The Future of the Pacific Rim: Scenarios for Regional Cooperation

By Barbara K. Bundy; Stephen D. Burns et al. | Go to book overview

17
Globalization and National Power
in the Pacific

José Juan de Olloqui y Labastida

Recent developments in international affairs have emphasized the fact that economic activity influences international politics. In fact, the political influence and international activity of great powers have historically been supported by their economic vigor. 1 Without this, their capacity to influence international events diminishes sooner or later, as we have witnessed during the boom and decadence periods of the great powers.

Perhaps these changes indicate a more significant phenomenon that has not yet been sufficiently studied by academicians. I refer here to what we could call the necessary harmony among the elements that constitute national power. For example, territory and natural resources are frequently referred to as elements of power. However, even under the best of circumstances, these are merely potential elements if there is not a population large enough to exploit or protect them. Similarly, geographic considerations mean that the importance of these elements is reduced when they are not favorably located.

Notwithstanding their large size and considerable resources, Argentina, Australia, and Canada -- to mention three typical cases -- do not have the conditions to exploit their potential because of relatively small populations. Also, the lower levels of participation in world and southern hemisphere affairs of Argentina and Australia run counter to the expectations that might arise given their resources and per capita incomes.

Argentina's Atlantic coastline was of great importance for immigration and development, and it was also the window through which Argentina participated in world events. Australia, which used to be considered isolated in a dark corner of the world, is currently

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