The morality of conquering territory for living space?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,116
SoCal
#1
I was wondering what everyone's thoughts on the mortality of conquering territory for living space--whether in the past or in the present--is.

I mean, I feel rather conflicted about this considering that, on one hand, I support national self-determination--for instance, allowing territories to secede from the country which they are a part of. (This is evidenced by my support of the break-up of the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.) On the other hand, though, I really do have a soft spot for the U.S.'s conquest of large amounts of Mexican territory back in 1848 due to the fact that the U.S. managed to make excellent use of this territory afterwards (by turning it into its living space, et cetera). (I also like the fact that the U.S. gave U.S. citizenship to the people who were living in this territory at the time that it was conquered. Indeed, if one is going to expand, this is certainly the proper course of action.) In turn, this makes me wonder--if it was fair game for the U.S. to expand into northern Mexico in order to acquire living space, and it was fair game for, say, Russia to expand into Siberia and northern Kazakhstan for the same reason, shouldn't it be fair game for other countries to do this as well if these countries genuinely have an overpopulation problem and have a lot of people who are willing to settle on newly acquired living space?

I mean, we certainly have international law right now. However, powerful countries have the luxury of violating international law with relative impunity if they so choose--for instance, take a look at the U.S.'s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and Russia's annexation of Crimea. In turn, this makes one wonder if the current system of international law is the best one out there. I mean, I certainly don't approve of what the Nazis wanted to do considering that it involved mass ethnic cleansing and genocide, but if a country genuinely has an overpopulation problem (and Nazi Germany did not) and wants to expand its territory and also grant citizenship to everyone who is already living in its newly acquired territory (like the U.S. did in 1848), I'm not so sure that having this country expand is the worst thing that can happen.

Anyway, any thoughts on this? Indeed, do you view the U.S.'s expansion into northern Mexico and Russia's expansion into Siberia and northern Kazakhstan as being illegitimate?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,116
SoCal
#2
Also, can someone please change the title of this thread? It's supposed to be "morality," not "mortality."

In addition to this, a question mark should probably be added to the end of the title of this thread.
 
Last edited:
Jun 2012
7,418
Malaysia
#3
Well, depends a hellluva lot on who one poses the question to, I suppose. To an American, it might be viewed as 'expansion for the legitimate purpose of acquiring more living space'. Whereas, to a Mexican it wud more likely be 'crude, brutal conquest'.
 
Likes: MamlukWarrior

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,116
SoCal
#4
Well, depends a hellluva lot on who one poses the question to, I suppose. To an American, it might be viewed as 'expansion for the legitimate purpose of acquiring more living space'. Whereas, to a Mexican it wud more likely be 'crude, brutal conquest'.
Oh, absolutely. Indeed, I am sure that there are still some sore feelings among Mexicans about this topic even today. After all, such a policy favors the strong over the weak--which is why, say, Russians might embrace this policy but not Kazakhs or Kyrgyz.

Also, as a side note, I wonder how a plebiscite in Alta California and New Mexico would have looked like in 1848. Specifically, I am curious as to whether the U.S. or Mexico would have won such a plebiscite. (In regards to Texas, I am pretty sure that the U.S. would have won a plebiscite there since American settlers significantly outnumbered Mexicans in Texas even back in 1836.)
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,262
here
#5
How many groups, peoples, nations, bands or tribes throughout history can claim to have never conquered territory?

I think the answer to this question would be helpful (to me at least) in answering your question, Futurist, about whether or not conquering territory is moral/immoral/amoral.
 

Pedro

Forum Staff
Mar 2008
17,151
On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
#7
Also, can someone please change the title of this thread? It's supposed to be "morality," not "mortality."

In addition to this, a question mark should probably be added to the end of the title of this thread.
Done deed.
 
Jul 2016
9,680
USA
#8
Different times call for different morality. We can't place our own on history, its just not supposed to happen that way. They should be judged by contemporary mores. We can learn lessons from them, based on our own morality. I guess that means don't invade other people's lands to take their land and drive them off.