The Australian mind is in a strange state of tension. Geographically Australia belongs to the Pacific; and she cannot therefore forget that immediately to her north there are teeming multitudes of Asia. There is a well-known limerick which runs:
There was a young lady of Ryde,
Who ate green apples and died;
The apples fermented inside the lamented,
And formed cider inside her inside.
In Asia there are the forces of resurgent Islam and nascent nationalism and aggressive Communism, all producing a heady ferment of nervous and excited xenophobia. Australia cannot forget this fact.
In thought and culture Australia belongs to the West. She was colonized mainly by British colonies, and her ties are still close with what is called ‘the old country.’ She is, therefore, an outpost of Western civilization in a predominantly Asian world.
But there is also Australia’s vested interest in America. This link was forged in the desperate Pacific battles of World War II, when Australia was threatened with imminent invasion. That military association has greatly accelerated Australia’s cultural and industrial dependence on the United States.
These different factors have resulted in strains and tensions. Australians cannot ignore the fact that Asia is on the march: and that geographically Australia belongs to Asia: but they cannot forget that their ties—religious, social, and cultural—are with Europe and America.
A number of churchmen have recently lent their powerful advocacy to an extension of the Colombo Plan. This plan was evolved to assist able students from Asia, selected by their governments, to undertake technical training in Australia. It was hoped that practical goodwill would thereby be created. Already ...1
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