There is constant political struggle for land between two or more nations around the world, where two different countries claiming to own a land area even though another country controls (or "occupy") it. Whenever a region asks for independence, usually the central country refuses.
A non-exhaustive list:
- Both Italy and France claim the glacier between the summits of Mont-Blanc and Mont-Blanc de Courmayeur
- Serbia claims Kosovo is theirs
- Both Egypt and Sudan claim the Hala'ib triangle
- Pakistan, India and China all 3 considers the Kashmir region to be theirs (even though Pakistan and China finally agreed on how to split it in two)
- Both Argentina and the UK wants the Falkland Islands
- Spain refuses to even consider a possible Catalan or Basque independence
- UK agreed to consider Scottish independence, however they invested massively for the campaign in favour of the no camp, pretty much promising the end of the world if the yes would win.
- Both Greece and Turkey wants to control Cyprus
- Both Ukraine and Russia considers Crimea to be their
- Both Georgia and Russia claim South Ossetia and Abkhazia
- Italy went to war in 1915 in the hope to grab only two very small pieces of land (south Tyrol and Trieste)
- Both Germany and France have claimed Alsace-Lorraine before 1945.
and so on and so forth...
(Please don't comment about saying something in this list is inaccurate, I have to summary those conflicts in one line, and if the way I did them is not satisfactory then edit the question rather than commenting, thanks. And please, PLEASE, do not state that you are in favour of country X and against country Y in one of those disputes, I AM NOT INTERESTED)
It seems like pretty much all geopolitics and wars are based on the assumption that "more land is better". This assumption might have been true in the past, and is still true in the rare case where the land has particularly rich resources such as petroleum or mines, however, in the average case where the land just contains arable land, farms and/or cities, this is not the case.
Governments are usually accumulating debts, and usually the larger and/or more populated they are, the more debts they have, as they have to provide services for more people, which costs more than the income they will have from taxes they get from those people. So actually, by enlarging a country's area and/or population, that country would lose money.
As an example let's imagine that Kosovo somehow agrees to be controlled by Serbia again. This would be great for Serbian national pride in the short term but would be catastrophic for their finances, as they'd have to spend a lot, and I mean a lot of money to rebuild the region to Serbian standards, and would get no extra income as this region is very poor and nobody could pay taxes. This is just the most obvious example, but the same concept applies to all other examples.
I thus don't understand why, for the conflicts I mentioned above, the countries would not just give up the area to their adversaries, especially if the situation is hopeless, as they're not only avoiding wars, but also winning money in the process.