Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 without any real consequences as evidenced by their ability to pull this stunt again now. Maybe tomorrow China annexes Taiwan, Serbia annexes Bosnia etc.

Do we have institutions in place and the necessary political capital to stop any country from annexing another? Do these institutions function to prevent war?

Or is the world order no longer able to prevent authoritarian militarism? How could the world order be changed to achieve that then?

  • 10
    The words "no longer able" in the question imply that there once was a time when we were able to prevent authoritarian militarism. We have never been able to prevent this. It has happened ad infinitum ad nauseum for all of recorded history.
    – F1Krazy
    Feb 24 at 15:57
  • 2
    Ash, I slightly reworded your question, especially improved the title to aim for a bit more facts and less opinion. Hope it's okay. If not, roll back the edit.
    – Trilarion
    Feb 24 at 16:00
  • 1
    @Trilarion that's what I meant anyways thanks !
    – Ash Rivers
    Feb 24 at 16:56
  • Well North Korea exists... Feb 24 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


The Romans at the height of the Republic's power (around 50 or so BC) couldn't prevent Romans from invading Rome and they were (likely indisputably) the most powerful state in the world at the time. Throughout history, it's pretty obvious that militant invaders, such as the Mongols, don't seem to be deterred by diplomacy (aside from war, which is a form of diplomacy). So there is nothing currently in place to prevent this, aside from another military power exercising its power.

Also, you do seem a bit confused about what annexation is. Annexation is distinct from conquest, which a militant power is likely to do. Annexation can be peaceful (one country asks to join another) or it can be forceful (one country is compelled to join another out of fear of conquest). "Authoritarian militarism" is not and was not the only government possible of conquest. The Roman Republic was a fully functioning republic and still conquered anyone on its borders whether near or far from Gaul to Anatolia. Their "borders" are updated whenever they conquer frontier territories. This idea that only monarchs are capable of a large militant state is misguided. The Roman Republic did collapse into civil war (and ended up with a monarch), but this was likely due to too many actors with a lot of political power, which is why people were satisfied when it was consolidated even though they hate monarchs.

By the time of the enlightenment and industrial era, Europeans were likely viewed as militant authoritarian invaders all over the world, and as history showed, nothing stopped them from their conquest of the Americas, Africa, or Asia (apart from squabbles amongst themselves). Before the 20th century, Napoleon is probably the most recent example. A dictator born from a country that just kills people in power they don't like (revolutionary France), it's no surprise that he led a militant authoritarian state. The main difference is that he drafted the local population into his wars (which were previously fought mostly by the nobility and professional soldiers). The combined forces of continental Europe and the British Isles couldn't really stop them until he made a strategic error when invading Russia and his forces were crushed during a retreat.

In the 20th Century, we can start with the Japanese Empire after it annexed present-day Korea, which didn't really get stopped until 40 years later when it was the target of atomic weapons. Similarly, post-great depression Germany and the USSR were unstoppable forces, until they made the unfortunate mistake of fighting each other.

So in summary, aside from strategic error, the only way to stop a guy with a gun is another guy with a gun or a riot shield.

  • What you mean by couldn't prevent Romans from invading Rome?
    – convert
    Feb 24 at 17:16
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    @convert It means it the Roman government could not stop Julius Caesar from marching his army into Rome and forcing the senate into making his position permanent. The senate intended to reduce his political power while he was fighting the Gallic wars and he was fully aware of the fact so had nothing to lose when he returned to Rome with an army. Naturally, the senate fled from the city and he got what he wanted until he was murdered in a meeting called by the senate.
    – uberhaxed
    Feb 24 at 17:27
  • I think the question is asking more for current institutions. I'm a bit puzzled by this answer dealing mostly with history. (Although I agree with the last paragraph.)
    – Trilarion
    Feb 24 at 17:29
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    @Trilarion because the question in the OP has a very incorrect premise Or is the world order no longer able to prevent authoritarian militarism? And I was demonstrating that at no point in history was this possible so this is a case of "Make America Great Again".
    – uberhaxed
    Feb 24 at 17:35

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