The New States of Asia, a Political Analysis

The New States of Asia, a Political Analysis

The New States of Asia, a Political Analysis

The New States of Asia, a Political Analysis

Excerpt

Asia has various meanings. To some it is a geographical expression, the largest and most populous of the continents. And so it is, with 17 million square miles and 1 □ billion people, covering one- third of the earth's surface and nearly two-thirds of mankind.

Other people think of Asia as the home of the great religions. This image, too, is well-grounded in fact, as revealed by a glance around the 'Rimland'. From South-West Asia, better known as the Near East or Middle East, came Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. India gave the world Hinduism and Buddhism, while China contributed Confucianism, really a philosophy with the power of religion, and Japan added Shinto. No wonder that Westerners talk about the mystical and spiritual East. If one adds to the list such faiths as Zoroastrianism, the religion of the Persians before the coming of Islam, Sikhism and Jainism in India, Taoism in China, and Lamaism, a form of Buddhism in High Asia, along with a host of less sophisticated beliefs, the spiritual image becomes almost a self- evident truth.

Asia also suggests an area of coloured peoples. This too is accurate, although there is no such thing as an Asian 'racial type', except in the minds of special pleaders. All of the races of man are found there and most of the sub-races. There are Caucasians and Negroes and Mongolians. There are Aryans and Dravidians. There are white-skinned and brown and black and yellow and various shades of each. Millennia of migration and mixture have produced a mélange of physical types.

An important feature of Asia, perhaps the most crucial in the struggle for the minds of men, is its intense poverty and under- development. Statistics often conceal important truths but not so in this case. One illustration conveys the magnitude of Asian poverty. In 1950 the annual per capita income in North America was $1,100. For Europe it was $380 and for Latin America $170. Then came another sharp dip for Africa, $75, and finally, for Asia, $50. That is to say, two out of every three persons on earth had an average yearly income of $50! That fact, among others, has stimulated the great contest for the friendship of Asia.

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