The name for the kind of conflict, you should know, is irredentism. Irredentism means a movement to reclaim lost territory, which necessarily means territory lost to another regime. And that usually involves war.
Wars are always started for stupid reasons, and Thoreau lamented how a flaw in democracy is in the fact that wars can be started by so few people. And rocks in the Pacific would be the least of all irredentist claims world wide. Of which there are far more than noted here. For example, in the heading USA, although the Mexico claim for some US territory is noted, what is not noted is the claims of Native Americans to reclaim their sovereign territories, the Hawaiians, Puerto Ricans, and no doubt more, so we can assume the list of grievances is far longer than listed by Wikipedia.
As an aside, in the West it is an article of faith wars are religion based. This is sheer nonsense. All wars are over real estate, without exception, and the objective is the rents to be mulct after victory. Never is a war about religion. Religion is only cited to put a halo on war, with its added "benefit" of sneaking in human sacrifice while stealing real estate.
Before the poverty draft we have in place in USA currently, we had a lottery draft, which meant just about anyone could be taken. For this reason in my youth conscientious objection to war was widely considered. I did, and discovered I was a conscientious objector (CO), and Uncle Sam so categorized me in relation to the draft and the Vietnam war (indeed, all wars). Today there is no discussion of CO because the poverty draft is putatively all-volunteer. "Volunteer" is what they call kids trapped into war. Up front it is "be all you can be" afterwards it is "get in line" to deal with maladies of war, more suicides of Vietnam vets than died in the war, and POWs left behind. No one should be allowed to join the military before first visiting a VA hospital.
At the same time I was being given a draft number, anyone with oil engineering skills or degrees were given a critical skills exemption from the draft. Uncle Sam did not want to put anyone who could find oil in harms way by having them in the military. In the 1960s, early 1970s a common claim was the Vietnam war was over the oil potential of the Spratlys and the Paracels, which Vietnam claimed.
So fast forward to April 2010, I am in Saigon for the first time, and I met up with an oil engineer who was exempt from the Vietnam war for his skill critical to the Hegemon. His view at that time is there is not much potential worth pursuing and he exits. A critical skils-exempt oilman, a conscientious objector, in Saigon discovering even the true, ugly reason for the Vietnam war was pointless. The irony!
It's gonna get thicker. In 1980 China attacked Vietnam to teach Vietnam a lesson over a lack of gratitude for Chinese assistance in defeating USA. China got its nose bloodied because it could not provide air cover. Vietnam had the third best equipped military in the world at the time due to all the war materiel USA abandoned when we ran away. China did not want to lose its Air Force to the world-class anti-aircraft systems the Vietnamese owned at the time. Now USA and Vietnam are warming up to each other, as China claims what Vietnam sees as theirs, the Spratlys and Paracels. What a new market opportunity! Sell to Vietnam updated weapons systems! Go to war again, in the same place, for the same reason, oil, but this time on the side of the Communists.
The founding fathers intended no standing military for the USA, just everyone armed and ready, like the Swiss. Wouldn't that be nice?
(As a side note, Vietnam had so many USA helicopters and parts left over, by the time we resumed trade with Vietnam USA had stopped making the helicopters and parts. The rights to make the helicopters were sold to Germans. Since the helicopters were no longer made in USA, the FAA required recertification of the helicopters and parts before allowing to be sold in USA. So, USA importers began buying the used parts, etc from the Vietnamese, entering USA duty free (since they were USA made goods being reimported) and certified by the FAA.)
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