May 12, 2010
Australia's Tricky Place in the World
Olivier Zajec, Le Monde Diplomatique
Does Australia have a regional role in our era? You would hardly think so, given that Down Under – the way Aussies refer to the position of their country in the scheme of things, based on the Eurocentric map projections of centuries ago – arouses at best polite interest among international relations experts. Australia isn’t a nuclear power and does not belong to large regional organisations like ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Australia, as the sixth-biggest country in landmass, solidly entrenched among the 15 most prosperous economies, ranked an impressive second in the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2009 index, and equipped with a credible defence system, has strength in the Pacific region, despite a population of only 22...