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A Brief History of International Relations

The World Made Easy

Kathleen Brush

The world does not need to be complex and confusing. It can be made simpler so that the business, political, social, and economic implications of global news briefs beaming across televisions and electronic devices can be easily grasped. Key to this is knowing that a five-hundred-year competition for global supremacy between the Chinese, European, Islamic, and Russian empires only ended in 1945. When it did, the world had 57 independent nations. After all empires were dissolved in 1991, there were 193, and each nation carried histories of empires in the form of conquest, religions followed, languages practiced, diversified populations, repressive rule, and histories of discrimination. A Brief History of International Relations: The World Made Easy explores this history of global conflict to contextualize and simplify the often perplexing relations between nations and empires.

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Chapter 30. Oceania


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Oceania is like ESNA in having: two large countries that were former British colonies; several smaller island nations, of which most were former British colonies; some island territories that have voluntarily retained ties to former European empires or the United States; nations with Christian majorities; and in all but one English is the national language. The large nations are Australia and New Zealand. Australia is the larger of the two; its economy is about seven times larger, and its population is about five times larger. Both nations became virtually independent in 1901 and 1907 respectively, but not entirely independent until 1986 and 1947 respectively.1 Independence came to the twelve smaller nations between 1970 and 1994.

The colonies of Australia and New Zealand underwent a long process of attaining progressively more responsibility for governing. At virtual independence, they had mature political institutions and battle-tested military forces. Both nations were essential contributors to the Allied Powers during WWI and WWII.

Half a world away from other nations in the First World, Australia and New Zealand were charter and committed members defending democracy during the Cold War. Located in the South Pacific close to conflicts in Southeast and Eastern Asia made them indispensable. Like other first-world nations ← 271 | 272 → they were breathing a sigh of relief when the Cold War ended, but they quickly grasped that the post-Cold War period was not a “normal” time and they had to remain...

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