"The pope! How many divisions has he got?" Joseph Stalin is said to have asked derisively with regard to the physical power of the Catholic Church. The Vatican is one of the rare countries in the world without armed forces. But it's not totally alone. More than 20 other countries lack standing armies, though the length of the list varies depending on how you count armies and countries (and it grows substantially longer if you include autonomous territories like Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands).
The CIA World Factbook lists 22 independent countries that don't have regular military forces—23 if you decide, contra the CIA, not to count Vatican City's largely ceremonial Swiss Guard as a military. Here they are (sorry, Swiss Guard):
|17.||St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
Not entirely by coincidence, these countries include seven of the world's 10 smallest independent countries by land area—a list that, in addition to the Holy See, comprises small island nations like Tuvalu and Nauru, as well as San Marino, another landlocked city-state on the Italian peninsula. "Traditionally [those countries] weren't subject to invasion," explained Peter Stearns, a George Mason professor who edited the 2013 book Demilitarization in the Contemporary World. Some formerly U.S.-administered territories, like the Marshall Islands and Palau, simply never established militaries after achieving independence, instead leaving the U.S. in charge of their defense.