Of course I'm prejudiced, having married an Australian, but how not to like a country, in this age of sniveling grubs worldwide, whose treasurer suggests to any person who ``wants to live under sharia law'' to try Saudi Arabia and Iran, ``but not Australia.'' He was elaborating on an earlier suggestion that ``people who ... don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off.'' Contrast this with Canada, historically and culturally Australia's commonwealth twin, where last year Ontario actually gave serious consideration to allowing its Muslims to live under sharia law.The United States, Canada and Australia are all former British colonies, but while the U.S. and Australia seem to be very much alike, Canada seems more, well, "European." Thus, the U.S. and Aussies seem to have more in common these days. Krauthammer tries to explain why.
I would venture to guess (and I'm really just thinking out loud) that the large, Quebecois--and thus not "Anglo-Saxon"--population has influenced Canada in a different direction. Of course, the existence of the Quebecois reminds us that Canada wasn't always a British colony: it was French first. Thus, Canada has been conquered and the conquerors had to deal with a large European population in their new territory. To a large degree, they did this by leaving them alone. Thus, a distinct culture arose in the middle of a "British" colony. Not only were America and Australia never conquered, there really was no such distinct and large group in either the U.S. or Australia. Being conquered and cobbling together a nation composed of two very distinct groups has probably contributed to the differing attitudes of many Canadians. (All that being said, forgive the sweeping generalizations. Like I said, just thinking out loud).
Why? Because Australia's geographic and historical isolation has bred a wisdom about the structure of peace -- a wisdom that eludes most other countries. Australia has no illusions about the ``international community'' and its feckless institutions. An island of tranquility in a roiling region, Australia understands that peace and prosperity do not come with the air we breathe, but are maintained by power -- once the power of the British Empire, now the power of the United States.
Australia joined the faraway wars of early-20th-century Europe not out of imperial nostalgia, but out of a deep understanding that its fate and the fate of liberty were intimately bound with that of the British Empire as principal underwriter of the international system. Today the underwriter is America, and Australia understands that an American retreat or defeat -- a chastening consummation devoutly, if secretly, wished by many a Western ally -- would be catastrophic for Australia and for the world.