Australia Faces Southeast Asia

Australia Faces Southeast Asia: The Emergence of a Foreign Policy

Copyright Date: 1967
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Australia Faces Southeast Asia
    Book Description:

    Australia as a Western society in the Orient faces a unique and paradoxical challenge in her relations with her close but unfamiliar neighbors of Southeast Asia. Explicitly dependent upon British foreign policy until the fall of Singapore in 1942, Australia has reluctantly and painfully begun the task of developing a policy of her own.

    The Japanese conquest of Southeast Asia and many of the Pacific islands during the Second World War awakened Australia to the need to secure her own defenses and later, when Britain began a gradual withdrawal from Southeast Asia, Australia was thrown upon her own resources in dealing with her politically unstable and volatile neighbors and also with the larger Asian threat posed by Communist China. InAustralia Faces Southeast Asia, Amry and MaryBelle Vandenbosch trace Australia's attempts to reconcile her cultural heritage and her geography.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6493-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-vi)
    Amry Vandenbosch and Mary Belle Vandenbosch
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Postwar Reappraisal of External Policy
    (pp. 1-9)

    The Second World War brought profound changes in Australia’s relations with the world, and Australians have found agonizing their experience in reappraising their position and developing a foreign policy to meet unprecedented challenges. Australia’s changed situation resulted chiefly from two developments. First, the neighboring region of Southeast Asia, which for several centuries had been a calm, inconspicuous region of the world, suddenly was drawn into the vortex of international politics by the Japanese invasion. Although Japan was ultimately defeated, a new threat to Southeast Asia and Australia emerged on the mainland of East Asia. Nor was the expulsion of Japan...

  5. 2 Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy
    (pp. 10-17)

    Apparently, world politics had a considerable influence on the Australian federation movement. Imperialist interests and movements in the Southwest Pacific helped to provide the impetus for union. The Australian colonists saw “little to unite for and nothing to unite against” until western powers established control over neighboring islands; union then became “a condition of survival to Australians.”¹ External pressure, chiefly that arising from the German interest in New Guinea, led to the establishment in 1885 of a Federal Council, an organ of very limited functions comparable to the confederation formed by the American colonies in 1781. New Zealand and Fiji...

  6. 3 Herbert Vere Evatt and Labor Nationalism
    (pp. 18-39)

    Though Australia had taken a noteworthy part in World War I, had made its voice heard strongly at the Paris Peace Conference, and had played an active role in the League of Nations, it was still largely passive in foreign policy when the Labor party came to power in 1941. That year a decided change took place. This change resulted from the juncture of four factors; a desperate global war, the decline of British power in Asia, the Labor party’s rise to power, and the appointment of Dr. Herbert Vere Evatt as minister of external affairs. Evatt, an able and...

  7. 4 Indonesian “Confrontation”–West New Guinea
    (pp. 40-77)

    Australia’s most important diplomatic problem is the relationship with its nearest neighbor, the newly independent Indonesia. Relations began hopefully enough. In March, 1950, the new Liberal minister for external affairs, Percy Spender, expressed considerable optimism in his statement on foreign policy in the House. He had spent several days in Djakarta and had had an opportunity to meet President Sukarno and most of his cabinet. “I formed the conclusion,” he stated, “that they were able men with moderate views and a sober realization of the immensity of the tasks before them. . . . There is, I believe, no question...

  8. 5 Indonesian “Confrontation”–Malaysia
    (pp. 78-107)

    Australia’s Labor government in 1948 turned to strategic defense planning for Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific, since events had given urgency to the problem. The activities of Communist guerrillas in Malaya had created what was officially termed the “Emergency,” which put a severe strain on the British and on the government of Malaya for a decade. Some 35,000 British soldiers and several air force units, plus numerous special police and constables, were mobilized to suppress the guerrillas. In May, 1948, the Australian government decided that if the British requested them, arms would be sent to Malaya.

    On May 30,...

  9. 6 Peril to the North–Vietnam
    (pp. 108-129)

    Australians long have feared “aggression from the North.” Before World War II it feared aggression from Japan, and, as a result of the frightening experiences in World War II when the Japanese advanced to the very threshold of their mainland, Australians for a long time held a deep-seated distrust of Japan. With the rise to power of the Communists on the mainland of China, the Australians’ concern shifted to the “downward thrust of China” and the “advance of Communism.”

    It is significant that the Australian policy toward China began to diverge from that of Britain. The Liberal-Country government with Robert...

  10. 7 An Emerging Policy
    (pp. 130-151)

    There are a few obvious influences in Australia’s defense problem. First of all, Australia is a “white island in a brown sea.” A historical, political, and cultural outpost of Western Europe, this smallest continent lies anchored off the insular appendages of Asia at a great distance from England and the United States, its closest associates. An Australian scholar has noted that “the central problem of Australia’s foreign policy is how to reconcile our geography with our history.”¹

    Secondly, though the country is developing rapidly, its population is small. At best, Australia is a middle or an intermediate power. Also, its...

  11. 8 Australia’s Future in Asia
    (pp. 152-168)

    If Australia has not quite succeeded in solving the main problem of its foreign policy-reconciling its history with its geography-it has gone some distance toward meeting the problem of its security. In doing so it has departed markedly from its traditions, but it has not succeeded in winning acceptance by Asians as an Asian country, albeit white. Again it feels threatened by Asia, but now by a huge Communist country with rapidly increasing military power. Australia has not been able to establish close friendly relations with its Asian neighbors, chiefly because of the great social upheaval which these nations are...

    (pp. 169-170)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 171-175)