THE Indonesian problem is one out of many that were thrown up by the earthquakes and the eruptions of World War II. Like many others, it fell among a world of nations disorganized and disunited, and therefore unprepared to cope with it along the lines of an agreed and well-tested policy of peace and reconstruction. Its solution was and is primarily the concern of the Netherlands and Indonesia themselves. Unfortunately, both countries, at the end of the war, were weakened and shaken by years of enemy occupation. And as none of the Big Five carried any direct responsibility in this matter, it came to be treated internationally as a problem open to all for debate and interference. So it was exposed to the dislocations that accompanied the winding up of the war and to the growing-pains of the United Nations. But now, at last, the problem seems to have reached a stage where a better understanding of its essentials becomes possible. Agreement on the spot need no longer be retarded by conflicting views and interests among the democratic nations.

It belongs to a group of similar problems in Southeast Asia concerning dependent or semi-dependent areas in transition to nationhood. As a category they have obtained thus far very little special attention and study from the leading victors and the United Nations. They hardly figured in the fateful conferences before and just after the end of the war. If any concerted policy toward them was tentatively outlined at Yalta, Potsdam, London and elsewhere, it did not get beyond the stage of generalities. Even the Politburo seems really to have tackled these problems only something like a year ago. Ever since the final partition of "backward" peoples on this globe among the late imperialist Powers, any collective interest in Asia by those Powers gravitated to Japan, China and the oil-producing deserts of the Middle East. Peaceful and orderly Southeast Asia could be left to the care of the individual western nations concerned, it was thought, and even after the end of the Japanese occupation disclosed the ruinous effects of Japanese co-prosperity, it seems to have been expected of those same nations that each would clear the wreckage within its own sphere of influence.

At first glance there seemed to be sufficient reasons for this attitude. The plight of Europe, the military occupation of the enemy countries, the organization of the United Nations, and the preparation of the peace treaties constituted such a tremendous burden of issues to be solved that it would appear foolish to add to them unnecessarily. The free world had carried on without Southeast Asia ever since the Japanese invasion; the rehabilitation of the area, though important, was not one of the most pressing needs. Presently the widening rift between the Soviet bloc and the western Powers threatened humanity with a new and possibly final catastrophe and absorbed the anxious attention of the west. And, apart from all this, practically every nation had to face internal difficulties of the most serious order as a result of the spiritual and economic ravages of the war.

So the lesson provided by Japan -- that Southeast Asia survives or perishes as a whole -- went unnoticed for the time being. And yet no problem in this region can be properly understood unless it is seen in relationship to the problems of all the tropical islands and peninsulas in the area. In this article I can indicate only briefly a few of the reasons why Southeast Asia can and must be considered as a whole if we wish to determine its significance and shape our policies wisely.


If we look at the map we observe a belt of comparatively small countries -- small according to Asiatic standards -- stretching around the southeastern corner of that vast continent. They are Ceylon, Burma, Siam, Indo-China, Malaya, Indonesia and the Philippines. They have much in common, although there are great differences in geography and population. They are seagirt and easily accessible; they lie athwart one of the greatest and most ancient trade routes; they possess important natural resources. Their inhabitants, however diverse in racial origin, are generally peaceful, adaptable and tolerant. Their civilization has its roots in a long and adventurous history and was fundamentally influenced by China, India and the Arab world long before regular contact with the west was established.

The broken nature of the country kept political organizations limited in size and power, and intensified the popular character of their governmental institutions, even where native princes and rajahs seemed to wield absolute power. They remained outside the vast Asiatic empires of China, Japan, the Moguls, and the successors of Mohammed. Almost every world religion acquired adherents in these countries, but religious strife seems to be alien to the inclinations of the people. They are able and inventive farmers, sailors and fishermen, easily contented by the continuous yield of a bountiful soil and sea and climate, but as yet with a limited talent for trade and industry.

These lands have been more intensely influenced by the west than any other part of Asia. Ever since Sequeira entered the Straits of Malacca, and Magellan reached the Philippines, in the first quarter of the sixteenth century, the fertility of these countries continued to attract the merchant adventurers of many European nations. Colonial empires were founded, and although they sometimes changed hands as a result of distant wars, they welded together extensive territories and developed a modern machinery for government, production and trade, thereby laying the foundations for the new Asiatic states that are now coming into existence. Their nationalism is of recent growth, conditioned by colonial boundaries and modern, democratic education; it superseded the reactionary resistance of the ancient feudal clans by a progressive struggle for nationhood of the younger intelligentsia.

Western influence has made these countries the most prosperous and the best organized of Asia. It has deeply affected their civilization, their internal structure, and, above all, their economy. They produce goods of great value for the world market, both in the west and in Asia. With not many more than 150,000,000 inhabitants, they exported, before the war, nearly twice as much as India and China together, with a population of nearly 900,000,000. When deprived of the rice of Burma, Siam and Indo-China untold numbers in Asia go hungry; without the rubber and tin of Malaya and Indonesia vast American and European industries suffer; without the vegetable fats from Indonesia and the Philippines and the tea from Indonesia and Ceylon the rations of Europe and England remain insufficient. And apart from those critical goods and other valuable products like sugar, tea, tobacco, pepper, cinchona, teak, hemp, sisal and kapok these countries can, if taken together, provide the oil, coal, iron, nickel, bauxite, timber and fibers necessary for their own industrial development.

It is easy to understand why Japan considered the conquest of these countries the essential condition for her fantastic ambitions toward world power. And if Japanese aggression proved anything, it proved that without a sound and efficient organization of their new national governments, these potentially rich and alluring domains will not be able to defend themselves against future conquerors, whether they try to subject them by force of arms or by political and economic infiltration and enslavement.

The dangers of the situation today are obvious. The newly-constituted national governments in Southeast Asia, or those to-be-constituted, must inevitably lack experience, a deficiency that will not be made good by enthusiasm alone. It would be hard enough for them merely to carry on the work done by the colonial administrations, which preceded them; but they will have to act under much graver handicaps than inexperience. Their barely acquired authority will need confirmation. With the exception of Ceylon they are faced by the most baffling internal disorders, caused by the Japanese occupation and rendered much more violent by an indiscriminate dispersion of arms. And if they cannot put an end to lawlessness and restore some measure of order and prosperity, their disintegrating economy will offer a standing invitation to those sinister forces that spread the seed of totalitarian Communism wherever the soil is torn up by corruption and discontent.

It is practically unthinkable that present conditions will allow them enough time to overcome the troubles of these formative years without outside assistance; long before they could hope to emerge from the trough of poverty, dissension and bankruptcy, stronger Powers would have intervened and subjected them to a new and worse domination. So the democratic nations of the west are confronted, on the one hand, with the necessity of national liberty for these countries, and, on the other, with the responsibility of offering organized aid and advice for the restoration of law and order, for economic rehabilitation, and for defense against any form of aggression.

In 1945 the democratic world was not nearly ready for such a rôle. It did not know how to combine responsibility for the internal stability of the former colonial areas with the recognition of their right to self-determination and independence. The years of imperialism, during which the fulfilment of nationalist aspirations was constantly deferred on the ground of immaturity, had left the west with a bad conscience. The western nations hesitated to interfere in order to further the realization of nationalist aims, when they had so often interfered in order to check nationalism. It was equally difficult for the colonial peoples to believe that such assistance would not have as its ultimate objective a renewed supremacy of the west under a different guise. And the propaganda of the Soviets and their agents, posing as the champions of any and every subject race, made many well-meaning people lose sight of the realities of the situation and vie with the Communists in an irresponsible condemnation and rejection of all the achievements of the colonial past.

As a result of this unpreparedness the postwar policy pursued with regard to Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, Indo-China, the Philippines and Indonesia not only varied according to the conditions in each of those countries, but also showed a different approach by the responsible European and American governments. The United States conceded independence to the Philippines on the appointed date of July 4, 1946, under certain military and economic conditions. At the same time it granted the new nation a large sum in compensation for damages suffered during the war, without bothering much about conditions concerning its use. The result of the grant of independence cannot be judged as long as this bounty covers the administrative and economic weaknesses that might otherwise appear. But the recent murder of Mrs. Quezon emphasizes the fact that peace and order do not reign throughout the length and breadth of the land.

The British preferred a rapid withdrawal of their influence in Burma, which obtained her full independence on January 4, 1948. The effects of this abandonment are not impressive. The country seems to have become well-nigh ungovernable, with several tribal and political factions fighting each other and an increasing spread of dacoity and Communism. A policy of liquidation was not applied to Malaya with its extremely mixed population and its vital economic importance for the foreign exchange position of the United Kingdom. In fact Malaya has remained a colony, and the restraint of Malay nationalism may well come to add its quota to the unrest of Chinese and Communist origin which broke out a year ago. In Ceylon the transition to Dominion status went ahead peaceably, but Ceylon suffered no Japanese invasion and had prospered during the war years.

In Indo-China the French ran into an extremely violent rebellion, partly Communist-inspired. The political situation still remains obscure; law and order prevail only within restricted areas. It is possible that the endeavor to maintain Indo-China within the French Empire, even with an ample degree of self-government, tends to delay the solution of the conflict and to hamstring the full coöperation of the moderates.


The approach of the Netherlands to the problem in Indonesia, by far the biggest and the most important of the Southeast Asiatic countries, is different from any of these. In a proclamation of February 10, 1946, the Netherlands Government put formally on record its intention to assist the Indonesians toward nationhood and independence. But at the same time it expressed its conviction that independence and nationhood can be achieved and maintained only with continued Dutch material, spiritual and administrative assistance.

The Dutch had valid reasons to reject a policy of simple abandonment. In the course of three centuries the Netherlands built a modern and prosperous community in Indonesia out of a conglomeration of small tribal units, divided by incessant conflicts and rivalries. Before the war Indonesia's credit was more sound, its administration more free from graft, the mass of its population better dressed and fed and housed, its highways and byways were safer than was the case in any other Asiatic country. The Dutch had invested a considerable capital in government-owned buildings, railroads, communications, forests, mines, plantations, institutes of scientific research and irrigation systems. There was also large private investment in agriculture, mining, industry, shipping, trade and aviation. Of course, all this yielded a fair though moderate income to the Netherlands, but it provided a much more important source of income for Indonesia. It shared in the products and services, and there was a well-developed and efficient system of taxation.

The Netherlands are fully prepared to transfer this inheritance to the Indonesians, but they want to transfer it in workable condition and with some guarantees for its maintenance and further development. This policy is obviously influenced, on the Dutch side, by a certain pride in past achievements, a recognition of the Netherlands' interest in Indonesia, and a deep affection for the country and its inhabitants. But it has its ultimate foundations in a relationship between the Indonesians and the Dutch that has no parallel elsewhere in Asia.

The Indonesians have shown in their history a most valuable adaptability and eagerness to learn, a sound capacity for administration, and great civility and tolerance in their social relations. They have acquired a nationalistic sentiment that can bring and hold together the various ethnological and tribal sections of the country, provided that each distinct part retains a sufficient measure of autonomy within the framework of the proposed United States of Indonesia. Their local government is well-developed and the damage done to it by occupation and unrest can be repaired. But the structure of Indonesia is still very vulnerable, especially in its economic and financial management and in the composition and authority of its newly molded federal government.

The Dutch can strengthen these weaknesses without threatening the young Indonesian nation. Numerous Netherlanders have identified themselves with the country; their descendants, pure and mixed, have made Indonesia their homeland. It may be difficult for an Anglo-Saxon to understand a relationship between a white and a colored people from which racial feeling is so curiously absent and which accepts the children of mixed marriages as the equals, legally and socially, of their parents. But the fact is that even now, after years of Japanese, anti-western propaganda and of revolutionary hysteria, there is no general enmity between Indonesians and Netherlanders. And the necessity of continued coöperation is widely recognized on both sides.

Why, then, did the political conflict in Indonesia drag on for so many years? Why were the Netherlands time and again denounced in the Security Council as imperialist aggressors, and accused of a colonialism that would be foolhardy and incompatible with the spirit of the people, if it had been true? In the first place, the surrender of Japan on August 14, 1945, was effectuated in Indonesia under the most unfortunate and adverse circumstances. The Netherlands had been completely liberated only since the capitulation of Germany in May of that year. As soon as a small part of the Netherlands had been freed from Germany the Government had strained every nerve to recruit and organize an army for war and liberation in the Pacific. Though the Dutch people were worn out by years of German tyranny, their response was excellent. But as long as the war lasted hardly any assistance was obtained from the Allies for training and equipment; the Dutch were even denied the use of their own ships for transportation. Consequently, they were not ready to take over in Indonesia when Japan surrendered, and remained for over a year dependent on Allied -- that is to say, British -- assistance.

On the very day of the Japanese capitulation the major part of Indonesia was transferred from the Southwest Pacific Area, under the command of General MacArthur, to the Southeast Asia Command under Admiral Mountbatten, whose operational theater until then included only the island of Sumatra. The change came very unexpectedly for SEAC; no preparations had been made for the new task. As a consequence the first group of British and Indian troops destined to take the surrender of 155,000 Japanese in Java and Sumatra did not land at Djakarta until September 29. It consisted of less than 1,000 officers and men.

In the meantime, a critical situation had arisen in those islands. On August 17 a group of Indonesians, partly sponsored by the Japanese, partly driven by young revolutionaries, proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia at Djakarta (Batavia). The Japanese Military Government, after a halfhearted countermove, let things slide; certain Japanese actively promoted the movement. An order issued by Lord Louis Mountbatten on September 6 to the Japanese Commander-in-Chief in the southern area, Field Marshal Terauchi, to continue the military administration and to suppress the revolutionary movement was deliberately disobeyed. The Japanese troops began to leave their garrisons for comfortable quarters in the hills, abandoning great stocks of arms to the Indonesians. In some cases the Japanese still maintained law and order locally; here and there they clashed with the Indonesian irregulars, who in this way sometimes obtained additional arms and munitions by force.

This indiscriminate distribution of arms in a community perverted and impoverished by Japanese misrule, wrought up by anti-western propaganda, and convulsed by a revolutionary upheaval, proved the most serious obstacle on the road to political settlement and economic recovery. The Japanese had seriously damaged the nervous system and poisoned the blood circulation of the Indonesian community. They had ruined its economy, wrecked its administration, and debauched its youth by a totalitarian and militaristic system of segregation and drill. And then they crowned their destructive work by a transfer of some 50,000 to 100,000 rifles, thousands of machine guns, and thousands of tons of ammunition and explosives before the victorious Allies were able to take these dangerous weapons into custody.

Those who obtained them were not an Indonesian army of liberation. They consisted of people with extremely varied background and allegiance. Some were genuine nationalists; many belonged to the Japanese-trained auxiliaries. Others were affiliated with political parties, ranging from Communists to orthodox Moslems. A number formed the private bodyguards of individual leaders and political bosses. Quite a few were ordinary robbers and dacoits. And even the so-called regulars grew accustomed to living by their rifles, and generally obeyed only their favorite officers.

The idea of a republic seemed the embodiment of every legitimate nationalistic aspiration and spread like wildfire. The Republic as a reality, however, lacked almost all the fundamental perquisites of a genuine and responsible government. Its authority depended largely on the continuation of lawlessness and passion. Its propaganda had to picture the Netherlands as the enemy, and magnify the bogey of colonialism, in order to maintain some cohesion in the republican ranks. The pemudas, the armed youngsters, terrorized the public life of the community and watched over the "revolutionary spirit" of the authorities. The republican system developed totalitarian traits: an all-pervading system of spying, organized violence against political opponents, centralized direction of propaganda and the press, isolation from the outside world, if not behind an iron curtain, then at least behind a palisade of pointed bamboos.

There was, however, no ruling party; the only bond that held the warring groups together was a continuous agitation against western -- i.e. Dutch -- influence. The more moderate elements, who formed the first republican governments, were hardly able to maintain a semblance of public services and could not make their decisions prevail over the gang leaders. The internal dissensions and the general corruption grew worse as a vast smuggling trade with Singapore developed and was monopolized by certain authorities and by the soldiery. All these groups came to depend for their position on the maintenance of a state of unrest and war. And those who wanted to organize the Republic as a more or less normal administration, and recognized the necessity of coöperation with and assistance from the Netherlands, struggled in vain against the extremists and the profiteers.

This situation was aggravated by the precipitate recognition of the Republic as a quasi-independent government by the commanding officer of the first British contingent landing at Djakarta, who invoked the assistance of the republican authorities and refused to reinstall the legal Netherlands Indies Government. By this action he simultaneously set at naught the military administrative agreement, concluded between the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands on August 24, 1945, and relieved the Japanese of their responsibility for law and order. This officer was motivated by an understandable desire to avoid an armed conflict with the republicans and to avoid the obviously impossible task of maintaining the Japanese in actual power for any length of time. He could plead military necessity; he could even aver that the lives of thousands of Netherlands and Allied internees and prisoners-of-war depended on the establishment of peaceable relations with the Republic, for he lacked the force to protect these prisoners against the savage partisans. Nonetheless, the effect of this recognition was deplorable in many ways.

Whereas the moderate republicans recognized the desirability and even the necessity of the restoration of a legal and effective government, with Netherlands help, before real independence could be achieved, the recognition by the Allied Commander, however provisional, had a sufficiently international tinge to render the more extreme elements in the Republic completely intractable. It encouraged them in their anti-western attitude by creating the impression that they could count on British sympathy. And it convinced their irresponsible leaders that they could not be doing so badly in their newly acquired functions if a mighty empire solicited their aid.


The Netherlands Government was quite prepared to grant self-government and independence to Indonesia. It could even see valid reasons for the acceptance of republican coöperation. But it wanted to go about the grave business of setting up a nation in an orderly and efficient way. It could not hand over its responsibility to an illegally constituted organization that showed hardly any capacity to provide justice and stability for millions of suffering common people, and was at the mercy of lawless mercenaries. The excessive and uncritical recognition of the Republic, by some of the late Allies, as the representative of Indonesia excited a resentment that acquired more justification as increasingly larger parts of the country rejected republican rule. And it was difficult to understand why the legal and effective procedure of restoring the pre-invasion government, before the transfer of authority to an elected national government (as was done in Burma and the Philippines), should be made impossible in Indonesia.

When after endless and patient negotiations the Republic proved unable to implement the Linggadjati Agreement, concluded on March 25, 1947; when it was clear that the republican government could not stop the ceaseless bear-baiting to which Dutch forces had been subjected within their narrow perimeters for 15 exasperating months; when murder and kidnapping of cooperative Indonesians continued and increased, the Dutch resolved to restore law and order by a police action. The moderates had been gradually either eliminated, deprived of effective power, or corrupted. There were too many adventurers and criminals in high places to allow a successful purge of the republican organization from within. The clinical method was no longer possible; a surgical operation was necessary to restore the normal functioning of government. The action was quite successful, but it was stopped halfway by the resolution of the Security Council. The Council may, in its majority, have been convinced that it came to the assistance of the Indonesian nationalists, who were attacked by an imperialist Netherlands Government. In reality, however, it gave renewed countenance to the anti-western, the lawless, and the Communist agitators, who could claim this intervention as their victory over the moderates and over those who sought continued coöperation with the Netherlands.

The outside world went on accepting the Republic at face value, and by doing so supported the extremists against the moderates and against the Dutch. Whatever the Republic did, it could always be sure of acclaim at Lake Success and in the public opinion of great democratic Powers. Its armed forces were looked upon as patriots, fighting for their independence. Its follies and misdeeds were systematically hushed up or ignored, even by the international agencies on the spot. So the republican government could carry on without ever being held responsible for its acts. It could consort with adventurers of every nationality, trade looted property against arms, sell opium for the maintenance of its foreign representatives, and terrorize its opponents without fear of criticism or reprisal. On the other hand, its complaints against the Dutch, which became more violent and absurd as the Government lost its grip on millions of Indonesians, were always painstakingly investigated.

As long as this one-sided attitude was maintained, the interference of the Security Council, however well-intentioned, could contribute little to the mitigation of the dispute. It did not relieve the Dutch from any part of their responsibility. It fostered distrust of Dutch intentions by almost openly doubting the statements of the Netherlands representatives. It inflated the position of the antagonists of coöperation, and branded as traitors and puppets those Indonesians who practised coöperation at the risk of their lives and those of their families. When such Indonesians organized their own governmental representation they were refused a hearing at Lake Success. Certainly, the Netherlands Government sometimes made mistakes; it sometimes showed a lack of perception, and sometimes of decision, when a more imaginative and firm policy might have shortened the conflict. But those mistakes were small and of a passing character compared with the fundamental mistake of the United Nations in condoning the violence, the graft and the dishonesty of the Republic, and condemning the Indonesians who sought the help of the Dutch against such maladministration.

And yet the results of Dutch policy, although continually thwarted, were not negligible. In August 1947, after the first police action, three-fifths of the country was started on the road to recovery under Dutch protection. And it is worth noticing that the elimination of political and criminal violence in this three-fifths, with 45,000,000 inhabitants, was achieved at the cost of less than one-tenth of the military casualties suffered by the French in Indo-China, where there is a population of 25,000,000. The number of civilian victims of the disturbances in Kashmir was many times larger than that in Indonesia. After law and order were restored, elections were organized and Indonesian Governments chosen in most of the area concerned. There never yet has been an election in the Republic. Production and trade revived; by April 1948 the balance of trade of the non-republican part of Indonesia became favorable. Notwithstanding the terrible financial burden of unrest the country remained solvent. And -- most significant of all -- the organized Communist movement remained confined to the Republic, where it had thrived from the beginning and had obtained its reward in the republican agreement concluded with the Soviet Government (in Prague) on May 22, 1948, calling for an exchange of consular representation between the two countries. This was in direct contravention of the Renville principles, and after an exchange of sharp notes with the Netherlands Government, the Government of the Republic promised not to ratify the agreement and to recall the envoy, Suripno, who had made it.

If the democratic Powers had at once recognized the necessity of concerted action in Southeast Asia in order to guarantee the peoples of that region their national freedom, and for that purpose had organized the assistance those peoples needed to stabilize their governments and defend themselves against totalitarian aggression, the Indonesian problem might have been solved much sooner. But what actually happened was for a while a case of too many doctors. Some of them gave excellent advice; others, however, made it almost impossible for the regular family physician to prescribe and to continue the treatment in the best interests of the patient. Others suggested that there was no disease, or failed to prevent the patient from recourse to quacks. And, with few exceptions, there was no frank consultation which might have led to agreement and acceptance of responsibility.

This course of events compelled the Netherlands Government to continue the police action for the restoration of law and order after another year and a half of fruitless negotiation. And so, at last, the reunion of the whole of Indonesia under the rule of law has become possible. And although the first reaction of the Security Council appeared to be hardly less disapproving than that of August 1947, during the succeeding weeks the facts of the case obtained a better recognition. The resolution of January 28, 1949, though strongly criticizing certain aspects of the police action, did not require the withdrawal of troops from the areas where they were restoring law and order. And as the initial confusion cleared, attention was increasingly concentrated on constructive proposals instead of fruitless recrimination.

By the end of February the Netherlands Government announced its intention to convene a round-table conference of all parties, including the republicans, in order to discuss and to implement the transfer of sovereignty to a representative, all-Indonesian government at the earliest possible date. On March 23 the Security Council, at the suggestion of the Canadian and Chinese delegations, issued new instructions to the United Nations Commission for Indonesia in which the reinstallation of the Government of the Republic at Jogjakarta was made dependent on its willingness to discontinue violence and guerrilla warfare and to participate in the round-table conference. The discussions between the Netherlands and the republican delegations then resulted on May 9 in a preliminary agreement, which can and should lead to final peace.

It was proved by this last negotiation, as had been the case once before at the conclusion of the Renville agreement of January 17, 1948, that the republicans are certainly amenable to reason once their responsibility and the consequences of evasion or bad faith are squarely put before them. In the present agreement they have explicitly promised to publish and enforce orders for a cease fire; they have formally acknowledged that the Republic is only one of the component parts, one of the states of the future United States of Indonesia; and they have expressed their readiness to come together, on a footing of equality, with the representatives of the other states, to discuss, with those of the Netherlands, the formation of an Indonesian government, the transfer of sovereignty, and the future relations between the two countries. In return, they will be enabled to reconstitute themselves as a state government in the Jogjakarta area and they will be accorded one-third of the number of representatives in the provisional parliament of Indonesia, which should be ample considering their loss of influence and adherents in the country.

There is still an extensive job of pacification to be achieved, but the pattern of a free United States of Indonesia, closely allied to the Netherlands, is gradually emerging from the tangle of violent designs and ambitious purposes. Much of that pattern was laid down in the negotiations with the Republic which resulted in the Linggadjati Agreement; on the other hand, a major part of the actual reconstruction originated outside the Republic, where the federalists conceived the first practical plan for coöperation at the Malino Conference of July 1946. When peace is made at last by those who want to rebuild their country on the sure foundations of justice and prosperity, the world may yet come to understand that the Dutch policy was not impelled by a senseless imperialism, and that the force applied was a necessary minimum to restore a decent nation to health and understanding. We may yet hope that after all these trials, the United States of Indonesia will be preserved as a bridgehead from which democratic liberty will expand through all the seven nations of Southeast Asia.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now