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The Territorial Integrity Norm: International Boundaries and the Use of Force.

Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor's landmark.

--Deuteronomy 27:17

Good fences make good neighbors.

--Robert Frost, Mending Wall

In the late twentieth century many international relations scholars and observers have commented on the declining importance of interstate territorial boundaries for a variety of national and transnational activities. [1] Concurrently, something very significant has been happening in international relations that raises questions concerning judgments of the decreasing importance of boundaries: the growing respect for the proscription that force should not be used to alter interstate boundaries--what is referred to here as the territorial integrity norm. [2] The development of a norm concerning respect for states' territoriality is particularly important because scholars have established that territorial disputes have been the major cause of enduring interstate rivalries, the frequency of war, and the intensity of war. [3] After reviewing studies on interstate wars, John Vasquez wrote that "Of all the issues over which wars could logically be fought, territorial issues seem to be the ones most often associated with wars. Few interstate wars are fought without any territorial issue being involved in one way or another." [4]

In this article I trace the dramatic change in attitudes and practices of states in the Westphalian international order concerning the use of force to alter interstate boundaries. I also explore the factors that have shaped this historical change. Of course, the Western state system did not expand to most of Asia and Africa until the twentieth century, and even the Latin American states were marginal to the system in the nineteenth century. In the first section I briefly outline the attitudes and practices of states regarding territorial boundaries from the seventeenth century until World War II. In the second section I focus on the remarkable changes in beliefs and practices from World War II until the present. In the third section I explore the roots of the territorial integrity norm. States' motivations for accepting the territorial integrity norm have been both instrumental and ideational, and the importance of different motivations has varied among groups of states. Also, the coincidence of a number of conditions has been crucial for the growing strength of the norm.

International Boundaries from the Seventeenth to the Early Twentieth Century

Political life has not always disclosed a clearly defined system of international boundaries. The medieval world did not have international boundaries as we understand them today; [5] authority over territorial spaces was overlapping and shifting. The political change from the medieval to the modern world involved the construction of the delimited territorial state with exclusive authority over its domain. Even at that, precisely surveyed national borders only came into clear view in the eighteenth century. [6] In the words of Hedley Bull, the practice of establishing international boundaries emerged in the eighteenth century as "a basic rule of co-existence." [7]

The birth of the modern interstate system is often dated at the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, although key features of the system emerged gradually and fluctuated in strength before and after 1648. Initially, the legitimacy of interstate borders was defined in dynastic terms: state territory was the exclusive property of ruling families, and they had an absolute right to rule their territories. But this international order did not reflect any absolute right to particular territory that could legitimately change hands by inheritance, marriage, war, compensation, and purchase. [8] In these early centuries of the Westphalian order territory was the main factor that determined the security and wealth of states, and thus the protection and acquisition of territory were prime motivations of foreign policy. Most wars, in fact, concerned the acquisition of territory, and most of these wars led to exchanges of territory; this practice continued until the middle of the twentieth century (see Table 1). These practices were reflected in the legal norm concerning the legitimacy of conquest. To quote the eminent international legal scholar Lassa Oppenheim writing in 1905, "As long as a Law of Nations has been in existence, the states as well as the vast majority of writers have recognized subjugation as a mode of acquiring territory." [9]

In the early centuries of the Westphalian system the populations of the early modern states were often culturally diverse and politically disorganized. Many people were not collectively identified by state borders that moved back and forth without much regard for them. [10] The practice of drawing boundaries in disregard of the people living in the territories was extended from Europe to the rest of the world during the age of Western colonialism from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. This was often carried out with little attention to the cultural and ethnic character of the indigenous peoples of the non-European world. Yet it was the borders that were initially drawn and imposed by Western imperialists that later became the acceptable reference for articulating anticolonial demands for self-determination and independent statehood. [11]

The nineteenth century was, of course, the age of nationalism, which was spurred by the French Revolution and Napoleon's support for popular sovereignty and national self-determination. These intellectual currents began to alter peoples' views concerning the legitimacy of territorial conquests. "From the middle of the nineteenth century the current of opinion, influenced by the growing belief in national self-determination, was moving against the legitimacy of annexation outside the colonial sphere, when effected without the consent of the inhabitants." [12] Sharon Korman referred to this change in attitudes as the beginning of an "important change in the moral climate of international relations." [13] This moral climate, with its clear democratic thrust, however, had conflicting implications for the stability of boundaries. On the one hand, nationalism supported the precept that a territory belonged to a national grouping and it was wrong to take the land from a nation. On the other hand, nationalism provid ed grounds for a national grouping in one state trying to secede to form an independent state or to unite with its ethnic compatriots living in other states. In fact, nationalism had a more disruptive than pacifying effect on international relations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as was witnessed in the wars surrounding the unification of the German and Italian peoples and in the division of the Hapsburg, Hohenzollern, and Ottoman empires into numerous national states. [14]

Three interrelated territorial issues during and at the end of World War I were whether the victorious states should be able to take territory from the defeated, whether states should commit themselves to respect the territorial integrity of other states, and whether national self-determination should take precedence over respect for existing state boundaries in shaping the territorial order. On the first issue, in the early years of World War I the major states still supported the right of victorious states to realize territorial gains, and this was reflected in their secret treaties concerning territorial exchanges at the end of the war. This perspective was altered significantly following the United States' entry into the war, the Russian revolution in 1917, and popular pressure against territorial annexation in some countries. [15] In the 1919 Versailles settlement the victorious states only obtained small territorial concessions in Europe, although they realized some significant gains by dividing up the colonies of the defeated powers. Still, these colonies were declared League Mandates, and the new colonial powers were implicitly obligated to prepare the colonial peoples for self-governance--especially in the case of the former Turkish territories. [16] As Korman has noted, while "It cannot be concluded ... that the distinguishing feature of the territorial settlement of 1919 was the abandonment of the legal doctrine of the right of a victor to dispose of the territory of the vanquished by right of conquest ... from the perspective of the evolution of attitudes towards the right of states to acquire territory by conquest or military victory, the First World War undoubtedly marked a moral turning point." [17]

On the second issue, the obligation to uphold the territorial integrity of all states, President Woodrow Wilson was the strongest protagonist. His famous "Fourteenth Point" spoke of "specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike." [18] Such a revolutionary proposal took the form of Article 10 of the League of Nations Covenant, whose approval really constituted the beginning of states' formal support for the territorial integrity norm. It read: "The members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League."

On the third question of the weight that should be given to the right of national self-determination in redrawing international boundaries, there was clearly tension within democratic governments between protagonists of national self-determination and respect for existing boundaries; and the former generally lost. Even President Wilson, who was viewed as the leader of the national self-determination cause, came out fundamentally on the side of respect for territorial integrity. National self-determination for ethnic nations was not mentioned in the covenant, and at the Versailles conference self-determination for ethnic nations was only applied to some of the territories of the defeated states in World War I. [19] Overall, recognition of the territorial boundaries of juridical states gained significant support in post-World War I settlements.

Following the World War I peace settlements, the territorial integrity norm was supported in several multilateral declarations and treaties. The 1928 General Treaty for the Renunciation of War (better known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact) certainly included support for the prohibition against territorial aggressions, although it did not explicitly focus on territorial aggrandizement. [20] The norm was then directly supported by the League's backing for the Stimson Doctrine in 1931, which denied the legitimacy of territorial changes obtained by force. [21]

Despite broad backing for the norm in these multilateral declarations, the supportive political conditions for maintaining the territorial status quo during the interwar decades were not as strong as many leaders hoped. First of all, there was the problem of inconsistency and inequity in some of the 1919 settlements that evoked dissatisfaction in a number of countries. For example, for entering the war on the side of the allies the Italians were given a piece of formerly Austro-Hungarian territory where few Italians lived. This was an obvious throwback to a past era when territories were exchanged with little attention to the local populations. Far more significant was the division of the German nation, leaving millions of Germans residing in the new or reborn states of Czechoslovakia and Poland. [22] Second, by the 1930s the great powers were divided in their commitment to the territorial integrity norm, and the supporters lacked the commitment to use force to uphold states' territorial boundaries. In parti cular, Britain, France, and the United States stood by and tolerated the territorial expansionism of Japan, Germany, and Italy before they finally met these aggressive powers with military force.

At the end of World War II the Western Allied Powers exhibited very strong support for the integrity of interstate boundaries. With one exception they did not request or obtain sovereignty over any territories that belonged to the defeated powers, although they did obtain some UN Trust Territories that were formerly colonies of Japan and Italy and that they were obliged to bring to independence. The exception was the right of the United States to maintain control over some of the Pacific islands that formerly belonged to Japan. [23] The same approach toward territorial gains, however, was not true for the Soviet Union, which continued to operate with a classical view of boundaries, namely, that the victors in wars could claim territorial spoils. The Baltic states were integrated into the Soviet Union by Stalin against the wishes of their populations and without the recognition of major Western powers. The Soviet Union also absorbed parts of Poland, Germany, Finland, Rumania, the southern half of Japan's Sakh alin Island, and Japan's Kurile Islands. In addition, the territory of postwar Germany was realigned and reduced. These changes were clearly reminiscent of the outcomes of wars in earlier centuries, but they were the last major diplomatic developments in Europe that blatantly defied the consent principle in the determination of international boundaries. [24] Finally, despite most countries' accession to the territorial gains of the Soviet Union, all countries at the 1945 San Francisco conference acceded to the obligation to respect existing boundaries in the UN Charter: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state." [25]

The Evolution of the Territorial Integrity Norm Since 1945

General Legal and Declaratory Developments

The UN Charter of 1945, as noted, affirmed states' obligation not to use force to alter states' boundaries. This same respect for the borders of juridical entities influenced the UN's approach to de-colonization. The colonial territory, which was often artificial in terms of delimiting ethnic nations, became the frame of reference for making and responding to claims for self-determination and political independence. [26] The 1960 UN Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples made clear that it was existing colonies, and not ethnic groups, that were eligible for independence. Concerning "dependent peoples," it stated that "the integrity of their national territory shall be respected." It then proclaimed that "any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity or territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations." [27] In 1970 the UN General Assembly approved a comparable normative statemen t in the Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States. [28] There is clearly no ambiguity as to whether these major UN declarations supported respect for the territorial integrity of juridical states and existing colonies. To quote Michael Barnett and Martha Finnemore, "The UN encouraged the acceptance of the norm of sovereignty-as-territorial-integrity through resolutions, monitoring devices, commissions, and one famous peacekeeping episode in the Congo in the 1960s." [29]

Apart from reviewing UN normative statements, it is important to look at developments relating to respect for international boundaries in several regional organizations. The charters of the Arab League and Organization of American States, which were approved in 1945 and 1948, respectively, contained provisions supportive of the territorial integrity of member states, but the issue was not highlighted by the founding member states. [30] Several decades afterwards, however, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) adopted strong and well-publicized stands in favor of the sanctity of existing state boundaries. The 1963 OAU Charter contains a strong article in support of territorial integrity (Article 3), but a much more specific statement was adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 1964 after both Morocco and Somalia had launched wars of territorial revisionism against neighboring states. All member states except Morocco and Soma lia approved a resolution calling on members "to respect the borders existing on the achievement of national independence." [31]

In 1975 the CSCE reiterated the same principle in the Helsinki Final Act: "Frontiers can [only] be changed, in accordance with international law, by peaceful means and by agreement." Separate bilateral treaties between West Germany and its major Communist neighbors (East Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union) that preceded and anticipated the Helsinki agreements committed the parties to "respect without restriction the territorial integrity" of each state and "reaffirm[ed] the inviolability of existing boundaries." [32] At the end of the Cold War the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe reiterated exactly the same principle, as have all subsequent conferences concerning international boundaries, including the 1995 Dayton peace treaty that settled the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. [33]

One other development should be noted with regard to attitudes and practices within Europe and the Western community more generally. In the 1990s both the European Union (EU) and NATO proclaimed that all new members must have accords with contiguous states as to their borders. This has necessitated that the East European countries aspiring to membership sign boundary treaties with their neighboring states--sometimes at the cost of sacrificing long-held dreams of absorbing parts of these neighboring countries. [34] In 1999 EU lenders agreed that all candidates should submit outstanding territorial disputes to the International Court of Justice "in a reasonable period of time" and that the leaders would review outstanding disputes by 2004 at the latest. [35] Overall, these policies have added to the stability and legitimacy of the European territorial order.

The fifteen successor states of the Soviet Union have also followed the Western countries in supporting their existing boundaries. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has supported the principle of territorial integrity in their main constitutional documents. In part their support for the territorial integrity norm is attributable to pressure from the Western countries, especially through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), but the great majority of these countries have recognized that respect for inherited boundaries (the principle of uti possidetis) is in their mutual interest. [36]

Territorial Aggressions Since 1946: International

Responses and Outcomes

Prior to discussing the patterns of territorial wars in the post-1945 period I review some data on territorial wars since the seventeenth century because they highlight the marked changes in international practices in the late twentieth century. Table 1 contains data on international territorial wars for five historical eras in international relations over the past three and a half centuries and seven half-century periods. The five historical eras are frequently used in historical analyses of the interstate system. They are also employed by Kalevi Holsti from whose book this article has drawn the list of wars for the period 1648-1945. The wars listed by Holsti are major military conflicts in "the European and global states system." [37] He includes some civil wars, but they are excluded from the conflicts examined here. Of the 119 interstate wars between 1648 and 1945, 93 were judged to be territorial wars in that Holsti classified them as being concerned with six issues that clearly involve state control ove r territory. [38] The list is not exhaustive of all territorial aggressions or wars, but it is extensive enough to reveal important patterns.

The list of forty territorial aggressions for the period 1946-2000 is drawn from extensive research in secondary materials. The definition of territorial aggressions or wars for this period encompasses a larger group of conflicts because the management and outcomes of small as well as large military encounters reveal a great deal about the development of the territorial integrity norm. Territorial aggressions or wars include interstate armed conflicts where a clear purpose of the military attack was the change of boundaries of a state or its colonies; the invading state sought to capture some territory from the attached state--not merely to punish it (China's 1979 invasion of Vietnam, for example); attacking states were widely recognized as sovereign states; and the invasion or occupation lasted at least a week. Using this definition clearly reduces the value of comparisons with the pre-1946 territorial wars, but the value of using a larger group of territorial aggressions for the recent period greatly assis ts our understanding of recent changes. [39]

Several key patterns emerge from the data in Table 1. First, and most importantly, while approximately 80 percent of territorial wars led to re-distributions of territory for all periods prior to 1945, this figure dropped to 30 percent after 1945. Second, the number of territorial redistributions per year (given our list of wars) has varied by time period. It was about 0.24 from 1648 to 1814; it dropped to 0.19 between 1815 and 1917; it rose dramatically to 0.59 between 1918 and 1945; and then it dropped back to 0.22 in the post-1945 period.

In looking at the average territorial redistributions per year, it is valuable to take into consideration that a larger population of territorial conflicts is included in the 1946 -2000 period than in other periods and, more importantly, that the number of states has increased dramatically over recent centuries--especially since 1945. A recent study provides data on the number of states (with certain characteristics) between 1816 and 1998, and it allows us to control for the number of states in the international system by calculating the number of territorial redistributions per country-year for particular periods of time. The figure for 1816-50 is 0.0032; for 1851-1900, 0.0035; for 1901-50, 0.0073; and 1951-98, 0.0015.[40] These figures indicate, of course, that the number of territorial redistributions per country-year was more than twice as high in the nineteenth century than it was in the last half of the twentieth century. Also, it was almost five times higher in the first half of the twentieth century than in the second half. These figures have to be interpreted in light of the fact that the criteria for the inclusion of wars differs for the pre- and post-1945 years, and there is no claim of statistical significance.

The preceding figures do point to important changes in some patterns of territorial armed conflict. However, it is also crucial to look at post-1945 territorial wars (summarized in Table 2) in some detail since the development and management of these conflicts reveal a great deal about the strengthening of the norm. This section starts with territorial wars in Europe and then moves to the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Europe. It is fitting to consider territorial aggressions in Europe first, not only because the modem territorial order first developed there, but also because that continent has witnessed some of the most destructive territorial conflicts in modem history. In the late 1940s Europeans were certainly not confident that the era of violent territorial revisionism was at an end. However, only four interstate territorial wars have occurred in Europe since 1945; only one of them (Turkey-Cyprus) led to a territorial change, and it could be reversed.

Regarding the three wars among the states that emerged from the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991 and 1992, the European states and the United States supported the territorial boundaries that Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia possessed when they declared their independence in 1991 and 1992, and all the warring parties accepted them at the 1995 Dayton peace conference. Finally, in 1996 Yugoslavia, under considerable U.S. and European pressure, signed bilateral accords with Croatia and Bosnia accepting those boundaries. The basic position of most of the Western powers was enunciated in a statement by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker in a meeting with President Milosevic in 1991: "The United States and the rest of the international community will reject any Serbian claims to territory beyond its borders."[41] Subsequently, the chief U.S. negotiator at Dayton, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, substantiated Baker's judgment: "There was a moral issue: the United States and its European allies could not be party to ... legitimizing the Serb aggression."[42]

The one territorial aggression in Europe that has succeeded is Turkey's invasion of Cyprus in 1974 following a coup d'etat in Cyprus that brought to power a government committed to amalgamating Cyprus with Greece. After its invasion, Turkey brought together the Turkish Cypriots in the northern part of Cyprus, expelled the Greek Cypriots from the area, and maintained a military presence in this northern region. In 1983 the Turkish Cypriots, with Turkey's backing, created an independent Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus that de facto constituted a change of state boundaries by the use of force. Both the Western countries and the UN have steadfastly refused to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. in fact, only Turkey has recognized the secessionist state. The eventual outcome of the international opposition to the creation of the secessionist state could be a reunification of the Turkish and Greek parts of the island and hence a nullification of a coercive territorial change. [43]

The Americas. In Latin America the principle of uti possidetis, or the obligation of states to respect the boundaries inherited from the previous governing power, originated in the 1820s following the Latin American states' achievement of independence from Spain and Portugal. While the principle was not respected by all countries in the region throughout the nineteenth century, it had some impact in promoting greater order in the region. [44] After World War II the members of the Organization of American States (OAS) declared their opposition to coercive territorial revisionism, [45] and very few military challenges to territorial boundaries have been made by states in the Western Hemisphere. Also, all attempts to alter boundaries by force have failed.

In 1957 Nicaragua sought to absorb a region of Honduras; the OAS pressured Nicaragua to withdraw and persuaded the two states to submit their dispute to the International Court of Justice, which rejected the Nicaraguan claim. [46] In 1995 a small war broke out between Ecuador and Peru over Ecuador's claim to a border region that was awarded to Peru in the 1942 Protocol of Rio de Janeiro. The four guarantor powers of the 1942 protocol (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and the United States) secured a restoration of the status quo ante. [47] Finally, there was the Malvinas/Falklands war between Argentina and Britain in 1982 that eventuated in Britain's reoccupation of the islands. [48] Most UN member states called for Argentina to withdraw; most Latin American states, however, supported Argentina because they regarded the Malvinas as a British colony that should be ceded to Argentina. [49] Overall the Latin American countries have been strong opponents of coercive territorial aggrandizement, and the United States, of course, has exerted a strong influence in favor of the territorial integrity norm in the region.

Africa. Most African states are composed of a variety of ethnic groups, and often these groups straddle boundaries with neighboring states. Consequently, there are sociological pressures for territorial revisionism in many parts of the continent. This condition as well as the military weakness of the African states are key reasons why they have supported the principle of uti possidetis.

We now turn to unsuccessful wars of territorial aggrandizement. One war occurred before the founding of the OAU in 1963: Egypt's occupation of a small area in the Sudan in 1958. The Arab League was responsible for pressuring Egypt to withdraw. [50] The first challenge to the territorial integrity norm in Africa after the creation of the OAU was Morocco's occupation of a part of Algeria in October 1963. Within several months Morocco was pressured to withdraw by the OAU and the Arab League. [51] A similar development occurred in 1964 when Somalia sent troops into areas of Ethiopia and Kenya inhabited by ethnic Somalis. Somalia was subsequently pressured by the OAU to withdraw. On each occasion the OAU insisted that the conflict be settled in keeping with the OAU principle of state territorial integrity, and the super powers backed conflict resolution by the OAU. [52] In 1965 the OAU also successfully pressured Ghana to withdraw from a small area of neighboring Upper Volta. [53] Within its first three years (19 63-65), the OAU was remarkably successful in upholding the territorial integrity norm, or what James Mayall has called the OAU's "unnegotiable acceptance of the status quo." [54]

Since 1973 the norm has been tested by eight territorial aggressions, and most OAU members have consistently upheld it; in one case, however, the aggression has not been reversed. [55] One of these wars involved large-scale fighting over four years and was politically very important. From 1976 to 1980 Somalia unsuccessfully tried to absorb the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, and the OAU, the former Soviet Union, and the Western powers all opposed the Somali military action. The African and Western opposition to the Somali action is quite significant since the Ethiopian government was Marxist and relied on Cuban troops. [56]

The one successful violation of the territorial integrity norm in Africa is Morocco's absorption of the former Spanish Sahara (Western Sahara) in 1975. It is included as a case of territorial aggression because Morocco pressured Spain into ceding the area prior to its scheduled independence in 1976 by sending in military contingents and mobilizing its troops and its civilian population at the border. Morocco's absorption of the area was supported by France and the United States because they preferred that pro-Western Morocco, and not the radical Polisario independence movement, control the region. The majority of OAU and UN members have periodically called for a referendum for the inhabitants of the former Spanish Sahara. During the 1990s a UN mission sought regularly, though unsuccessfully, to organize a referendum in the Western Sahara. [57]

In nine of the eleven African territorial wars since 1963, the OAU has been a major influence in securing troop withdrawals, and it could succeed eventually in the Morocco-Western Sahara conflict. When the OAU was founded in 1963, few thought that the society of African states would be such an important force in securing the stability of African boundaries. The OAU members have exerted significant diplomatic pressure on aggressing states, and they have influenced outside powers to back OAU positions against territorial aggressions.

The Middle East. Table 2 lists four territorial wars in the Middle East, excluding Arab North Africa. Two wars between North African Arab states are listed under "Africa." In these two North African conflicts the Arab League opposed Egypt's occupation of a small region of Sudan in 1958 and Morocco's occupation of an area of Algeria in 1963. Among the four territorial wars in the Arabian Peninsula only one was between Arab states-namely, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990-91. In that war only three of the more than two dozen members of the Arab League failed to oppose Iraq's military absorption of Kuwait within the context of the UN deliberations. [58]

Within the Arabian Peninsula, three major territorial wars have concerned Israel and its Arab neighbors. The 1948 and 1967 wars led to significant redistributions of territory in favor of Israel, and the 1973 war saw the return of a small piece of territory from Israel to Egypt. In May 1948 the armies of the neighboring Arab states, which rejected the UN partition plan to create separate Jewish and Arab states in Palestine, attacked Israel. These Arab armies subsequently lost ground during each phase of fighting during 1948, and at the end of the hostilities the Arab armies controlled only the West Bank and the Gaza Strip where most of the Arab Palestinians had gathered. No international attempts were made to reverse the Israeli expansion since both super powers favored Israel, the Arab states had initiated the fighting, and the prohibition against coercive territorial revisionism was certainly not as strong as it later became. [59]

In the Six Day War in June 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai Desert, and the Golan Heights following bellicose statements and actions by the Arab states. A very important development in the wake of this war was the Security Council's passage of Resolution 242 in November 1967. It stated, in essence, that Israel should return the Arab lands that it occupied in exchange for diplomatic recognition from the Arab states. In 1980 the UN Security Council opposed Israel's making East Jerusalem part of the capital of Israel and extending Israeli law to the Golan Heights. [60] The Western powers have, for the most part, strongly supported the return of the occupied territories. In 1978, the United States mediated the Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt that restored the Sinai Desert to Egypt, and in 1993 the Western powers were active in promoting the Oslo accord, which anticipates eventual Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. In December 1999, Israeli-Syrian negotiations concerning the return of the Golan Heights finally commenced. The territorial integrity norm continues to have an important impact on the conflict, since withdrawal from the occupied areas (or most of the areas) is a standard that the Western powers feel obligated to support and that the conflicting states will probably accept as a tolerable outcome. [61] The 1948 armistice lines have taken on a legitimate status for many states, and it is likely that future Arab-Israeli accords will make only modest alterations in these borders.

Asia. Asia has witnessed twice as many territorial redistributions as all other regions combined, although Asia is the one region without the outbreak of a new territorial war since 1976. Most wars originated with states' dissatisfaction with boundaries that were inherited from the colonial era, and increasingly these territorial disputes have been resolved. Of the seventeen territorial wars in Asia, six wars did not lead to any exchange of territory; three led to minor border alterations; and eight eventuated in major territorial changes.

In six Asian wars that led to a restoration of the status quo ante, the attacked states were often supported by a great power ally, and most had local military superiority to defeat the invasion. [62] In two of these wars the UN passed resolutions calling for withdrawals, which were eventually accepted. In the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-88, outside powers were generally noncommittal on the merits of the conflict for most of the war. In the final stage of the war in 1987 the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on the parties to accept the prewar boundary, and they eventually did. [63] In the case of Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975, the UN General Assembly regularly called for Indonesia's withdrawal and the holding of a referendum between 1975 and 1982, but Indonesia did not relent because it had the de facto backing of the United States and some other Western powers who feared that an East Timor government controlled by the pro-independence party, Fretilin, would establish close ties with co mmunist China after independence. With the end of the Cold War, foreign public opinion and some governments began to push for a referendum concerning East Timorese independence. This pressure eventually led to a decision by Indonesia to allow a referendum on independence in 1999 after having controlled East Timor for twenty-four years. This important development strengthened the territorial integrity norm. [64]

Among the three Asian wars where minor territorial changes occurred, in only one (the Korean War, 1950-53) did the UN take a stand against the aggressor. Significantly, the armistice line is very close to the pre-1950 boundary. In the other two (China-Burma, 1956; and Pakistan-India, April 1965) diplomacy soon brought about accords to implement minor border adjustments.

When one looks at the eight cases of successful territorial revisionism in Asia, it becomes clear that there has not been as much territorial turbulence as the number of cases implies. [65] China absorbed remote and sparsely populated areas of two neighboring states--namely, India's Aksai China and Northwest Frontier Agency in 1962 [66] and South Vietnam's Paracell Islands in 1974. [67] In the 1990s China has actually been very active in signing legal accords to stabilize its boundaries--specifically, agreements with Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. [68] India absorbed the small Portuguese colonial enclave of Goa in 1961 [69] and assisted a popular secessionist movement in East Pakistan to create the state of Bangladesh. [70] Pakistan in 1948 established control over a third of the area of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir whose accession to India was certainly challenged by many observers. [71] Indonesia in 1962 absorbed the sparsely populated Dutch colony of West Irian that it had long claim ed. [72] In 1971 Iran occupied some small but strategic islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates soon after the latter's independence. [73] Finally, North Vietnam united the two parts of Vietnam by force, but unification would probably have resulted from an election in the mid-1950s if South Vietnam had permitted it. [74] In evaluating the history of territorial aggrandizement in Asia it is noteworthy that there have been no new territorial wars in Asia since 1976.

It is clear that there have been very few cases of coercive boundary change in the last half century during which UN membership has grown from 50 to 190. No longer is territorial aggrandizement the dominant motif of interstate politics; whereas in the three centuries leading up to 1946, about 80 percent of all interstate territorial wars led to territorial redistributions, for the period 1946-2000, the figure is 30 percent (twelve out of forty) (Table la). Given the huge increase in the number of states in the international system in the past half century and our definition of territorial wars for the period, the absolute numbers of forty territorial wars and twelve cases of major boundary change are not very large by historical standards. Two of the successful uses of force involved turbulent decolonization processes in 1947 and 1948 in the Indian subcontinent and former British Palestine, and the other ten occurred between 1961 and 1975. Of these ten wars, the UN passed resolutions calling for withdrawal i n four of them (Israel-Arab states in 1967, India-Pakistan in 1971, Turkey-Cyprus in 1974, and Morocco-Spanish Sahara in 1975). Another three of the ten (India-Portugal in 1961, Indonesia-Netherlands in 1961-62, and North Vietnam-South Vietnam from 1962 to 1975) were viewed by many countries as stages of the decolonization process. The remaining two involved China's occupation of remote areas--parts of northern India in 1962 and South Vietnam's Paracel Islands in 1974.

An interesting characteristic of territorial wars concerns the role of international organizations in bringing them to an end, since multilateral responses often reflect broad international backing for the norm. In the four territorial wars in Europe (except for the quick war between Yugoslavia and Slovenia in 1991) the NATO states and the UN were active in promoting respect for boundaries. In the Western Hemisphere the OAS or an important group of OAS members was active in promoting a withdrawal of forces in two conflicts, and the UN backed withdrawal in the other. In Africa the OAU was very active in ten of the twelve territorial wars (one being prior to the OAU's creation), and the UN played a role in several conflicts as well. In the Middle East the UN played a significant role in promoting a return to the status quo ante in three territorial wars (not the Arab-Israeli war of 1948). In Asia international organizations have not been active in most of the seventeen territorial wars. However, the UN had a m ajor long-term role in promoting Indonesia's recent withdrawal from East Timor.

The Boundaries of Successor States

In discussing the post-1945 stabilization of boundaries another pattern of international behavior should be noted, since it is closely related to support for the prohibition of the use of force to alter boundaries. During the postwar period, all of the successor states that emerged from the nine breakups of existing states have kept their former internal administrative boundaries as their new international boundaries. [75] In fact, in cases where some doubt existed as to whether the successor states would accept these boundaries, outside countries pressured the successor states to adopt their former administrative boundaries as their new interstate borders. This indicates that states generally desire predictability regarding the international territorial order. They do not like secessions, but if they are going to occur, they do not want the successor states fighting over what their boundaries should be.

Some of the best examples of international policy on this issue concern the breakups of the former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union. The United States and the European powers went to tremendous lengths to preserve the former internal administrative boundaries of Croatia and Bosnia as their new international boundaries. These boundaries were legitimated in the Western countries' recognition of these states in 1992, the 1995 Dayton accord, and the 1996 accords between Yugoslavia (Serbia), on the one hand, and Croatia and Bosnia, on the other. [76] The Western countries have also been active in promoting respect among the Soviet successor states for the boundaries they originally possessed as Soviet republics. Concerning why the former internal boundaries have been maintained as interstate borders, Neil MacFarlane has remarked:

Most significant ... are the norms of sovereignty and non-intervention and the principle of territorial integrity. The 15 republics of the former Soviet space exist in the territorial boundaries defined under Soviet rule, whether or not they make sense in ethno-geographical terms, or correspond to the aspirations of the people living within them. They do so in part because Western states and international organizations ... have self-consciously promoted these norms. ... For better or worse, the West is committed to the attempt to address problems relating to minority rights within the context of acceptance of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the new states. [77]

Western efforts at promoting the territorial integrity of the successor states (often through the OSCE) have focused on keeping Nagorno-Karabakh (an Armenian enclave) within Azerbaijan and keeping Abkahzia and Ossetia within Georgia, but Western policy has had a broader impact as well in strengthening the international territorial order among the Soviet successor states. [78]

It is impossible to declare that the acceptance of internal administrative boundaries as interstate boundaries for secessionist states is now an authoritative rule of international practice. Quite possibly, however, this norm will become entrenched as a part of the new territorial order that flows from states' concern for reducing the incidence of destructive wars and wars' impact on commercial relations. States and international commercial interests increasingly abhor violence and uncertainty over what political entities have jurisdiction over particular geographical spaces.

Overview of Stages in the Development of the Norm

In concluding the discussion of the evolution of normative declarations and state practices concerning coercive territorial revisionism, it is valuable to look at past developments as falling into a number of stages. Two scholars have identified three stages of norm development as emergence, acceptance, and institutionalization. [79] The emergence stage is marked by a growing advocacy of the new norm by important countries and nongovernmental groups and some multilateral declarations. The acceptance stage is characterized by growing support for the norm and its integration into treaties to that point where it is viewed as legally binding by most countries. The institutionalization stage includes the integration of the norm in additional international accords and more effective multilateral efforts to promote state compliance.

Before moving to an analysis of the three stages of norm development during the twentieth century, I offer some observations about the nineteenth century. The magnitude of international violence declined from 1815 to 1913 as a result of regular consultations within the framework of the Concert of Europe, but the great powers were involved periodically in territorial aggrandizement within the Western state system as well as in colonial expansion in the Southern Hemisphere. In fact, territorial adjustments in Europe and in the colonial world were central to maintaining a balance of power.

The emergence stage of norm development started with the end of World War I and more particularly Article 10 of the League Covenant, and it lasted through the end of World War II. The major proponents of the norm were the Western democratic states. During this period major multilateral treaties and declarations for the first time upheld the territorial integrity norm--particularly the 1919 League Covenant, the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, and the League's approval of the Stimson Doctrine in 1931. At the same time the great powers tolerated a number of territorial aggressions, and Germany, Italy, and Japan became increasingly committed to territorial expansion in the 1930s. The emergence stage was very bloody, but it was states' experience with this era of destructive territorial aggrandizement that increased support for the norm after World War II.

The acceptance stage of norm development began with the adoption of Article 2(4) in the UN Charter in June 1945, and it lasted until the mid-1970s. It was not until the 1960s and early 1970s that broad and strong backing for the norm became palpable. The key post-1945 multilateral accords were the 1960 UN declaration that upheld the territorial integrity of states and pronounced that existing colonies (not ethnic groups) were eligible for self-determination; the OAU's 1963 charter provision and 1964 resolution supporting respect for inherited boundaries; and the 1975 CSCE's Helsinki Final Act with its proscription that boundaries could only be altered by consent. In 1975 the last case of significant territorial revisionism occurred--Morocco's absorption of the Spanish Sahara.

The institutionalization (strengthening) stage of norm development encompassed the period from 1976 to the present; no major cases of successful territorial aggrandizement have occurred during this period. The key events that strengthened the norm were states' responses to individual conflicts. Particularly noteworthy cases were Somalia's war against Ethiopia, 1976-80; Iraq's occupation of Kuwait, 1990-91; and Yugoslavia's attempts to absorb parts of Croatia and Bosnia, 1992-95. Also important was the decision by Indonesia in 1999 to allow a referendum in East Timor. Another noteworthy development during this period was the International Court of Justice's adjudication of several territorial conflicts; the court based its decisions on the principle of uti possidetis, which means that states have rights to those territories that were legally ceded to them by prior governing states and, of course, that other states do not have the right to take these territories by force. [80]

Roots of the New Territorial Order

International practices regarding the use of force to alter boundaries have changed markedly in recent years, and in this section I analyze the reason for this transformation in the international order. At the heart of this analysis are several general assertions. First, states have backed the norm for both instrumental and ideational reasons, though the former have dominated. Instrumental reasons are rooted in perceptions of how a norm and congruent practices benefit the self-interests of countries. Ideational reasons are rooted in changing views of ethical behavior toward other peoples and states. A number of scholars have recognized that both instrumental and ideational factors influence the evolution of norms and that applying an "either/or" approach concerning their influence is wrong. [81]

Second, the reasons for such a change in beliefs and practices have varied among countries, and no single factor explains the support for the norm among a particular grouping of states. [82] These factors include the perceived relationship between territorial aggrandizement and major international wars, the power relations between possible territorial aggressors and the major powers supporting the norm, the costs and benefits of territorial aggrandizement, and moral predispositions concerning territorial aggression. Although we can speculate about the relative importance of specific factors, providing definitive conclusions about the weight of each is difficult when the factors have generally pressured states in the same direction. It appears that the coincidence of several factors has been crucial for both the Western and the developing states' backing of the norm.

Among the Western industrialized states, the association of territorial revisionism with major wars was the central driving force that led these states after World Wars I and II to advocate a prohibition of coercive territorial revisionism. The key international affirmations of the norm were after the world wars in 1919 and 1945 and at the 1975 Helsinki conference whose central purpose was the prevention of a major war between the Western and Soviet alliances. Territorial aggrandizement was not the central motivation of the key antagonists in World War I, but it played a part in states' participation and the postwar settlements. Also, attempts to promote national self-determination and hence border changes exacerbated feelings of international hostility after World War I, and this made many states wary of this justification for territorial revisionism. To quote Michael Howard, "The Mazzinian doctrine, that peace could result only from national self-determination, had left its followers in disarray. It had ca used chaos at the Paris peace conference, and it was increasingly clear that this mode of thought lent itself far more readily to right-wing authoritarianism ... than it did to any form of parliamentary democracy." [83]

The fear of territorial aggrandizement as a cause of major war was exacerbated by World War II because the origins of the war lay significantly in German and Japanese territorial ambitions. The Western states came to fear the right of national self-determination, and particularly the right to unite national compatriots in different states, since it encouraged territorial irredentism and xenophobic nationalism. [84] Then, after World War II the introduction of nuclear weapons increased their fear of major war and enhanced support for the norm. Western nations' concern was instrumental at its heart, since states were concerned first and foremost with preventing the destruction of their own societies, though governments did share a certain moral concern for other societies as well. [85]

Because Western countries' support for democratic political institutions grew during the development of the norm, [86] it is important to ask whether their liberal democratic ethos influenced their acceptance of the territorial integrity norm. This question involves considering the reasons why democratic states might eschew wars of territorial aggrandizement, the views of democratic leaders, and democratic and nondemocratic states' patterns of territorial aggrandizement. The key factor that has probably influenced democratic states' opposition to territorial aggrandizement is touched on in John Owen's study concerning the democratic peace in which be notes that "liberalism as a system of thought" is particularly attached to "self-legislation or self-government" and "self-determination." [87] It is these values that have shaped the policies of democratic leaders toward coercive territorial revisionism.

In the late stages of World War I President Wilson commented that "no right exists anywhere to hand peoples about from sovereignty to sovereignty without their consent," [88] and Prime Minister David Lloyd remarked that any territorial changes had to be based on "the consent of the governed." [89] If the citizens of liberal states adhered to this principle of not imposing a new government on people by force, they would definitely be opposed to using force to change interstate boundaries-unless possibly a liberal state sought to assist the secession of a national minority in a foreign country. However, the dangers of supporting national secessionist groups have been clearly recognized by liberal democratic states. While self-determination for ethnic groups is at times viewed sympathetically by liberals, it is "trumped" by their recognition that the logical outcome of allowing self-determination for every national group would be continual warfare. Self-determination has had to be compromised in the pursuit of physical security, which is itself necessary for individuals' realization of liberty. Hence, democratic states' fear of major war and their respect for self-determination by juridical states are inextricably interrelated in their support for the territorial integrity norm. [90] This perspective was recognized by most of the statesmen involved in the peace settlements at the end of the two world wars, including President Wilson. [91] Inis Claude has remarked that President Wilson "created his League to make the world safe by democracy," [92] and absolutely central to his conception of democracy was a commitment to prevent the imposition of rule by one juridical state on another juridical state or a part of that state.

The proclivity of democratic states to eschew territorial aggrandizement is reflected in their evolving practices regarding territorial annexations at the end of the world wars and in their colonial policies. At the end of World War I, the Triple Entente states and their democratic allies gained little territory. Britain and the Untied States, whose President Wilson led the fight for "no annexations," did not establish sovereignty over any new territories, and France only reestablished sovereignty over Alsace-Lorraine. Among the smaller allies, Belgium obtained a small border area from Germany; Denmark secured two-thirds of Scheswig-Holstein from Germany as a result of a referendum; and Italy and Greece obtained small, but strategic, territories from Austria and Bulgaria. The Italian and Greek gains might be explained by the relatively new and unstable character of their democratic regimes, which collapsed in the interwar period. [93] France, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand (as well as Japan and South Af rica) secured League mandates that previously belonged to the defeated powers, and while there was no obligation to bring them to independence, there was an implicit responsibility to move in this direction for the A mandates and to a lesser extent the B mandates as well. [94] Some signs of a new normative orientation on territorial issues were present in the policies of the victorious democratic states at the end of World War I, but the old order that sanctioned annexations and colonialism still had a significant influence. As happened with the expansion of the voting franchise in the Western states, progress in promoting liberal democratic values about territorial revisionism occurred in stages.

In the case of the settlements at the end of World War II, no Western power achieved territorial control over new areas (except UN trusteeships that they were to prepare for independence), [95] whereas the authoritarian Soviet Union obtained sovereign control over significant areas in eastern Europe as well as some of Japan's northern islands. The democratic Western European states still clung to the legitimacy of colonial empires through the immediate post-World War II years, but by the 1950s they had all committed themselves to decolonization. However, the authoritarian regimes in Portugal and Spain resisted granting independence to their colonies until their democratic transformations in 1974. Granting the right of self-determination to colonies flowed from the very same ideational source as did opposition to violent territorial revisionism-namely, a liberal democratic belief that it is wrong to impose rule on the people of another juridical state or a part thereof. Decolonization resulted significantly b ecause the Western colonial powers "lost confidence in their normative right to rule." [96] Of course, in the Cold War era the Western states fashioned themselves into an alliance that self-consciously identified itself as an upholder of democratic values, [97] and hence it would have been very difficult to absorb foreign territories against the wishes of their citizens and governments.

The reluctance of democratic states to engage in territorial aggrandizement is also seen in their infrequent territorial aggressions since World War I. Between 1919 and 1945 there were twenty territorial wars; the only democratic state to achieve territorial gains was Poland in 1922, and its democratic government did not have deep social roots, as the 1926 coup d'etat indicated. [98] Since 1945 the only territorial wars that have been initiated by democratic states have been India's absorption of the Portuguese colony of Goa in 1961, Israel's invasion of three Arab neighbors in 1967 following Arab sabre rattling, and Ecuador's invasion of Peru in 1995. [99] The other thirty-seven territorial aggressions have been by nondemocratic states.

In dwelling on whether the association of territorial revisionism and major war or a liberal respect for other states is the crucial factor that shaped Western states' support for the territorial integrity norm, it is interesting to ask what might have happened if the other factor had not been present. First, if democracy had not grown steadily in the Western world during the twentieth century, would the Western states have opted for the sanctity of states' borders because of the linking of territorial revisionism and major war? They might have adopted this strategy after the carnage of the two world wars, but it is problematic whether the policy would have endured without a moral belief that other juridical states deserved their respect. After all, the Western states did not support the territorial integrity norm following major wars prior to the twentieth century (for example, the Thirty Years' War and the Napoleonic Wars). Second, if territorial revisionism had not been a very important cause of major war s, would the democratic states have come down strongly for a prohibition against coercive territorial revisionism? Again, it is doubtful (probably more doubtful) because without a fear that territorial revisionism could lead to regional or world wars, they probably would have opted for the right of self-determination for all ethnic or national groups. Liberal states were clearly influenced to support the right of self-determination for juridical states, and hence the territorial integrity norm, because warfare was so horrific in the twentieth century. Indicative of this perspective is a provision in President Wilson's first draft of the League Covenant: "The parties accept without reservation the principle that the peace of the world is superior in importance to every question of political jurisdiction or boundary." [100] A fear of a major war and a liberal democratic respect for other juridical states clearly have a symbiotic relationship that has motivated these countries to support the territorial integrit y norm, and it is highly problematic whether the norm would have achieved the strength it has if both factors had not been present.

In considering the support for the territorial integrity norm by non-Western or developing states, we must first recognize that most of them have not experienced very destructive territorial wars in recent centuries and have not had liberal democratic governments in the postwar era. Their backing of the norm generally stems from the existence of ethnic groups that overlap borders and can provoke territorial irredentism, the military weakness of many developing states vis-a-vis their neighbors, and their weakness vis-a-vis Western supporters of the norm. However, changing economic costs and benefits of territorial aggrandizement have undoubtedly had an influence in recent decades.

Among developing states, many (especially in Africa) have feared territorial aggressions because of the likelihood of irredentist claims resulting from ethnic groups' overlapping borders and their own military weakness. [101] These developing states made sure that the 1960 UN Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Territories and Countries established that the peoples of existing colonial territories, not ethnic groups, are eligible for self-determination and that the territorial integrity of all states should be respected. [102] Through regional organizations and the UN, the African, Middle Eastern, and Latin American states have also been very active in opposing territorial aggrandizement and secessionist movements (for example, Biafra) and in securing great power backing through concerted diplomatic advocacy.

Another concern that has been (and still is) very important in promoting support of the territorial integrity norm among developing states is their recognition that they will probably meet strong Western opposition if they embark on territorial aggression. In the Cold War the Western states provided assistance to their many allies in the developing world if they were subject to territorial revisionist threats or attacks. Good examples are South Korea in 1950, Kuwait in 1961 (a threat of invasion from Iraq), and Malaysia in 1963. In addition, the Western states generally opposed their allies when they pursued territorial expansionism. [103] In some areas the Western powers sought to promote military balances between states where territorial revisionist wars could occur. [104] In a few cases, such as South Korea in 1950 and Kuwait in 1990, the Western powers actually sent significant military forces to repel invasions. And in Eastern Europe the NATO countries bombed Serb forces as part of their attempt to prom ote respect for the boundaries of Bosnia and Croatia. If it had not been for the Western democratic powers' (and especially the United States') willingness to employ their military and economic leverage in many territorial wars over the entire post-1945 era, the norm against coercive territorial revisionism would not have been sustained. However, the Western powers could not have enforced the norm in the developing world without the backing of the great majority of non-Western states. A crucial factor in the strength of the territorial integrity norm in the developing world is the coincidence of most developing states' opposition to coercive territorial revisionism and the willingness of the Western states to use their power to reverse territorial aggressions.

In addition to the aforementioned international conditions and beliefs sustaining the prohibition against coercive territorial change, scholars have observed that a number of economic trends reduce the benefits and increase the costs of coercive territorial revisionism. These trends have undoubtedly had an important impact on strengthening support for the norm in recent decades, but it is doubtful whether they could be regarded as important factors in securing its diplomatic acceptance between World War I and the 1960s. These economic trends influence why states are less motivated to pursue territorial aggrandizement themselves, not why they would oppose such actions by other states.

First, the declining value of land as a factor of production in modern economies means that the conquest of foreign territory no longer brings the same benefits that it did in the pre-industrial era. Robert Gilpin has observed that a state can now gain more "through specialization and international trade" than it can "through territorial expansion and conquests." [105] This is clearly true, but land has been viewed by some countries in the twentieth century as quite valuable. It was certainly viewed as valuable by Germany and Japan in the 1930s and 1940s--a time when the territorial integrity norm was beginning to attract strong support. Today the accomplishments of countries such as South Korea and Singapore are leading to a recognition that economic development depends first and foremost on human skills and not on control of territory; but this recognition has not been strong enough, and it did not come soon enough in this century, to be seen as a crucial factor in driving broad acceptance of the territori al integrity norm.

Second, some scholars argue that the occupation of foreign territory is more difficult and costly in an era of national consciousness, and therefore states are less prone toward territorial expansionism. [106] This view is true in many circumstances, but as Peter Lieberman's study has pointed out, the occupation of foreign territories can be beneficial as long as the occupying states do not meet large-scale military resistance and are willing to use considerable force to suppress local populations. [107] In World War II foreign occupiers were certainly willing to adopt such policies of suppression. We should also recognize that quite a few cases of potential territorial revisionism today concern a desire to unite ethnic brethren in different countries, and in this case the problem of needing to suppress local populations would not exist.

Finally, some political observers adopt a traditional liberal stance that war generally, and territorial wars in particular, are increasingly being rejected in this century because they disrupt valuable economic interdependencies. [108] This hypothesis is true to a degree. However, such interdependencies were not adequate to deter major wars throughout most of this century. In fact, such interdependencies were quite strong in 1914. [109] Their impacts are certainly stronger at the end of the twentieth century as a result of the recent growth of international economic transactions, but they are unlikely to assure a rejection of coercive territorial revisionism by the majority of countries. For one thing, many states are highly interdependent with a relatively small number of other states (often not including contiguous states), and wars with most countries would not have major impacts on their commercial interactions.

Another way to reflect on the roots of the territorial integrity norm is to look at what has happened to the major incentives for territorial aggrandizement: the search for economic gains, the search for strategic gains, and the protection of national brethren. In the case of a striving for economic gain, the benefits of territorial aggression are much lower now since land alone does not provide the resources it once provided when agricultural production was a central source of wealth. Also, the economic costs of occupying land inhabited by a different ethnic group can be very high.

The use of territorial aggrandizement to achieve strategic gain, or an improvement in a state's relative power, has concerned the occupation of territories well situated for launching military operations, the exploitation of captured land as a source of national wealth, and the unification of ethnic brethren in other countries so as to increase the state's population base. Having strategically located territory is less important now than it once was because of the mobility of planes, missiles, and ships--in our technologically advanced era, land provides less power potential than it once did. Finally, increasing the population base of loyal nationals still gives a state more power, but in this case an expansionist state would have to meet the costs of international opposition.

The final motivation for territorial aggrandizement, protecting fellow nationals, has concerned the protection of ethnic compatriots who are being mistreated in other states and the unification of nationals in a single state. This motivation cannot be squelched, but it is much more difficult now for states to embark on attempts to protect and absorb fellow nationals in foreign states when their civil rights are respected. A central reason why the Western states have been so active in promoting minority rights (particularly through the OSCE) is that they want to remove any justification for foreign intervention and territorial aggrandizement.


The decline of successful wars of territorial aggrandizement during the last half century is palpable. In fact, there has not been a case of successful territorial aggrandizement since 1976. Furthermore, there have been important multilateral accords in support of the norm and frequent interventions by international organizations to force states to withdraw from foreign countries.

Clearly, a central source of the norm has been the industrialized world's fear that territorial revisionism could ignite a major war that would cause great human suffering. Several scholars have observed that this revulsion against the imposition of physical pain has been central to the strengthening of a variety of security and human rights regimes. [110] The experiences of the two world wars, a general understanding of territorial revisionism's encouragement of major wars, and a fear of nuclear weapons drove the development of the territorial integrity norm at key points in its multilateral legitimization. But one cannot dismiss the ideational element of democratic values among Western, and an increasing number of non-Western, countries. The Western democratic states were the driving force behind the norm in 1919, 1945, and 1975. A recent study on the CSCE highlights the impacts of democratic values on respect for interstate borders. According to Gregory Flynn and Henry Farrell, these values orient states to the peaceful settlement of disputes and respect for the territory and institutions of other countries. [111] They also stress that democratic countries place respect for states' territorial integrity before self-determination for ethnic communities because this strategy best realizes their two values of self-governance and freedom from violence-or liberty and order. They note that "the norm of [national] self-determination was not only subordinated to the norm of inviolability of borders; it was also effectively removed as an independent principle of international relations in Europe separable from the norm of democracy." [112] In other words, for most Western liberals, self-determination means self-governance for the peoples of juridical territorial states.

Wars of territorial aggrandizement since 1945 have, for the most part, concerned developing states' dissatisfaction with the boundaries they inherited from the colonial powers; but these quarrels are largely coming to an end. On the whole, what is remarkable is the degree of support for the territorial order by developing countries. At the heart of their support have been their fear of territorial aggrandizement based on conflicting treaties, overlapping ethnic groups, and their military weakness; but the leverage of the Western states has also had a major impact in assuring respect for the norm. If the Western states had not backed the territorial status quo in the developing world, a good number of territorial aggressions would have succeeded, and the commitment of the developing states to the territorial integrity norm would have probably declined markedly.

One should not discount the contribution of economic trends in the strengthening of the territorial integrity norm, especially in recent decades. Of great import is the significance of a stable territorial order to the operation of the increasingly interdependent international economy: "The globalizing economy requires the backing of territorially based state power to enforce its rules." [113] At the same time there is no indication that economic discourses and economic motivations sustained the emergence of the norm--especially in the wake of the two world wars. In fact, while these economic trends have reduced states' perceptions of benefits and increased states' perceptions of costs of territorial aggrandizement, they do not account for why states are so strongly opposed to territorial aggressions by other states.

There is not a simple answer to why the territorial integrity norm has emerged as a central pillar of the international order. Different reasons were key for two major groupings of states, and the coincidence of several factors seems to have been crucial to their backing. These key factors have wrought a major change in the international territorial order. Boundaries have not been frozen, but states have been effectively proscribed from altering them by force. The multistate political and security order is clearly stronger than many political observers think in that the society of states has largely eliminated what scholars have identified as the major source of enduring rivalries and the frequency and intensity of warfare. [114]

It is valuable at this point to address briefly the meaning of the emergence of a strong territorial integrity norm for the international order. On the one hand, the findings presented here support Stephen Krasner's judgment that the archetypal features of the Westphalian system, such as effective internal control and respect for state territoriality, have varied considerably over recent centuries. [115] On the other hand, certain changes have taken place in the twentieth century that demarcate our present era from past eras, and they should not be viewed as mere stages of a cycle. In particular, a change in the normative status of state territoriality constitutes a basic transformation in the global political order. As Vasquez has remarked, "Territorial issues are so fundamental that the behavior associated with their settlement literally constructs a world order." [116] It is likely that the world is "witnessing emerging fragments of international security communities alongside the traditional war system th at continues elsewhere." [117] Contrary to what one might initially think, the underlying premise of the territorial integrity norm is not a commitment to separateness but a commitment to a global political order in which people have excised a major source of international violence. In this sense mutually recognized and respected boundaries are not what separate peoples but what binds them together.

Mark W. Zacher is Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Institute of International Relations at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. He can be reached at

I am grateful to the Institute of International Relations at the University of British Columbia and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for financial assistance. I particularly thank Robert Jackson for many stimulating discussions and insightful comments conceming the stabilization of boundaries. I also thank the following for their comments on earlier drafts: Kai Alderson, David Armstrong, William Bain, Michael Barnett, Barry Buzan, Ron Deibert, Raymond Duvall, Paul Evans, Kal Holsti, Brian Job, Robert Keohane, Barbara Koremenos, David Long, John Ruggie, John Owen, Allen Sens, Sasson Sofer, George Thomas, Monica Toft, John Vasquez, Michael Webb, Robert Wolfe, the co-editors of IO, and three anonymous reviewers, I benefited from discussions of earlier drafts of this article with colleagues at the University of British Columbia, University of Chicago, Hebrew University, McGill University/University of Montreal, Panteios University, University of California Los Angeles, and University of California Berkeley. I am grateful to Craig Murley for his research assistance.


Anderson, Malcolm. 1996. Frontiers: Territory and State Formation in the Modern World. Cambridge: Polity.

(1.) See Ohmae 1990 and 1995; Rosecrance 1986 and 1996; Ruggie 1993; Rosenau 1990; Elkins 1994; and Hirst and Thompson 1996.

(2.) A norm is generally defined as "a standard of appropriate behavior for actors of a given identity" (Finnemore and Sikkink 1999, 251) and an international regulatory norm is strong when it is respected and viewed as legally binding by the great majority of states.

(3.) See Holsti 1991; Goertz and Diehl 1992; Vasquez 1993, 123-52; Huth 1996; Hensel 1999; and Vasquez and Henehan 2001.

(4.) Vasquez 1993, 151.

(5.) Clark 1961, chap. 10.

(6.) Clark 1972, 144.

(7.) Bull 1977. 34-37.

(8.) Holsti 1991.

(9.) Quoted in Korman 1996,7. Juxtapose this with the statement of Professor Lauterpacht in the 1955 edition of Oppenheim's International Law in Korman 1996, 179.

(10.) Clark 1972, 143.

(11.) See Jackson and Rosberg 1982; and Korman 1996, 41-66.

(12.) Korman 1996, 93.

(13.) Ibid., 39 (italics added). Malcolm Anderson has spoken of "the sacralization of homelands" as a result of the growth of nationalism. Anderson 1996, 3.

(14.) See Cobban 1969; and Mayall 1990.

(15.) Korman 1996, 132-36.

(16.) See Article 22 of the League Covenant; Claude 1964, 322-28; and Korman 1996, 141-42.

(17.) Korman 1996. 161, 132-78.

(18.) See Zimmern 1939, 199; Egerton 1978; and Knock 1992.

(19.) Franck 1990, 154-62.

(20.) Korman 1996. 192-99.

(21.) Stimson and Bundy 1948, 227-60.

(22.) Franck 1990, 154-59.

(23.) See Korman 1996, 176; and Claude 1964, 339-40.

(24.) Korman 1996, 161-78. The new German-Polish border subsequently acquired legitimacy. The need to recognize this border was made abundantly clear to Chancellor Helmut Kohl by Germany's Western allies in 1990 when he voiced a desire to relocate the border. Fritsch-Bournazel 1992, 102-11.

(25.) Article 2 (4). On debates over whether the UN prohibition allows any exceptions, see Korman 1996. 199-229.

(26.) Jackson 1993.

(27.) Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, UNGA res. 1514, 1960.

(28.) Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States, UNGA res. 2625, 1970.

(29.) Barnett and Finnemore 1999, 713 (italics in original).

(30.) Zacher 1979, 189, 165.

(31.) Ibid., 129.

(32.) Maresca 1985, 86-87.

(33.) See Ullman 1996; and Holbrooke 1998. The Dayton Agreement can be found at ( See particularly Articles 1 and 10.

(34.) Donald M. Blinken and Alfred H. Moses, Hungary-Romania Pact: Historic but Ignored, The Daily Yamuri (Tokyo), 21 September 1996, 11.

(35.) Financial Times (London), 15 December 1999, 3.

(36.) See MacFarlane 1999, 4; and Webber 1997.

(37.) Holsti 1991, 20.

(38.) See note to Table 1.

(39.) The term "aggression" is more accurate than "war" for some of the conflicts since in a few cases the attacked state did not resist militarily and in some cases the number of deaths was small. However, such territorial occupations are often referred to as "wars" and therefore the terms "war" and "aggression' are used interchangeably.

(40.) Gleditsch and Ward 1999. The authors include states that meet the following criteria:(1) they possessed autonomous administration over some territory; (2) they were regarded as distinct entities by local actors; and (3) they had a population over 250,000. The average number of states per year between 1816 and 1850 was 53.05; between 1851 and 1900, 56.70; between 1901 and 1950, 63.42; and between 1951 and 1998, 134.58. The total number of territorial redistributions for these four periods was 6, 10, 23, and 10, respectively. To determine the number of territorial redistributions per country-year for a particular period it is necessary to multiply the total number of years by the average number of countries per year and to divide this sum into the total number of redistributions for the period.

(41.) See Baker 1995, 481; and Ullman 1996. (42.) Holbrooke 1998, 363.

(43.) See McDonald 1989; and Necatigil 1989.

(44.) Parkinson 1993, 140-46.

(45.) Shaw 1986, 180.

(46.) Zacher 1979, 232.

(47.) See Day 1987, 424-25; and Fighting on Peru-Ecuador Border, Keesing's Contemporary Archives 41 (January 1995), 40356.

(48.) See Kacowicz 1994, 150-51; and Korman 1996, 275-80.

(49.) During the late 1970s and the early 1980s there was also the possibility of a territorial war between Chile and Argentina over islands in the Beagle Channel. In 1984, the dispute was settled by arbitration by the Vatican. Day 1987, 385.

(50.) Zacher 1979, 199-200, 233.

(51.) See Goldstein 1992, 173-74; and Wild 1966.

(52.) See Wild 1966; Touval 1972; and Day 1987, 129-31.

(53.) Zacher 1979, 246-47.

(54.) Mayall 1990, 56.

(55.) Libya-Chad, 1973-87; Mali-Burkina Faso, 1975; Somalia-Ethiopia, 1976-80; Morocco-Spanish Sahara, 1975-present; Uganda-Tanzania, 1979; Libya-Chad, 1981-82; Mali-Burkina Faso, 1985; and Eritrea-Ethiopia, 1998-2000. The only conflict the OAU did not get involved in was Uganda-Tanzania because it ended very quickly. The agreement of June 2000 ending the Eritrea-Ethiopia war is available at [less than][greater than].

(56.) Day 1987, 129-31.

(57.) See Layachi 1994; and Von Hippel 1995, 72-79.

(58.) In 1990 Yemen, Libya, and Jordan parted company with the other Arab states by supporting Iraq. See Friedman and Karsh 1993; and Johnstone 1994. Note that in 1961 Iraq threatened to invade Kuwait, and all of the Arab League countries opposed it. In fact, most sent troops to defend Kuwait. Zacher 1979, 199, 341.

(59.) See Hurewitz 1950; and Day 1987, 204-207. In 1949 King Abdullah of Transjordan (now Jordan) indicated Transjordan's intention to absorb the West Bank, which was occupied by the Transjordanian army, but after strong protestations by other Arab states he agreed that Transjordanian administration would last only until the Palestinians were able to establish a united Palestinian state.

(60.) Korman 1996, 250-60.

(61.) See Kacowicz 1994, 129; Makovsky 1996, 205-10; Newman 1999; and Whetten 1974.

(62.) Afghanistan-Pakistan, 1961; Indonesia-Malaysia, 1963-65; Pakistan-India, April 1965; Indonesia-Portugal (East Timor), 1975-99; Kampuchea-Vietnam, 1977; Iraq-Iran. 1980-88.

(63.) See MacDonald 1990, 214-215, 218; and Dramatic Acceptance by Iraq of Peace Offer, Keesing's Contemporary Archives 36 (August 1990), 37667.

(64.) See Carey and Bentley 1995; Day 1987, 332-33; Korman 1996, 181-92; and (

(65.) Pakistan-India, 1948; India-Portugal, 1961; Indonesia-Netherlands, 1961-62; North Vietnam-South Vietnam, 1962-75; China-India, 1962; Iran-United Arab Emirates, 1971; India-Pakistan, 1971; and China-South Vietnam, 1974. On Asian territorial wars, see Anderson 1996, 93-104.

(66.) See Liu 1994; and Foot 1996.

(67.) Lo 1989.

(68.) Wang 2000.

(69.) Korman 1996, 267-75. Most developing states supported India, and the West did not exert strong pressure to promote its withdrawal.

(70.) Sisson and Rose 1990. Most states voted for Indian withdrawal in the UN since they did not want to set a precedent of approving foreign military assistance to a secessionist group; but there was broad public support for India's assistance to the Bengalis.

(71.) See Brecher 1953; and Korbel 1966. The Hindu princely ruler acceded to India while the majority Muslim population strongly supported union with Pakistan. The UN Security Council called for a referendum, but India rejected it.

(72.) Van der Veur 1964. The developing countries overwhelmingly supported the Indonesian claim.

(73.) Day 1987, 242-44. The failure of the United States and the United Kingdom to exert strong pressure against Iran to secure its withdrawal evidently stemmed from Iran's strong pro-Western stance at that time.

(74.) Turley 1986. South Vietnam rejected the provisions of the 1954 Paris agreements calling for a referendum.

(75.) Syria's secession from the UAR in 1961, Singapore's secession from Malaysia in 1965, Bangladesh's secession from Pakistan in 1971, Gambia's secession from Senegambia in 1989, Namibia's secession from South Africa in 1990, Eritrea's secession from Ethiopia in 1993, the breakup of the former Soviet Union into fifteen states in 1991, Yugoslavia's breakup into five states in 1991-92, and Slovakia's secession from Czechoslovakia in 1992. In the case of Eritrea-Ethiopia, they maintained the former internal administrative boundary from 1993 to 1998. In 1998 Eritrea occupied several small border areas, and in 1999 and 2000 Ethiopia regained the lost territories. In 2000 the OAU backed withdrawal of all forces behind the pre-1998 boundary and the establishment of an arbitral body to settle the dispute.

(76.) See Weller 1992, 587, 602; and Ullman 1996.

(77.) MacFarlane 1999, 4, 16.

(78.) See Baranovsky 1966, 267-78; Webber 1997; MacFarlane and Minnear 1997; and Menon 1998. Armenia's support for the Armenian population in Azerbaijan is not regarded as an interstate territorial war because Armenia (some of whose army fought for Nagorno-Karabakh) has not explicitly backed secession by Nagorno-Karabakh.

(79.) Finnemore and Sikkink 1999, 254-61.

(80.) Prescott 1998, 241-52.

(81.) See Nadelmann 1990; Finnemore 1996; Finnemore and Sikkink 1999; Jackson 1993; and Ruggie 1999.

(82.) The Soviet bloc is not specifically discussed in this section. It was generally supportive of existing boundaries because it wanted to legitimize the Eastern European boundaries that were established in 1945. Like the Western powers it occasionally supported territorial revisionism for Cold War reasons, for example, Afghanistan-Pakistan, 1961; and Indonesia- Malaysia, 1963-65.

(83.) Howard 1978, 95.

(84.) See Cobban 1969; Mayall 1990; and Franck 1990, 155-74. The destructiveness of past territorial wars also encouraged Latin American states to oppose territorial revisionism. Holsti 1996, 150-84.

(85.) In part the movement to abolish territorial revisionism was an aspect of the movement to abolish war in the industrialized world. See Mueller 1989; and Luttwak 1996.

(86.) Michael Doyle has noted that the number of liberal states grew from three in 1800; to eight in 1850; thirteen in 1900; twenty-nine in 1945; and forty-nine in 1980. Doyle 1996, 56. With recent changes in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia the number is now considerably higher.

(87.) Owen 1997, 32. Malcom Anderson has identified another influence on liberal democrats' support for the sanctity of boundaries-namely, that established boundaries are "essential for ordered constitutional politics." Anderson 1996, 8. For a discussion of institutional and cultural factors that have influenced the democratic zone of peace, see Russett et al. 1993.

(88.) Korman 1996, 136.

(89.) Lloyd George 1936, 1524-26.

(90.) Related to this argument, the international protection of minority rights during the twentieth century has been concerned primarily with promoting international peace or order. Preece 1998.

(91.) See Mayall 1990; and Knock 1992.

(92.) Claude 1964, 47.

(93.) Gleditsch and Ward 2000.

(94.) See Howard 1978, 83-84; and Lyons 2000, 302-12. One clearly authoritarian ally of the Triple Entente was Romania, and it gained considerable territory.

(95.) Claude 1964, 285-302.

(96.) See Russett et al. 1993, 35; and Jackson 1993.

(97.) Risse-Kappen 1995.

(98.) See Table la; and Holsti 1991, 213-42. On the war proneness of new and unstable democratic states, see Gleditsch and Ward 2000.

(99.) Huth found that of forty-one territorial disputes occurring between 1950 and 1990, the only one where a state with fifteen years of democratic rule was the challenger was the Indian invasion of Goa. Huth 1996, 136-37. Mitchell and Prins found that of the ninety-seven territorial "militarized disputes" occurring between 1815 and 1992, only two were between well-established democracies; and these two occurred between 1945 and 1992. Mitchell and Prins 1999.

(100.) Miller 1928, 23 (Art. 3).

(101.) See Jackson 1990; and Touval 1972.

(102.) Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, UNGA res. 1514, 1960.

(103.) In a few cases the Western powers backed territorial revisionism for strategic reasons related to the Cold War. They favored the absorption of the Spanish Sahara by Morocco and Mauritania and East Timor by Indonesia in 1975 prior to their independence because of the political orientation of their independence movements during the Cold War.

(104.) Holsti 1996, 162-63.

(105.) See Gilpin 1981, 125, 132; and Kaysen 1990, 54.

(106.) See Deutsch 1953; Kaysen 1990, 53; and Lieberman 1996.

(107.) Lieberman 1996.

(108.) See Rosecrance 1986 and 1996; and Zacher and Matthew 1995, 124-26.

(109.) Thompson and Krasner 1989. Ethan Nadelmann has made an interesting comment about the demise of piracy and privateering in the seventeenth century that is relevant to the gradual strengthening of the territorial integrity norm: "The advantage to be derived from stealing from one another was giving way to the greater advantage of stable commercial relations." Nadelmann 1990, 487.

(110.) Finnemore and Sikkink 1999, 267-68.

(111.) Flynn and Farrell 1999.

(112.) Flynn and Farrell 1999, 527 and passim. On the change in Western international practices that flow from the application of liberal democratic values, see also Adler 1998.

(113.) Cox 1996, 278.

(114.) See Holsti 1991; Goertz and Diehl 1992; Vasquez 1993; Huth 1996; and Hensel 1999.

(115.) Krasner 1999.

(116.) Vasquez 1993, 151.

(117.) Ruggie 1993, 174.

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                 Interstate territorial wars, 1648-2000
                       a. Wars by historical era
                        Conflicts resulting  Conflicts in which
           Territorial   in redistribution     territory was
 Period     conflicts      of territory        redistributed
1648-1712      19               15                  79%
1713-1814      30               24                  80%
1815-1917      25               20                  80%
1918-1945      18               16                  88%
1946-2000      40               12                  30%
 Period       per year
1648-1712       0.23
1713-1814       0.24
1815-1917       0.19
1918-1945       0.59
1946-2000       0.22
                        b. Wars by half century
                        Conflicts resulting  Conflicts in which
           Territorial   in redistribution     territory was
 Period     conflicts      of territory        redistributed
1651-1700      14               11                  79%
1701-1750      16               14                  88%
1751-1800      12                8                  67%
1801-1850      13               11                  85%
1851-1900      14               10                  71%
1901-1950      26               23                  89%
1951-2000      37               10                  27%
 Period       per year
1651-1700       0.22
1701-1750       0.28
1751-1800       0.16
1801-1850       0.22
1851-1900       0.20
1901-1950       0.46
1951-2000       0.20

Sources: Data used to identify territorial wars between 1648 and 1945 is from Holsti 1991. Holsti classifies wars according to twenty-two issues. Six of these are clearly concerned with control over territory: territory, strategic territory, colonial competition, empire creation, maintaining integrity of empire, and national unification. Additional information on these conflicts was derived from a number of secondary sources, including Goertz and Diehl 1992; Goldstein 1992; McKay and Scott 1983; and Taylor 1954. Wars are classified by their beginning date.

Information on territorial wars between 1946 and 2000 was also obtained from a large number of secondary sources, including Bercovitch and Jackson 1997; Goertz and Diehl 1992; Kacowicz 1994; Huth 1996; and Wallensteen and Sollenberg 1998. Goertz and Diehl focus on territorial conflicts where there were exchanges of territory; Kacowicz examines cases of peaceful territorial change; and Huth includes territorial disputes that involved and did not involve international violence. The Correlates of War list of conflicts was also consulted. It includes territorial wars with over one thousand deaths. Singer and Small 1982. There were five conflicts between 1946 and 2000 that led to minor border alterations and are not included under "Conflicts resulting in redistribution of territory." For descriptions of the territorial aggressions between 1946 and 2000, see Table 2.
                         Interstate territorial
                         aggressions, 1946-2000
  States involved                Issue
  Turkey-Cyprus,      Turkey invaded Cyprus to protect
    1974-present        the Turkish Cypriot community. It
                        gathered all Turkish Cypriots
                        into the northern 40 percent of
                        the island. In 1983 Turkey
                        supported the creation of the
                        Turkish Republic of Northern
                        Cyprus (TRNC). Turkish troops
                        remain in the TRNC.
  Yugoslavia-         Yugoslavia's armed forces attacked
    Slovenia, 1991      to try to reverse Slovenia's
                        departure from the federation
                        after Slovenia declared
                        independence on 25 June 1991.
  Yugoslavia-         Croatia declared independence in
    Croatia,            1991. Yugoslavia (Serbia-
    1991-95             Montenegro) sent troops to assist
                        serbs in Croatia (12 percent of
                        pop.) who wanted to attach their
                        areas to Yugoslavia. Most Serb
                        troops defending Serb enclaves
                        came from Croatia, but some came
                        from Yugoslavia.
  Yugoslavia-         Bosnia declared independence in
    Bosnia,             1992. Serb population of Bosnia
    1992-95             (assisted by Yugoslav military)
                        fought against an alliance of
                        Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian
                        Croats. The Serb forces wanted
                        to unite parts of Bosnia with
                        Yogoslavia. The Croatian army
                        intervented at times, and in a
                        few instances it fought Muslim
The Americas
  Nicaragua-          Nicaragua occupied a part of
    Honduras, 1957      Honduras.
  Argentina-Britain,  Argentina occupied Malvinas/
    1982                Falkland islands.
  Ecuador-Peru,       Ecuador sent troops into an area it
    1995                lost in peace treaty at end of
                        1942 war.
  Egypt-Sudan.        Egypt occupied a small area of
    1958                Sudanese territory.
  Ghana-Upper         Ghana occupied a small border area
    Volta, 1963-65      of Upper Volta in 1963.
  Algeria-Morocco,    Morocco occupied a part of Algeria.
  Somalia-Ethiopia    Somalia provided troops to Somali
    and Kenya,          rebels in eastern Ethiopia and
    1964                northern Kenya seeking union with
  Libya-Chad,         In 1973 Libya secretly occupied a
    1973-87             border area of Chad called the
                        Aouzou Strip.
  States involved              Outcome                    Change
  Turkey-Cyprus,      The UN and NATO opposed the     Major change
    1974-present        invasion and recognition of
                        the TRNC. Western and UN
                        attempts to negotiate a
                        settlement based on a
                        federation of the two
                        sections of the island have
                        failed. Only Turkey
                        recognizes the TRNC.
  Yugoslavia-         Yugoslavia ceased its attack    No change
    Slovenia, 1991      after eight days of fighting
                        and withdrew from Slovenia.
  Yugoslavia-         UN called for withdrawal of     No change
    Croatia,            foreign troops and a cease-
    1991-95             fire. Fighting killed 15,000
                        Main Serb foree was defeated
                        in 1995. Dayton accord in
                        1995 recognized former
                        boundary. Yugoslavia and
                        Croatia recognized boundary
                        in bilateral treaty in
                        August 1996.
  Yugoslavia-         UN called for withdrawal of     No change
    Bosnia,             non-Bosnian troops and
    1992-95             cease-fire. The fighting
                        killed 200,000. The 1995
                        Dayton accord created a
                        multiethnic government and
                        recognized the original
                        boundaries of Bosnia-
                        Herzegovina. Yugoslavia and
                        Bosnia recognized boundary
                        in bilateral treaty in
                        October 1996.
The Americas
  Nicaragua-          Nicaragua withdrew and          No change
    Honduras, 1957      accepted ICJ arbitration
                        because of OAS pressure. ICJ
                        awarded territory to
                        Honduras in 1959.
  Argentina-Britain,  UN called for Argentina's       No change
    1982                withdrawal. Britain
                        reoccupied islands.
  Ecuador-Peru,       Four guarantor powers of 1942   No change
    1995                treaty promoted withdrawal.
                        The two states signed a
                        border treaty in 1998.
  Egypt-Sudan.        Arab League pressured Egypt to  No change
    1958                withdraw.
  Ghana-Upper         In 1965 OAU supported original  No change
    Volta, 1963-65      boundary. Ghana withdraw.
  Algeria-Morocco,    Arab League and OAU called for  No change
    1963                withdrawal. OAU established
                        mediators. Morocco withdraw.
  Somalia-Ethiopia    OAU supported original          No change
    and Kenya,          boundaries and established
    1964                mediator. Somalia withdraw.
  Libya-Chad,         OAU tried to secure Libyan      No change
    1973-87             withdrawal in 1980s. Libya
                        was driven out by Chad in
                        1987. ICJ arbitration was
                        accepted in 1990. ICJ ruled
                        in Chad's favor in 1994.
Mali-Burkina         Mali claimed a small area of Burkina
 Faso, 1975           Faso in 1960. Mali occupied the
                      area in 1975.
Somalia-Ethiopia,    Somalia occupied most of the Ogaden
 1976-80              region of Ethiopia. Ethiopia
                      received military forces from
Uganda-Tanzania,     Uganda occupied a small part of
 1978                 Tanzania.
Morocco-Spanish      Morocco claimed Spanish Sahara
 Sahara, 1975-        prior to independence and sent in
 2000                 military contingents in 1975.
                      Under pressure Spain agreed to
                      cede the colony. since 1976
                      Morocco and the independence
                      movement Polisario have conducted
                      a continuous war.
Libya-Chad,          Libya pressured Chad to accept a
 1981-82              political union in exchange for
                      military assistance in its
                      civil war.
Mali-Burkina         Dispute over a small strip existed
 Faso, 1985           from time of independence and
                      led to violence again.
Eritrea-Ethiopia,    Eritrea and Ethiopia dispute
 1998-2000            sovereignty over several small
                      border regions. Eritrea occupied
                      some areas in 1998. In 1999 and
                      2000 Ethiopia regained control of
                      all areas.
Middle East
Arab states-Israel,  Britain accepted a UN recommendation
 1948                 to divide Palestine into Israeli
                      and Arab states. Neighboring Arab
                      states attacked Israel at time of
                      independence in May 1948 to
                      support Palestinian Arabs' claim
                      to entire area
Israel-Arab states,  Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza
 1967                 Strip, Sinai, and Golan Heights.
                      It later annexed East Jerusalem
                      and applied Israeli law to Golan
Egypt and Syria-     Egypt and Syria sought to recapture
 Israel, 1973         the Sinai and Golan Heights.
Iraq-Kuwait,         Iraq invaded Kuwait and annexed it.
Mali-Burkina         OAU mediated a cease-fire and    No change
 Faso, 1975           withdrawal by Mali.
Somalia-Ethiopia,    An OAU committee called for      No change
 1976-80              respect for former boundary.
                      Somalia withdrew all forces
                      by 1980.
Uganda-Tanzania,     Within several weeks of          No change
 1978                 Tanzanian No change military
                      action, Uganda withdrew.
Morocco-Spanish      The OAU and the UN have called   Major change
 Sahara, 1975-        for Moroccan withdrawal and a
 2000                 referendum. The UN tried to
                      organize a referendum during
                      the 1990s. (Mauritania
                      occupied part of Spanish
                      Sahara from 1976 to 1978.)
Libya-Chad,          OAU opposed union and provided   No change
 1981-82              some troops. Chad ended
                      political union and Libya
                      withdrew troops.
Mali-Burkina         In 1985 they accepted ICJ        Minor change
 Faso, 1985           arbitration as aa result of
                      OAU mediation, In 1986 ICJ
                      divided the area equally
                      between the two states.
Eritrea-Ethiopia,    The OAU and the Westem powers    No change
 1998-2000            promoted a cease-fire, a
                      withdrawal to the pre-1998
                      boundary, and arbitration
                      based on colonial treaties.
                      These were accepted in June
Middle East
Arab states-Israel,  Israel gained territory in each  Major change
 1948                 stage of the war. At end of
                      1948 both sides accepted
                      armistice lines. Arab
                      Palestinians retained
                      control of the West Bank and
                      Gaza Strip (administered by
                      Jordan and Egypt).
Israel-Arab states,  UN Security Council in           Major change
 1967                 November 1967 called for
                      withdrawal of Israel to 1948
                      armistice lines in exchange
                      for recognition by Arab
                      states of Israel. In 1978
                      Israel agreed to return the
                      Sinai; in 1993 Israel
                      accepted staged
                      implementation of self-rule
                      for West Bank and Gaza.
Egypt and Syria-     UN Security Council called for   Minor change
 Israel, 1973         cease-fire. Fighting ended
                      after two weeks. Egypt was
                      allowed to keep a small
                      enclave in the Sinai.
Iraq-Kuwait,         Most UN members called for       No change
1990-91               Iraq's withdrawal. Iraq was
                      expelled by a UN-sanctioned
 Pakistan-India.    British India was partitioned and India
   1947-48            and Pakistan became independent in
                      1947. Pakistan army joined Muslim
                      rebels in Kashmir who were seeking
                      union of Kashmir with Pakistan.
 North Korea-       North Korea attempted to absorb South
   South Korea,       Korea.
 China-Burma,       China moved into a small border area of
   1956               Burma.
 Afghanistan-       Afghanistan sent irregular Afghan forces
   Pakistan, 1961     into the Pathanistan region of Pakistn
                      to support local forces favoring union
                      with Afghanistan.
 India-Portugal,    India invaded and absorbed the
   1961               Portuguese-controlled colony of Goa.
 Indonesia-         Indonesia claimed West New Guinea
   Netherlands,       (West Irian) over which the
   1961-62            Netherlands and colonial control.
                      Indonesia invaded in 1961.
 China-India, 1962  China occupied Aksai Chin and part of
                      Northeast Frontier Agency that it
 North Vietnam-     France administered the northern and
   South Vietnam,     southern parts of Vietnam separately
   1962-75            prior to 1954. After independence in
                      1954 South Vietnam did not allow a
                      referendum on unification as provided
                      in the Paris peace accord. By 1962
                      North Vietnamese forces were fighting
                      with the Viet Cong to promote
 Indonesia-         Indonesia claimed the Malaysian territory
   Malaysia,          of North Borneo, and it introduced
   1963-65            military contingents to expel Malaysian
 Pakistan-India,    Pakistan sent a force into the Rann of
   April 1965         Kutch
 Pakistan-India,    Pakistan attacked India to secure control
   August 1965        of the Indian-controlled part of
 India-Pakistan     The Bengali population in East Pakistan
   (creation of       sought to secede from Pakistan. Indian
   Bangladesh),       troops intervened in the civil war to
   1971               secure the creation of Bangladesh.
 Iran-United Arab   Upon Britain's granting of independence
   Emirates, 1971     to the UAE Iran occupied some of the
                      islands in the Straits of Hormuz that
                      belonged to the UAE.
 Pakistan-India.    Pakistan secured control ovcr a       Major change
   1947-48            sparsely populated third of
                      Kashmir by end of war. UN
                      Security Council supported
                      plebiscite during war, but India
                      did not accept it. Post-1948
                      border is the Line of Control.
 North Korea-       Armistice line reflects very minor    Minor change
   South Korea,       changes in former boundary.
 China-Burma,       The two states negotiated a new       Minor change
   1956               border that gave China a part of
                      the area it occupied.
 Afghanistan-       Afghan incursions were defeated       No change
   Pakistan, 1961     by Pakistan.
 India-Portugal,    Most states accepted the              Major change
   1961               legitimacy of India's action.
 Indonesia-         In 1962 Indonesia and the             Major change
   Netherlands,       Netherlands agreed to a
   1961-62            plebiscite after one year of UN
                      administration. The plebiscite
                      favored integration with
 China-India, 1962  China still occupies the areas.       Major change
 North Vietnam-     In 1975 North Vietnamese and          Major change
   South Vietnam,     Viet Cong forces defeated the
   1962-75            South Vietnamese army, and the
                      two areas were reunified.
 Indonesia-         Britain and Australia sent troops to  Minor change
   Malaysia,          help Malaysia. Indonesia was
   1963-65            unsuccessful.
 Pakistan-India,    Britain negotiated a cease-fire and   Minor change
   April 1965         the parties agreed to an
                      arbitration that awarded 10
                      percent of the area to Pakistan
                      in 1968.
 Pakistan-India,    Pakistan was defeated. USSR and       No change
   August 1965        Western powers backed the
                      1948 Line of Control.
 India-Pakistan     The UN General Assembly called        Major change
   (creation of       for Indian withdrawal; India did
   Bangladesh),       not withdraw, and it facilitated
   1971               the creation of Bangladesh.
 Iran-United Arab   Iran maintains control of the         Major change
   Emirates, 1971     islands.
China-South       China expelled South Vietnam from the
  Vietnam, 1974    western Paracel Islands that it claimed
Indonesia-        Indonesia invaded East Timor several
  Portugal (East   months before it was to achieve
  Timor),          independence from Portugal. It made it
  1975-99          a province of Indonesia.
Cambodia-         Cambodia attacked Vietnam to establish
  Vietnam,         control over a small border region.
Iraq-Iran,        Iraq invaded Iran to seize control of the
  1980-88          Shatt al-Arab waterway and some other
China-South       China maintains control of the     Major change
  Vietnam, 1974    islands.
Indonesia-        UN demanded Indonesian             No change
  Portugal (East   withdrawal and self-
  Timor),          determination through 1982. In
  1975-99          1999 Indonesia relented to
                   international pressure and
                   allowed a referendum that led to
Cambodia-         Cambodian forces were defeated.    No change
  Vietnam,         War was the result mainly of
  1977-78          political conflicts.
Iraq-Iran,        UN Security Council backed         No change
  1980-88          acceptance of former boundary
                   in 1987. The two states accepted
                   a cease-fire in 1988 and the
                   former boundary in 1990.

Note: Of the forty interstate territorial conflicts listed here, twelve involved major redistributions of territory, and five involved minor alterations of borders. A "minor change" refers to small border adjustments. Any change apart from a minor border alteration is regarded as a "major change." The conflict over the Spratly Islands, which involves China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei, is not included because there has never been any local or international consensus on jurisdictions. See Haller-Trost 1990; and Lo 1989.
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Author:Zacher, Mark W.
Publication:International Organization
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Mar 22, 2001
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