice on how to get laid. So stellar strategy there, guys. Bra-vo.
Their national football team sucks
Team Liechtenstein's highest-ever FIFA ranking was 118th in the country; in the qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, they came in next-to-last in their group with a 2-2-8 record. (And lost by an aggregate score of 7-0 to . . . ? That's right, Slovakia, bitches.) To look at it another way, San Marino's national team has won only one match in its 22-year history, and it was against Liechtenstein. If that's the best you can do, guys, you might as well hang it up. Maybe ping-pong is more your speed.
They've chosen profiting from Nazism over respecting the sovereignty of our glorious Slovak homeland
OK, so the whole dispute over the Beneš decrees? What happened was Czechoslovakia seized some Nazi property in the wake of World War II, and some of it just happened to belong to Prince Franz Joseph II, who profited directly from the Holocaust. And it was Liechtenstein's hissy fit over Nazi boy's ill-gotten gains that inspired the whole "I'm not diplomatically recognizing you, I'm not diplomatically recognizing you" routine with Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Awfully defensive about that Nazi heritage, huh, Liechtenstein? Hmmmm?
So in conclusion, Liechtenstein, you may consider yourself comprehensively, diplomatically, and internationally pwn3d. That's courtesy of the other red, white and blue. And if your buddy Switzerland doesn't like it, he can come get some of this, too.
And now, the Ten, coming to you this week courtesy of the iPhone:
1. The Clash, "Something About England"
2. Richard Cheese, "Welcome to the Jungle"
3. U2, "Zoo Station"
4. The Chemical Brothers, "Marvo Ging" (Big Bad Baz remix)
5. The Kinks, "Nothin' in This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl"
6. U2, "New Year's Day"
7. Radio 4, "Struggle"
8. Thom Yorke, "The Eraser"
9. Pet Shop Boys, "West End Girls" (Sasha remix)
10. Pet Shop Boys, "We Came From Outer Space"
Now then, readers, if you got beef with any of the world's sovereign nations, consider this your opportunity to vent (and share your own Random Tens while you're at it) in the comments.