National service produced the manpower our armed services needed to defend the country. Some of its positive aspects have been missed: awareness of individual obligation towards the community, the experience itself and social mixing. A new civic service system could involve some ten per cent of young people, enriching their lives and making a real contribution to the nation.
Australia’s strategies, as reflected in the country’s recent defence White Paper, follow from its place in the network of tensions in Asia.
Both China’s military threat and the global weight of its financial and commercial influence need to be put into perspective. The burgeoning of the Chinese colossus in a world still measured in Western terms has planetary implications. Only a reassessment of the global problems which have been affected by China’s awakening can help avoid intensifying conflicts of interest.