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The relationship between Indonesia and the West has always been deeply ambivalent. On the one hand, Indonesia, since it began its search for modernity a century or so ago, has always felt a deep attraction for things Western, which promised technological mastery and economic success which might overcome the humiliation of colonial subjection. On the other hand, Indonesians were wary that any engagement that ran too deep and uncritically might prejudice their own specific sense of identity. That ambivalence was deepened and consolidated by Indonesia's own failure to develop and deepen the legitimacy, both domestic and international, of the state that its leaders had created as the vehicle of becoming modern. As a result, Indonesia's engagement with the West remained uncertain in style and often characterised by the unhelpful stridency that issues from insecurity.