First World Expansion

Is it possible in the future that we’ll have any nations expanding their territory in Europe and North America? Now, I’m sure we could say that in thousands of years it’ll likely happen eventually, but I’m wondering if, if not in the forseeable future, in the not to distant future do you think contries with aggressively expand their borders?

Now, I initially thought up this question with Europe in mind, but I decided that the North American borders also fall in the same condition it seems. I guess parts of Asia also compare to teh stability of Europe, but I’m not sure…I’ll leave it to you all to decide who to consider.

Now, I suppose that one day we could see two countires merging like Belguim and France, or Austria and Germany. Any two nations with similar cultures. But does anyone forsee a circumstance that would allow these stable and mutually dependant nations to attempt a forcible acqusition (not necessarily military) of land? I find it hard to imagine these parts of the world existing for centuries in complete stasis.

Any opinions?

You know, it’s weird, I’ve often wondered this exact same thing myself for a long, long time. As a youth (who am I kidding… I’m still a youth!) I’d wonder what would happen if the US decided to sell some land to Canada… what would the people living on that land think? I realize NOW that this scenario probably wouldn’t come up, but hey, I was young (like, ten or eleven).

Nowadays, I think the most likely scenario involving territory alteration would also include a war or some other extreme circumstance (like the fall of communist Russia). After all, people really don’t like large-scale changes like that being thrust upon them, and changing from one nationality to the next would be difficult, especially if it’s for no reason other than government officials getting drunk and redrawing the map.

To fully answer the question… I think the world climate is gearing towards a war. Maybe not World War III, maybe not global thermonuclear war, but SOMEthing that will result in a redrawing of the map (and I don’t think that it will come from Germany again, either). That’s just my semi-paranoid opinion, of course, but it’s something.

It seems to my, admittedly faulty, perceptions that the days of countries expanding their borders through conquest are pretty much over. Of course, thats not to say that imperialism is completely gone, but rather that it has taken a new form.
After all, what is the point in militarily occupying a country when you can simply fund rebels or terrorists within the country, and set up a puppet government friendly to you? The benefits economically are pretty much the same, and if managed right you can come out of the whole thing without losing a single man in battle. (The people actually in the other country will lose plenty, but the expanding power won’t)

North America: If anybody’s going to be expanding, it’s likely to be the U.S. (hard to imagine the weaker powers in N.A. expanding into the more powerful one), but I don’t see the political conditions for this arising anywhere.

Europe’s a better bet. Western Europe has been stable for fifty years or so, and unless the E.U. fails in a big way, my guess would be that it’ll stay that way for a good long while. But eastern Europe’s got some potential for large border shifts. There’s a number of weak states that haven’t really gotten off their feet since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, and some countries that are still less than ten years old. The Czech Republic, Slovokia, Romania, Belarus, the Baltic States, and so on. These borders haven’t been stable for terribly long, so I don’t see why they should be in the future. Southeast Europe is an even better bet. Will Kosovo become an independent country? Has the shattering of Yugoslavia ended yet? Will Greece and Turkey ever really bury the hatchet? All of these are opportunities for border shifts in the near future, much to our misfortune. As if that part of the world hasn’t suffered enough!

As Wevets said, all the regions that are likely to have climactic border-shifts are the global “hot-spots” that we hear about in the news every now and then. Another big question mark is Israel, what with the conflict 'tween them and the Palestinians. Strangely, a lot of these conflicts are between religious groups (or for religious reasons). Then there’s the trouble 'tween China and Taiwan… etc. etc…

The last time somebody decided to really go after another country was Iraq, and looked what happened to them. I think that, if any border-shifts were to occur between the more stable countries (that is, between the US and Canada, or between France and Spain, etc.), it would be a practically miniscule shift of only a few miles, on land that nobody really lives on. The purpose of such a shift is beyond me, and we’d probably never hear about it.

There is actually a movement for this to happen. There’s a small part of Minnesota known as the “Northwest Angle” that consists of a small peninsula in Lake of the Woods. This peninsula, however, has no land connection to the U.S., it a peninsula off of mainland Ontario. The people there have an entire industry based on tourism and fishing, however most of their fishing grounds are in Canadian waters. Ontario Provincial regulations levy heavy tarrifs on fish caught in Canada by foreign entities, and this is hurting the communities of the Northwest Angle. As such, there has been a movement, championed by a Minnesota Congressman to seceed this area of the U.S. to Canada. Now, this would be a very minor change, to say the least, but it would definately qualify, if it occured, as change in land border between the U.S. and Canada. For more info on this, do a search in any news source (northern light works pretty good) under Northwest Angle Secession.

Getting back to the OP, the question was whether any 1st world countries would aggressively expand their borders.

US and Canada has been mentioned, but its almost inconceivable that the US would seize territory, more likely some of our Canadian friends would ask to join should Quebec finally go its own way.

Also, border changes may occur in the Baltics, for example, but those aren’t first world countries.

My somewhat blase answer: there will be no aggressive expansion of borders in the first world because liberal democracies don’t fight each other.