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In a paper in Canberra last Aug. 31, Singapore professor Kishore Mahbubani made a thought-provoking argument: “By the logic of geography, the continent of Australia should have been populated with Asians. Instead, by an accident of history, Australia has been predominantly populated with Westerners.” But “the logic of cultural identity cannot” indefinitely “trump hard geopolitical considerations.”

Australia’s historical and cultural links to Europe and America enhance its value to Asian countries; propinquity to Asia increases its usefulness to Western countries. Multicultural diversity at home underpins the breadth and depth of these relationships abroad. It gives Australia European and Asian language skills, cross-cultural expertise and international family and social connections.

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