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I agree with Roger Pulvers’ (Nov. 18 article, “It’ll take more than few fine or foreign words to make Australia Asian“) that the Australian government’s white paper on engagement with Asia is laudable although lacking in specifics and funding. But calling Australians the little self-aggrandizers of Asia is probably a little harsh.

Australia’s coziness with America is more a reflection of its sense of vulnerability, or inadequacy perhaps. As a republican, I am disappointed that the current Labor government does not pursue the republican cause, but it must be remembered that we would have been a republic if not for Prime Minister John Howard’s maneuvering at the 1999 referendum that saw him divide the republican vote. Also, the government has had its hands full in recent years with trifles such as protecting the country from the global financial crisis, implementing an emissions trading scheme and securing for the populace more spoils of the mining boom.

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