Australia’s place in a globalised world of continents.

Following on from my post yesterday, I ponder what will be Australia’s place in a world where “globalisation has moved politics into a world of continents.”

Robert Cooper, the EU’s most senior foreign policy official was quoted as saying this in an interesting article by Stephen Castle in the International Herald Tribune last week.

In a globalised world, where increasingly the importance of scale is making itself felt, the place Australia has, and with whom it aligns itself, will be of utmost importance to her future.

The previous Howard government’s focus on the US failed to impede the growth of the relationship with China, begun in the Whitlam era, as well as with Japan and Australia’s other Asian neighbours. Maybe Paul Keating’s vision for Australia to take its place as a part of Asia had more foresight than his critics appreciated. Perhaps the harm done by Pauline Hanson to Australia’s image in our region will now be seen for what it was, a regrettable and damaging period in our history . The Howard government did little to reverse this and the last 11 years have seen Australia becoming more and more an inward looking nation reverting back to the ties of previous eras.

The growing influence of the emerging economies of China, India, Brazil and the re-emergence of Russia, all point to the development of new spheres of power in the 21st Century.

Peter Mandelson, the European trade commissioner was quoted by Castle as saying:

“The days when the EU and the U.S. could determine world trade deals, and everyone else had to fall in behind, have gone. Obviously the trans-Atlantic partners remain indispensable to shaping and agreeing any such deal, but exclusive control is no longer in their hands, nor should it be.”

The world then, is re-shaping under the influence of globalisation, creating the need for new ties and the strengthening of the old ones. Just one example is the 7th meeting of the 21st Century Committee for China-Japan Friendship that opened in Beijing on Sunday. The chief Chinese member, Zheng Bijian was quoted in the China Daily as saying that “China-Japan relations are now stepping on a new horizon and face historical opportunities for development.”

The question remains, will the new Kevin Rudd government be able to further Australia’s attempts to gain entry to the Association of South East Asian Nations as Keating had tried to do? Does Australia see itself as part of Asia?

The integration of countries into national groupings that can wield greater power than their individual constituents pose the further challenges of maintaining cohesion and avoiding protectionist inward looking policies, if these groupings and Australia are to survive in this new “world of continents.”



~ by abstraktbiblos on Monday, 28 January, 2008.

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