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Yudhoyono's plan for Indonesia's resurrection JAKARTA - Indonesia is trying to bring back the glory days when it was prominent in Asia. It is doing so by playing a larger role as a negotiator throughout the region, acting as a mediator between the Koreas, and pushing for democracy in Myanmar. At the same time, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is trying to unify the Indonesians by promoting a nationalism that hinges on this role as a leader in Asia.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has offered to act as mediator between North and South Korea, and has stepped in as spokesman for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in its push to soften the Myanmarese government and initiate talks on regime transformation. Yudhoyono's government also is making deals with the Russians to build a space center on the island of Biak, is increasing economic and defense ties with China and is working closer with Australia and the United States. At the same time -- and, to some degree, through these other efforts -- Yudhoyono is attempting to bring some sense of nationalism back to his fractured country.

Yudhoyono, in other words, is trying to return Indonesia to its halcyon days -- prior to the Asian financial crisis and the fall of President Suharto -- when it figured prominently in Asia politically and economically.

The Indonesia of today is a classic failed state that also suffers from a lack of unity among the hundreds of ethnic groups that inhabit its thousands of islands. Traditionally, it had been held together as a unitary state through two means: Founding President Sukarno used nationalism, but it was focused internally. His successor, Suharto, used a heavy-handed approach that included invasive bureaucracy, a far-reaching internal military presence and autocratic economic rule.

Yudhoyono is modifying Sukarno's approach, pushing nationalism but directing it internationally, and promoting Indonesia's indispensability throughout Southeast and East Asia. Meanwhile, he is calling for unity at home, as seen recently in the settlement of the Aceh separatist movement, his agreement to meet with the East Timorese over past issues and his opening to the ethnic (and financially well-off) ethnic Chinese community.

This approach, of course has its drawbacks in that it brings greater international attention to a country that deals with terrorism as a constant threat. Should the government be unable to control its internal disruptions as it tries to forge an image as a peaceful mediator and global player, the international community could turn its back, making it difficult for Indonesia to promote itself as a regional leader.

On the other hand, should Yudhoyono be successful in his bid to return Indonesia to its glory days, the rewards will be great. Internationally it would promote investor confidence and global responsibility that will bring in much-needed foreign investment to Indonesia's weakened economy. Domestically, it will strengthen national pride that will unify a nation working to change its global image.

For now, Yudhoyono is making positive moves that could result in a stronger Indonesia -- though perhaps not as strong as before the crisis. His chances of success depend on his effectiveness in negotiations that are yet to come. For now, the fact that other regional governments are looking to Indonesia for help is a good sign.



Posted in Economy @ 18 February 2006 10:38 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





londoh
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Indonesia never has been prominent in Asia, SBY better tries a national erection by giving Playboy the right to be sold here, keep the children quit for a while.

Grietjes

Lon



sidia
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Never heard about :
Asia Africa Conference , Asian Games , Ganefo , Asean ?



tukad ganga
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Asia Afrcia Conference was held in the sixties in Bandung Hotel Homan for insiders.
And soon the asian gay games.......



andre
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...it brings greater international attention to a country...


Mentioned as a drawback in the article, it's my opinion that this could be a major benefit for the future of Indonesia...

The Indonesian government can't afford screw-ups and/or absurd laws anymore if they take the "high profile course". Surely SBY and his ministers will recognize that they will lose face if they lecture other countries on topics that are crooked in Indonesia.

Besides, maybe they'll learn something about Indonesia's problems by solving problems abroad...



Agung
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I guess he means Indonesia being prominent in SE-Asia, but anyway the idea to put Indonesia firm within the international community is a good idea.

Considering the size and importance of Indonesia it's a roll they should play! Emoticon: Smile

Of course they'll have to behave like a country with a serious international agenda. The any-foreigner laws that flock Indonesia's legal system and the primitive behaviour like burning down embassies are things that will have to go, if they want to play this part in the world.




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