I wrote the first edition of this book in Sydney. I have written the second edition in a different place, Fiji, and from a different perspective: that of living in the only part of the world where Australia is a superpower. My South Pacific experience over the last seven years is a reminder that the global gap between rich and poor is shaping international affairs in fundamental ways, and will continue to influence Australian foreign policy deeply for decades to come. I thank my students at the University of the South Pacific for alerting me to much about what happens in the region and how the Island countries interact with Australia.
The late John Iremonger of Allen & Unwin suggested I write the first edition of this book, and I did so only because John cajoled, encouraged and humoured me to the finish. The first edition also owed much to the scepticism and intellectual commitment of my colleague, the late Michael Wills, who tutored and lectured Australian foreign policy with me at Macquarie University.
At Allen & Unwin Elizabeth Weiss prompted me to write this edition and, delicately, encouraged me to keep writing, while Alexandra Nahlous managed the editorial process with exceptional interest, care and precision. I am much indebted to both.
I owe most to Kate Hannan, my partner in life, who encouraged me as only a fellow writer can.
Stewart Firth September 2004