ADELAIDE - Corney Alone raised a number of important and hideously complex issues in yesterday’s article, ‘Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG’.
Australia's policy towards West Papua is not genocidal although, shamefully, Australia - along with Britain, the Netherlands and the USA - capitulated to Indonesia's territorial demands in the 1960s when they should have supported a genuine act of self-determination.
The reason? Indonesia was virulently anti-communist and according to the Cold War calculus of that era thus warranted our uncritical support lest it be driven into the arms of the commies.
Now, so many years after that event, our shameful acquiescence to Indonesian colonialism has placed us in the exquisitely painful position of having to support Indonesian sovereignty while all the while knowing that it is based upon possession by conquest.
Also, Australia has for far too long undoubtedly neglected its Pacific neighbours and tended to regard them with a patronising gaze.
This was a mistake indeed and one that the current government is left scrambling to correct.
The endemic racism that simmers away in the USA has been evident, to all of us who bother to look, for my entire lifetime and beyond.
Quite how this is to be addressed is hard to fathom because, so far at least, the US political system has proved incapable of redesigning itself to finally and irrevocably legislate away the various underhand means by which racism continues to be sustained.
Even assuming Joe Biden makes it to the White House, which today looks highly likely, I see no evidence of any capacity in him or the wider Democratic Party to do anything meaningful.
Of course, if Trump is re-elected it will be business as usual with no prospect of meaningful change.
Contrary to Corney's assertion, Australia has made no miscalculation in recognising the true nature of the Chinese government (as distinct from the Chinese people).
They are showing themselves to be worthy successors to the ancient imperial regimes, each of which demanded unquestioning obedience from their vassal states and rulers.
The Chinese Emperor signed off his letters with the admonition to "fear me and tremblingly obey".
Xi Jinping doesn't do this overtly, but his actions in relation to matters like trade show that this is still the Chinese government's position.
Corney and other Melanesian patriots would do well to read up on the history of China and recalibrate their expectations about how relations with this emerging major power should be managed.