In the late 1500s England was rising as a maritime nation. It was beginning to dominate the important technologies of cartography and longitudinal calculation. In 1598 Edward Wright produced the most accurate map the world had seen.
Apart from using the new technology of Mercartor projection Wright placed England slap-bang in the middle of the map. Arthur Herman writes that, “Wright’s portrayal of the world … placed Great Britain at dead-centre.” The British dominance of longitudinal technology meant that the modern system of time is also centred on Britain – namely Greenwich.
Modern mercartor maps of the globe tend to place Australia down in the bottom right hand corner. Most either centre themselves as per Wright’s view of the world or with the United States in the middle. Australia has not helped itself in this area; its politicians in particular, but others also, have used Australian geopolitical and economic isolation as an excuse.
However this political cringe ignores the facts of modern trade and globalisation.
The old nineteenth century view of the world was occident and orient, but globalisation has merged that distinction such that is meaningless. South-East Asia and North Asia are integrated economies that compete effortlessly with North America and Europe. The goods moving between Asia and Europe, North America and India, the Middle East and Asia, etc, etc, still predominantly move by sea. Nearly 90% of all goods are moved on the world’s oceans. Globalisation is moving the geographic centre of global trade over Australia.
There is an opportunity for Australia here such that security treaties could be set up to move the political and economic map over Australia too. This can be done in a way that would appeal to Australian conservatives and progressives. Three major trade (and data) routes flow around Australia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Antarctic Ocean which places Australia in a pivotal position.
From this map Australia can setup security and trade treaties that reach through the arcs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. To keep this palatable to conservatives – as well as keep it within political achievability – the nations targeted initially should be those influenced by the old anglosphere. This would mean major signatories of:
- Indian Ocean: Australia, India and South Africa.
- Pacific Ocean: Australia, Japan and the USA.
These two whirls of influence would centre the political, defence and economic map on Australia. Nations are no different to individuals, they constantly have to work to put themselves in a position for success, and due to the nature of international communications this places Australian politicians in important positions. Working to this end would be an important step toward a greater Australia unconcerned by the old Australian attitudes of geopolitical isolation and irrelevance.