This is the country of Cambodia. It is a small to mid-sized country with a population of just over 15 million people, and is located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. During most of the 20th century, Cambodia was an extremely poor, and relatively weak country in regards to its economy, and military. In fact, in 1998, after 3 consecutives years of economic contraction, the country had a GDP per capita of just $269…making it one of the poorest countries on the planet. You see, Cambodia was a poor and somewhat small country, which gave it no sway on the global stage in regards to trade, politics, military and economics. So that was why, the country decided to try something different. In 1961, the association of southeast asian nations, or simply, ASEAN…was created by Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
Essentially this was a union created to help accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region, while also helping promote regional peace, and to also give these smaller nations a much larger say on the global stage. Now it was also formed out of a fear of growing communist regimes in nearby countries such as China, but i will leave that for another video. In a sense, this new southeast asian union allowed for small and poor countries, to gain political and economic independence from nearby superpowers. And over the next several decades, other southeast asian nations would join such as Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and vietnam.
And all along the way, this new union strengthened the economies of each one of these nations, while also proving to be a somewhat unified political entity, as they showed a unified response to many political threats and wars over the last 60 years. So that is why in 1999, Cambodia decided to join this new political union. And since then, Cambodia has seen its economy move from a level of extreme poverty, to that of a developing nation, albeit still a relatively poor and small nation on its own.
However, the ASEAN union has seen its economic influence grow over the past decade. In fact, this union now has between the 5th and 7th largest amount of economic influence in the entire world…depending on what metric you use. And if that is what a collection of somewhat poor southeast asian nations could do…imagine what would happen if 4 very wealthy nations were to form a new union of their own. A union that would act in a similar way… with unified global plans for their militaries, economies, politics, trade, and even citizenship. Right now we could be seeing the creation of a global force right before our very eyes. In the early 1800’s, New Zealand was a largely unpopulated island with the exception of the Maori Natives. Australia had just a few thousand British settlers…40% of which were prisoners.
And Canada was filled with a few hundred thousand British and French loyalists that simply did not want to live in America after the revolutionary war. But then, these 3 young nations would begin to go through a massive change. Within the following decades, they slowly began to become more populated, wealthy, and would eventually become part of the commonwealth of countries under the british empire. Now, these 3 nations at the time were not viewed as the most valuable possessions of the british empire. India for example, had over 200 million people within its borders, and was one of the largest economies in the world while it was being ruled by the british. This lead to india being named ‘the jewel of the crown’. There were also some other nations that were in a more valuable geographical location for the british.
Egypt, along with parts of China and indonesia, were viewed as more valuable colonies of the british empire at the time due to their proximity to trade routes, and trade partners. But over the next 100 years, the british empire would begin to fall, as virtually every country that was previously under british rule, would soon declare their own independence, and move away from the enforced british culture. Except for a few. You see, even after declaring independence from Britain, many of these nations kept their british traditions, and even made their own political association called the commonwealth of nations.
Is this the next phase after Brexit?