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melian 22 June 2015 12:57 PM
71%

if you want to actually benefit from making demands to a country, you have to convince them it's somehow legitimate.


Can you give an example when this was successfully accomplished? I cannot recall any cases where a country voluntary gave up a part of its territory because it was convinced of legitimacy of another country’s demands. At least not in the European history.


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DanielLC 22 June 2015 07:15 PM
61%

It's not an all-or-nothing thing. They'd be more willing to surrender for more legitimate reasons. Also, countries will be more willing to ally with a country that's acting legitimately, and against a country acting illegitimately.

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melian 23 June 2015 05:50 PM
70%

Off the top of my head, I can recall only three cases in European history when a country surrendered without a fight. Czechoslovakia to Germans in 1938; Romania surrendered a large part of its territory to the USSR and Hungary (the latter was done under German pressure) in 1940; Baltic republics to the USSR in 1940. I don’t think that in any of these cases the surrendering side saw much legitimacy in the German or Soviet demands.

Regarding alliances - how does one estimate the relative importance of legitimacy in a country’s foreign policy? My guess is that we would need to check how often countries formed an alliance that went against their selfish interests or the interests of their rulers. Do you know many such examples?


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VoiceOfRa 26 June 2015 09:02 PM
64%

This is hard to answer because it can always be argued that maintaining the system of legitimacy is in the selfish interest of the rulers.

As far as rulers prioritizing legitimacy over (other) selfish interests, one good example is the peace of Vienna, especially the handing over France in its pre-revolutionary borders to the Bourbons, despite them being in no position to negotiate, simple to establish the principle that the revolutionary government had never been the legitimate government of France.


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melian 27 June 2015 05:39 AM
70%

The congress of Vienna is a very interesting example (I initially planned to discuss it in the article but then thought it might be boring for most people). It was probably the first serious attempt to establish the New World Order based on general principles (the next two would come after the WWI and WWII). In the end though, I don’t think it the principle of legitimacy made a decisive impact on the Congress decisions.

In the congress, the principle was more honored in the breach than in the observance. For example, the legitimate kings of Denmark and Saxony lost a large part of their patrimony (and would lose more had Austria and Britain not opposed it for selfish reasons). By contrast, two Napoleon former generals were allowed to keep their crowns (in one case, mainly because the king’s wife happened to be Metternich’s mistress).

I think the main reason the allies restored Bourbons (other than clever tricks by Fouche and Talleyrand) was that they had no good way of dividing it between themselves. The allies generally had no problem with expanding their borders at the expense of weaker countries and would expand even more if it were not for their mutual jealousies.

You are right, though, that selfish interests of the rulers can trump the selfish interests of their nations.


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DanielLC 28 June 2015 11:20 AM
58%

They only call it surrendering if it's really close to a fight. People have signed plenty of treaties without fighting.

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melian 6 July 2015 07:00 AM
70%

Did such treaties involve giving up territory?

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Fwiffo 22 June 2015 01:18 PM
56%

Some areas are given more willingly in peace talks. It's a little tense the question how voluntary terms of a peace treaty are.

I think the state of Israel didn't need a war to establish borders where already existing nations were present.

In a lot of wars winners didn't claim new land they could have took. Germany still existed and didn't even shrink significantly compared to preworld war II which was pretty nice.

Russia stragith up sold Alaska to USA. That was pretty voluntary.

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Alice 22 June 2015 01:51 PM
67%

I think the state of Israel didn't need a war to establish borders where already existing nations were present.


Which war is it that Israel started but didn't need to in order to establish some sort of borders?

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Fwiffo 22 June 2015 03:00 PM
50%

Israel is pretty war active but I had the idea that the initial borders of Israel were essentially gifted to them because their ethnicity had so much burn victims.

Looked up more information it seemed that the post WWII immigration pressure was too much for the local british overlords to handle. There was enough violent civil unrest that they just washed their hands and went home. I am not super clear did it escalate to a miniwar or not but in the resulting "who the f runs this area now?" the UN council gave a blessing for the area to become the nation of Israel. So it was like a human DDoS attack where a lot of people simultanoeusly decided to enter the Israel area and it crashed the local goverment.

In a way the british empire didn't feel like getting into wars about arabs getting angry about the population distribution of it. So instead of risking new enemies they left the area to fight the angry people alone. And often and frequently did they fight them, but the rest of the empire pretty much dodged a lot of war in dumping that part (rest of the empire wasn't ready to defend that colony).

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