Tuesday, November 18, 2003

You know, when I think of countries that specialize in the mercenary business, I usually think of cold, barren, mountainous nations - countries with little prospects, where the terrain actively encourages its sons and daughters to find their armed fortunes in foreign lands. The Scots of French military tradition. The Swiss Guards of the Vatican. The Norwegians and Danes of the Varangian Guard in the Byzantine days of Constantinople. Even the Kurds of the latter days of the Baghdad Caliphate.

So when did sunny, tropical, lush Fiji become this era's best-known exporter of mercenary troops? Perhaps Fiji is more mountainous and barren that I had always assumed. A check of the CIA Factbook definitely seems to indicate that it is, indeed, mountainous, and an arable land percentage under 11% ranks it below Afghanistan and Iran, and about equal with traditional-mercenary-exporters Switzerland and Scotland.

Huh. The things you think that just ain't so.

No comments: