Indonesia

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Comment, Jan/Feb 2014
Karen Brooks

Indonesia confronts a host of political challenges, and a crucial election in 2014 will determine whether it delivers on its promise or returns to stagnation. Meanwhile, the nearby Philippines, now an outsourcing powerhouse, has been racing ahead under the stewardship of President Benigno Aquino III.

Essay, Nov/Dec 2011
Karen Brooks

As Indonesia hosts a number of high-level summits this year, it looks set to take its place among the world’s economic superstars. But celebrations are premature: although the country has made great strides, its gains are reversible. For the country to continue to prosper, Jakarta must address rampant corruption and poor governance.

Essay, Nov/Dec 2009
Christopher S. Bond and Lewis M. Simons

Will President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia herald a new era in relations between Washington and the countries of Southeast Asia? In 2009, Christopher S. Bond and Lewis M. Simons wrote that the United States should use trade, aid, and education to alleviate poverty and prevent terrorism in the region.

Essay, Sep/Oct 2004
Lex Rieffel

Beyond headlines dominated by terrorist cells and separatist insurgencies, the world's largest majority-Muslim country has undergone a profound transformation in recent years. Reformers have quietly but brilliantly overhauled the country's long-intractable political system. The government that takes office in October will be the people's choice more than ever before-and will have an unprecedented opportunity to set Indonesia on the road to good governance and economic prosperity.

Essay, Jul/Aug 2001
David Rohde

The devolution of power in post-Suharto Indonesia has empowered corrupt local authorities and brought long-simmering religious and ethnic tensions to the fore. The country lacks a credible executive and impartial military to quell the violence. In fact, the authorities may be exacerbating the tensions instead of helping resolve them.

Essay, May/Jun 2000
Donald K. Emmerson

Did East Timor's departure start the dominoes tumbling? Will this vast, multiethnic archipelago fall apart? Not likely. A hard look at Indonesia's main candidates for secession reveals that they have little in common with East Timor and even less with each other. The provinces remain Jakarta's to lose. If the capital plays its cards right, curbs the army's abuses, and accommodates legitimate local goals, the center will indeed hold.

Essay, Jul/Aug 1997
Adam Schwarz

Into his fourth decade in power, President Suharto has guided an impoverished, strife-ridden nation to rising prosperity and outward stability, at the cost of abridged political and civil liberties, gutted democratic institutions, and flourishing corruption. Now economic disparities, ethnic and religious differences, and the frustrated aspirations of a new generation are triggering outbreaks of violence across the islands, and what passes for politics in Indonesia is unable to cope. The unsettled succession to Suharto, 76, is, frankly, scary.

Essay, Jan/Feb 1996
Robert Chase, Emily Hill, Paul Kennedy

The United States is spreading its aid and efforts too thin in the developing world. It should focus on a small number of "pivotal states": countries whose fate determines the survival and success of the surrounding region and ultimately the stability of the international system. The list should include Mexico, Brazil, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia. A discriminating strategy for shoring up the developing world is a wise way to address traditional security threats and new transnational issues; it might be thought of as the new, improved domino theory. If effective, it could forestall the move in Congress to wipe out nearly all foreign aid.

Essay, Winter 1987
Donald K. Emmerson

Reviews events in Indonesia since independence in 1945, noting the political cohesion of the archipelago and the economic down-turn, which led to devaluation and foreign debt. Despite this, the ruling GOLKAR won 73% of the vote in 1987, partly because of the authoritarian nature of the regime and partly because there was no satisfactory alternative. The test for GOLKAR will come when President Suharto leaves office. "The country's size and resources will in the long run guarantee greater awareness" of it among Americans.

Essay, Fall 1978
Seth Lipsky and Raphael Pura

Shortly before President Suharto was sworn in last March for a third five-year term as President of Indonesia, he delivered a major state of the nation speech to the People's Consultative Assembly. The trials of his second term, Suharto said, "have made us more mature and more realistic. These experiences have done away with wishful thinking, especially the illusion that development is not a struggle . . . . We grow more conscious that in implementing development we are sometimes confronted with alternatives - which road should we take so we reach our goal safely. At times this choice isn't between the good and the bad, but only which is less bad than others."

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