Politics in Minutes (2016)

Expansionism

Some nations have been aggressively expansionist, seeking to expand their territory by invading and occupying other countries. Empires have been built by nations extending their boundaries, annexing neighbouring countries or colonizing distant ones. In the lead-up to the Second World War, the nationalist movements of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy were seeking respectively Lebensraum and spazio vitale – ‘room for living’ – and later the Soviet Union sought to extend its communist empire. Sometimes expansionism is justified as regaining a territory previously lost or that traditionally belonged to a particular people, but generally it is regarded as an unwarranted act of hostility, met with international condemnation and armed resistance. Nowadays, nations expand their sphere of influence economically rather than by force, gaining access to resources in other countries through trade. When this occurs between nations with unequal economic and political power, it can be seen as a legitimized form of subjugation and exploitation, no better than colonialism.

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