Dilbert Alert: The Swiss Army War-Games ‘Elbonia’ Conflict

Are Swiss military planners secret fans of Scott Adams’ Dilbert comic strip? The evidence says yes.

Zoe Schneeweiss of Bloomberg reports that last fall the Swiss army “drilled for a conflict between two fictitious neighboring states in crisis.” Their names? Danubia and Elbonia.

In Dilbert, Elbonia is “the worst place on Earth” — a nation of tall-hatted goofballs that accuses Dilbert of stealing its secret recipe for making mud (spoiler alert: dirt and water). Not the kind of place that any of Switzerland’s actual neighbors would want to be compared with. On the war-game map, Elbonia is north of Switzerland in a place that’s partly actual Germany and partly actual France.

The World Economic Forum under way in Davos is the biggest actual, as opposed to fictitious, operation that the Swiss army engages in each year. About 3,300 troops are in and around the mountain resort, protecting heads of state and other attendees.

The neutral Swiss rarely have occasion to fire their weapons in anger. As Schneeweiss reports, “While 170 Swiss soldiers on night maneuvers accidentally invaded neighboring Liechtenstein almost six years ago, Switzerland itself was last occupied in 1798 by French troops under the command of Napoleon.”

From the looks of it, that leaves a certain amount of time in the war room to giggle over Dilbert cartoons.

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