Hi guys. I got an extension from S.C.C.E. so my essay is not due 'til Tuesday.
Here it is. I know it's hundreds of words over the limit, but I want to ask you guys which parts you think I could remove, and which are weaker points than others. Of course, any constructive criticism for the actualy content of the essay would be extremely welcome also! Thanks guys! (Edited to change 'assignment' to 'essay'. Oops. *sheepish grin*)
Southern Cross Cultural Exchange Program Scholarship Essay - Anna TimmsWhat role should Australia play in future World Affairs?
Australia - the great southern land - is a very unique country geographically and culturally. Geographically, it can claim to be the only permanently inhabited country in the world that has a whole continent to itself, with a very low population density per square kilometre. Historically, they are not so much the 'babies' - think Serbia, The Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia (all federated in the last 30 years) - but the 'teenagers' of the world. Of course, there are the 'grownups', each several hundreds of years old - England, Switzerland, France, China, Japan - who have of course, in the course of time, had a bloody history with many wars, assassinations, and the like of it under their belt. Australia has had a relatively 'clean' history, with the only dark blotches being the wars they've participated in and the dreadful regime of misunderstandings that brought about the Stolen Generation. In all truthfulness, you could see World Affairs as a powerful show of family dynamics - there are fights, there is love and brotherhood, but there is not very often peace, unfortunately. In the last 5000 years of world history, only 200 have been relatively peaceful.
Australia is considered a lovely country by people in other parts of the world, and most citizens' love living there. It is economically, politically, religiously, racially, and culturally well-off, and is a country well-developed and under control. Therefore, it can be said that the leaders are leading them well, and in the case of World Affairs, they are playing our parting in helping out parts of the world, especially those that have been recently devastated - Christchurch and Japan in the last two months - and on top of that, they have been handling several natural disasters in the last 4 months, like the Queensland Floods, the West Australian Bushfires, and Cyclone Yasi - which I've had the misfortune to experience myself (I live in Tully). These recent natural disasters have most definitely given Australia a sense of empathy for other countries. If one country is struggling, it's their favour to help them, because they know one day the other country could be helping them out of a mess - all for one and one for all, right?
In World Affairs, Australia's current standing is quite good. It helps out any countries in need and donates millions to other countries every year - Australia had donated $87 million (US dollars) from 2004-06 (Wikipedia - Australia and the United Nations). It also plays its parts in wars, for the cause of countries with similar beliefs and ideologies, but it does not wage war itself and is quite peaceful. Australia also participates in the United Nations, and has since 1945 - it was a founding member in the development of United Nations after World War II - by contributing to peace-keeping operations and conflict resolution in several struggling or politically turbulent countries, although it does not currently have a representative elected. Another great thing Australia does is give homes to many refugees, without racial segregation or discrimination - it is a very multicultural country.
Australia could further its participation in World Affairs by campaigning to its citizens to vote for an Australian representative to have a place in the 2013/14 United Nations Security Council. The United Nations Security Council strives to improve social, economic and environmental conditions worldwide. Australia last served on the Security Council 25 years ago, and since that time it has improved its peace-keeping skills and overseas assistance techniques. It has also furthered its knowledge of good pacifist tactics, as well as encouraged friendly ties between nations as much as possible. I quote, from Wikipedia - Australia and the United Nations, 'The UN is seen by the Australian Government as a means to influence events which directly affect Australia's interests but over which they have little unilateral control.'
I mentioned earlier that Australia is a very multicultural country. This point is solidified by the presence of people of many, many different cultures at my own high school. My best friend immigrated to Australia in April 2009 from Zürich, Switzerland - I helped teach her English. In 2006 at my primary school, a boy moved here from India, and I also helped teach him English. Getting to know people of so many different cultures and countries at my school (New Zealander, Indian, Swiss, Filipino, English, France, German and South African to name even a few) have definitely given me a strong taste of the different cultures across the world - and I go to an average high school, like any other across the country! Furthermore, my own family immigrated to Australia from Russia in the 1920s, and traditional Russian customs are part of my everyday life - for example, at Christmas-time, we open all the gifts on Christmas Eve as my Grandfather (who is half-Russian) remembers as a tradition from his childhood. Multiculturalism is like a glimmering facet in the gem of Australia's beautifully broad spectrum of positive assets to the current generations' lifestyles and education.
Australia also happily tolerates several religions and spiritualities -Christianity being the main one, as well as several different religions like Sikhism, Muslim, Judaism, Jehovah's Witness, and Buddhism - and that is to name only a little of the whole population of beliefs. My stepmother is an Indonesian-Muslim and my father actually was married in a traditional Islamic ceremony to her.
Another strong stance Australia could take in World Affairs would be willingness to take preventative steps in reaction to shocking happenings across the world - deforestation, global warming, ozone layer eradication, extinction and culling of species, and pollution. But truly, to influence and change the people around you, you must change yourself first, and Australia should be pro-active and enforce tougher laws and restrictions on all the harmful activities - littering, air pollution, waterway pollution, forest-clearing, overfishing and overhunting, and many other terrible activities - we partake in, causing damage to the beautiful environment and once-thriving (now slowly diminishing) eco-system.
Australia could also improve their standing in the world by making a difference in many important social issues, mostly occurring in third world countries. These issues are human trafficking, poverty, AIDs, racism, food shortages, illiteracy, lack of education, communism, misogyny, female genital mutilation, homophobia, religious and cultural bigotry, and ever-present sexist attitudes towards women. Australia could change this by developing strategies to combat these problems. For example, they could build schools in third world countries to increase the literacy and education rate.
Of course, the World Wars in the early 20th Century shaped modern warfare, politics, and socio-economic issues as we know it. The world is rapidly changing in means of technology, and humans have terrifying powerful devices at their fingertips - mainly nuclear weapons. The main controllers/investors in these items are the United States of America, who are leading the way in both potency and quantity, Israel, North Korea, China, the Russian Federation (America and Russia actually fought the Cold War in a fight for nuclear dominance), France, the United Kingdom, India, and Pakistan (sourced from Wikipedia - List of States with Nuclear Weapons). Of these countries (the group is sometimes called The Nuclear Club); five are part of the Nuclear-Weapon States: U.S.A., Russia, France, China and the United Kingdom. These countries have all signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Thankfully, Australia does not possess or manufacture any nuclear weapons. They pose a great risk to civilization and the environment, with any mishaps causing devastating disasters if not handled properly - like the current meltdown in Japan causing from a broken reactor. Less than 70 years ago, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were hit with the devastating effects of the first nuclear weapons in history. This caused hundreds upon thousands of deaths and casualties, with the victims earning their own title: hibakushi. Australia thankfully does not participate in nuclear warfare or power-supplying, and if they did they would be possibly risking the lives of every citizen on the continent.
Of course, it is also true that Australia can be seen as being too active in World Affairs. With several recent natural disasters, it can surely be said that the money it's donating to other countries could be better used for rebuilding damaged infrastructure and lowering taxes. The raising tax rate in Australia is definitely not something good for its citizens, who are already struggling with many high costs if they have been affected even slightly by natural disasters. There is such thing as being generous, but are they too generous for their own good?
Another problem with Australia's participation in World Affairs is the risk of war imposed upon Australia. Say that there was major conflict between North and South Korea, and Australia decided to support South Korea because it is against the way North Koreans are oppressed, Australia would be at risk of warfare from North Korea and its allies, including the world's most populous country, China. That would be an extremely significant threat to all of its citizens.
Therefore, having pointed out both positives and negatives of the topic, it is my opinion that Australia should participate heavily in World Affairs, but not in such a carefree way that it affects Australian citizens negatively. This could be done by donating to other nations and organizations less, therefore lowering the tax rate for Australians. But it is also important to donate to important causes; social, environmental and ones to the benefit of world peace. It could also be done by putting less influence on politics and having more an attitude to help out than swing the situation in a way that could cause trouble - basically, help out with disasters but to remain neutral when it comes to war; the priority should be peace. And one of the most important ideologies to me is to make sure Australia remains a multicultural, non-segregated, non-persecuted, unified nation, which takes no part in nuclear activities. Australia should be a safe haven in a world of tension and turmoil, and hopefully the rest of the world will follow its example.
©Anna Louise Timms