Neutral Swiss Becoming US Lapdogs, Critics Charge

'Active neutrality' policy questioned after Polanski, UBS decisions
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2009 7:06 AM CDT
Hillary Clinton, right, is welcomed by Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, left, before the signing ceremony of a Turkey and Armenia peace deal in Zurich, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Christian Hartmann, Pool)
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(Newser) – Some Swiss politicians are griping that the country's prized neutrality appears to be sliding as the government adopts a more accommodating stance toward US authorities. The government agreed in August to turn over the names of thousands of suspected American tax dodgers banking with UBS, and Roman Polanski was busted in Geneva last month on a 31-year-old extradition warrant, leading an opposition politician to accuse the government of "taking orders from foreign bosses."

The Swiss government denies favoring the US or any other foreign power, and says the high-level contacts gained through its policy of "active neutrality" have helped quickly resolve matters like the UBS dispute, the Wall Street Journal reports. The policy has seen the country move beyond hosting diplomatic talks to actively offering to mediate in international conflicts; analysts agree that it has helped the country punch above its weight in the global arena, but  most say it isn't enough to allow Switzerland to resist when the US puts pressure on.