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Indonesia - GOVERNMENT

Indonesia - Government and Politics


AFTER 1965 AND THE DESTRUCTION of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI; for this and other acronyms, see table A), the military dominated Indonesian politics. By exploiting existing constitutional structures and mobilizing civilian political support through a quasipolitical party of functional groups (Golkar), Indonesia's leaders concentrated power and authority in a small military and bureaucratic elite. At the elite's head was President Suharto, a former army general who was instrumental in the forcible termination of the Guided Democracy of his predecessor, Sukarno. To emphasize the discontinuity with the failed and discredited policies of the Sukarno era--what the new regime called the Old Order--Suharto's government called itself the New Order. The policy priority of the New Order was economic development based on security, stability, and consensus. Although only a handful of top leaders in the 1980s and early 1990s participated in the New Order decision-making process, pressure for greater access by nonofficially recognized interests and even opposition parties defined the contemporary political debate. The New Order appeared in the early 1990s to have the broad support of a majority of Indonesians. Its legitimacy rested not only on real economic development but also in appeals to traditional values including, but not limited to, the Javanese values with which Suharto himself was imbued.

In 1992 Indonesia was a unitary state with a highly centralized governmental administration. This centralization was seen by Indonesia's leaders as necessary in a fragmented geographical and highly plural ethnic setting with a history of regional and ethnic rebellion. Problems of integration remained in East Timor (Timor Timur Province), Irian Jaya Province, and to a lesser extent the Special Region of Aceh. After independence was declared in 1945, ideological consensus had been sought through the vigorous propagation of a national ideology called the Pancasila: belief in one Supreme God, humanitarianism, nationalism, democracy, and social justice. The government claimed the exclusive right to give content to these broad general principles, and by law all organizations were required to have the Pancasila as a common organizing principle, a single national commitment that took precedence over their individual programs.

The post-1965 political party system was simplified with the institution of Golongan Karya, or Golkar, the de facto government party organized around functional groups in society. Golkar vied in quinquennial elections with the United Development Party (PPP) and the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), themselves coalitions of formerly competitive parties. Because of a built-in advantage of massive government support and highly restrictive campaign rules, Golkar had emerged victorious in all national elections since 1971. The two constitutional legislative bodies, dominated by Golkar and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia (ABRI), were often little more than rubber stamps for government policy in a strong presidential system. The latitude of action the government enjoyed also was enhanced by a judicial system in which the rule of law often seemed bent to the will of the government. Moreover, the media in the early 1990s were enmeshed in a web of formal and informal controls that made them relatively ineffective as a check on government.

By 1992 Suharto had been inaugurated five times as president, and a central political question since his fourth term had been that of succession. The succession issue could be resolved only with interplay among the leading political forces and institutions: ABRI, the bureaucracy, Islam, business groups, and the presidency--but, as of late 1992, a sixth term for Suharto seemed likely to many observers who instead watched more avidly the selection of a vice president. With the exception of the presidency, none of these groups or institutions was monolithic. They all had factions, dividing not only on issues of interest but also on religion, race, and ethnicity. Issues of interest included economic equity, corruption, the role of ABRI in society, environmental concerns, and democratization.

Foreign policy was not a significant issue in domestic politics. Although there was bureaucratic infighting in the New Order era over foreign policy on a range of issues--including normalization of relations with China, policy toward Vietnam's incursion into Cambodia, and handling of the East Timor problem-- the president's word was final. In a break with Sukarno's confrontational foreign policy, Suharto's government restored Indonesia's international image as a peaceful and cooperative member of the international community. A founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia was an important actor in ASEAN's diplomacy ending the Third Indochina War (1978-91). In the 1980s, Indonesia began to project a more assertive presence in the international arena corresponding to its huge population, natural resources, economic success, and growing nationalism. This was capped by Suharto's succession in 1992 to the chairmanship of the Nonaligned Movement. Indonesia's international image continued to suffer, however, from international criticism of its human rights record, particularly its suppression of an independence movement in East Timor.





Since independence was declared in 1945, Indonesia has been a magnet for students of comparative politics as well as foreign diplomats and policy makers. Fascination with Indonesia stemmed in part from its population size (estimated to reach more than 210 million population by the year 2000), its strategic location, its economic potential, its great cultural and ethnic diversity, and its fragmented archipelagic shape confounding centralized administration. Equally compelling was Indonesia's tumultuous political history, from Indianization and Islamization to Dutch colonialism and the violence of the decolonization process.

Contemporary Indonesian political history can be segmented into three periods, each defined by a central issue. First, during the 1950s, there was the question of the political integrity of the state itself, beset as it was by religious, regionalist, and ethnic revolts and rebellions. Second, and of great concern to United States policy makers, there was the drift that became a rush to the left and the PKI during the period of Sukarno's Guided Democracy (1959-65). Finally, since 1966, there was the continuing authoritarianism of Suharto's army-dominated New Order. A critical concern of many foreign policy observers on the international scene was Indonesia's failure or unwillingness to embrace liberal democracy either structurally or procedurally. This concern has led to sometimes heated debates among policy analysts about the nature of the Indonesian state and political system.

Some observers condemned the Indonesian government for its authoritarianism, corruption, human- and civil-rights violations, and ethnic suppression. Such criticisms were frequently leveled by Western academics, human rights advocates, and journalists. To the contrary, other observers argued that: the Suharto government enjoyed the support of a majority of Indonesians; that as the New Order had become institutionalized, its roles and structures would survive Suharto's presidency; and that there was no real alternative leadership. In the view of these observers, the apparent inconsistency between the image of a repressive regime and its success in gaining popular acceptance was explained by the simple fact that the Suharto government delivered on its economic promises. Some observers argued that real economic growth and its "trickle down" impact in improving the standard of living of many Indonesians offset grievances about a closed political system. As a result, these analysts described the New Order's economic success as a direct challenge to conventional Western developmentalist theory that economic growth could only occur simultaneously with democratization. In fact, in Indonesia's case, economic development and widespread increases in the nation's standard of living consolidated the support of a government that was viewed as fundamentally undemocratic. At the same time, most observers agreed that the complexity, the number, and the interdependence of various social, cultural, economic, and political factors are so great that no single answer suffices.

Given the background of Suharto's ascent to power and the ultimate coercive authority of ABRI behind the New Order, many observers attributed the government's ability to sustain popular support to the role of the military in Indonesia. In fact, the dominance of the military in Indonesian politics was apparent early in postindependence Indonesia. By 1958 army chief of staff General Abdul Haris Nasution had enunciated a policy that he called the "middle way." According to this strategy, military officers participated in the affairs of government. By 1965 this policy had expanded into the notion of dwifungsi, or dual function, according to which the military had two roles: a traditional defense and security role and a new social and national development role. Despite misgivings from some civilian quarters, dwifungsi became law in 1982, constitutionally legitimizing what had been military ideology.

Thus, because Indonesia in the early 1990s was and had been since 1966 a military-dominated system, many observers considered discussion of the military's role integral to the debate on Indonesia's government and politics. Furthermore, these analysts called for a more sophisticated level of discussion than one based on concepts such as military dictatorship or military oligarchy. At one time, the "bureaucratic polity" model was popular among scholars as a way of describing the role of Indonesia's armed forces. "Bureaucratic polity" defines a system in which a limited group of senior bureaucrats, technocrats, and military officers participate in authoritative decision making. The policy outcome tends to reflect the interests and values of this relatively closed elite group. According to this view, competition for real political power in Jakarta was restricted to the top bureaucratic and military echelons. The value of the "bureaucratic polity" model lessened, however, as nonbureaucratic classes, structures, and decision centers emerged in the developmental process and began articulating autonomous interests. The "political economy" model came to seem more relevant to discussions of the Indonesian political system because it relied on crucial linkages among the state, economy, and society. This emphasis reflected more accurately, in the view of many observers, the congruence of economic interests between Indonesia's ruling and entrepreneurial elites, in both equity sharing and corruption. In addition, an in-depth understanding of the Indonesian political system during the early 1990s required the understanding of the ethnic dimension, that is the role of Chinese Indonesians in the political economy.

The authoritarian aspects of the Indonesian state provoked the most nuanced debate among scholars, who used numerous models to explain its political system. Some Western scholars termed Indonesia's political system "soft authoritarianism" to distinguish it from overtly repressive regimes. Soft authoritarianism implied the existence of an institution-building ruling elite that, although limiting choices that might challenge its control over the nation's social, political, and economic resources, was still committed to bettering the life of its citizens. Only the most adamant critics have argued that the Suharto government ruled by fear and terror. What was it, then, these scholars asked, that has allowed a military countercoup to evolve into institutionalized "soft authoritarianism"? One explanation framed Indonesian authoritarianism in terms of "corporatism," that is, the funneling of political forces and interests into government-sponsored and -controlled organizations. Under this theory, Golkar, the government's political base that attracts mass support, was seen as an example of "corporatist" politics. Similarly, the All Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI) in 1992 was a government-controlled umbrella under which the trade union movement became centralized. Even the media had a responsibility to promote national goals.

Another scholarly approach cast contemporary Indonesian "authoritarianism" into a historical mold, fitting it squarely into the indigenous pattern of patrimonial politics: Suharto as a Javanese king. Proponents of this approach speculated that these patrimonial tendencies grew stronger in the colonial period and were replicated in the modern state. Whatever the approach used to describe and analyze Indonesian government and politics, in the 1990s it required an understanding of the legal basis and institutional structures of the system.




The legal basis of the Indonesian state is the 1945 constitution, promulgated the day after the August 17, 1945, proclamation of independence. The constitution was essentially a draft instrument hurriedly crafted by the Independence Preparatory Committee in the last weeks before the Japanese surrender. According to George McTurnan Kahin, whose 1952 book Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia was the pioneering study of modern Indonesian politics, the constitution was considered "definitely provisional." Provisional or not, the constitution provided structural continuity in a period of political discontinuity. Beginning with the preamble, which invokes the principles of the Pancasila, the thirty-seven articles of the constitution--ambiguous though they are--set forth the boundaries of both Sukarno's Old Order and Suharto's New Order.

The 1945 constitution was the product of a unitary republic struggling to emerge in the face of Dutch efforts to reestablish sovereignty and Islamic appeals for a religion-centered state. The constitution was not fully implemented when the transfer of sovereignty from the Netherlands went into effect on December 27, 1949. The 1949 agreement called for the establishment of the federal Republic of the United States of Indonesia (RUSI). Subsequently, a provisional constitution adopted in February 1950 provided for the election of a Constituent Assembly to write a permanent constitution. A rising tide of more radical nationalism, driven partly by perceptions that the RUSI was a Dutch scheme to divide and conquer, rapidly moved controlling political elites in the direction of a unitary republic. A Committee for the Preparation of the Constitution of the Unitary State was established on May 19, 1950, and on August 14 a new constitution (technically an amendment to the RUSI constitution) was ratified, to be in force until an elected Constituent Assembly completed its work. The new, interim constitution provided for a cabinet system of government with the cabinet and prime minister being responsible to a unicameral legislature. The president was to be head of state but without real executive power except as a cabinet formateur.

As the political parties wrestled ineffectually in the parliamentary forum, dissident ethnic politicians and army officers joined in resisting central authority and even engaged in armed rebellions, such as those occurring in 1950, 1956, and 1958-59. Sukarno assumed an extraconstitutional position from which he wielded paramount authority in imposing his concept of Guided Democracy in 1959. This move was backed by the senior military leaders whose revolutionary experiences had already made them suspicious, even contemptuous, of civilian politicians, and who were now dismayed by the disintegrative forces at work in the nation. The military moved to the political forefront, where they remained in 1992.

Sukarno sought to legitimize his authority by returning to the 1945 constitution. He would have preferred to accomplish this goal constitutionally by having the 402-member Constituent Assembly formally adopt the 1945 constitution. However, the Constituent Assembly, elected in 1955 and divided along secular and religious lines, could not muster the required two-thirds majority necessary to approve new constitutional provisions. According to political scientist Daniel S. Lev, the body deadlocked on two fundamental issues: the role of Islam in the state and the question of federalism. Furthermore, division on these issues meant that ideological consensus among the anticommunist parties could not be translated into effective political cooperation. As long as the Constituent Assembly failed to agree on a new constitutional form, the interim constitution with its weak presidency continued in force. Backed by ABRI and a large part of the public, which was impatient with the political impasse and failure to implement the promises of independence, Sukarno decreed on July 5, 1959, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and the return to the 1945 constitution. Martial law had already been proclaimed on March 14, 1957, and Sukarno claimed that under martial law his legal authority stemmed from his position as supreme commander of ABRI.

As a provisional legal framework for a modern state, the 1945 constitution has proved to be extremely elastic, subject to broad interpretation depending upon the constellation of political forces in control at any given time. Other than outlining the major state structures, the document contains few specifics about relations between the citizen and the government, and leaves open basic questions about rights and responsibilities of citizen and state. For example, Article 29 states that "Freedom of assembly and the right to form unions, freedom of speech and of the press, and similar freedoms shall be provided by law." Subsequent laws enacted, however, did not fully carry out the fundamental rights of the individual citizen stipulated by the constitution. On the other hand, the document is an expression of revolutionary expectations about social and economic justice. Article 33 states that the economy shall be organized cooperatively, that important branches of production affecting the lives of most people shall be controlled by the state, and that the state shall control natural resources for exploitation for the general welfare of the people.

The political struggle from 1945 to 1959 over the constitutional framework of the state stemmed not from the ambiguities of the 1945 document or its heavy weighing of executive power, but over deep disagreements about the nature of the state itself, particularly the issue of federalism and the role of Islam. Once the common battle against Dutch imperialism had been won, the passionate differences dividing various nationalist groups about the future of Indonesia surfaced. The possibility of a federation of loosely knit regions was denied by the use of force--first in the crushing of the Republic of South Maluku (RMS) in 1950 and then the Revolutionary Government of the Indonesian Republic (PRRI)--Universal Struggle Charter (Permesta) regional rebellions of 1957 to 1962. Although in subsequent decades the government was almost always sensitive to the issue of separatism, the existence of a unitary republic, expressed through a primary "Indonesian" national identity, seemed secure. However, the difficulty of integrating an Islamic political identity with the Indonesian Pancasila identity remained in force in the early 1990s.




According to the constitution, there are six organs of state. Sovereignty in Indonesia is vested in the people, who exercise their will through the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR). Full executive authority is vested in the president, who is elected by and responsible to the MPR. Legislative power is shared with the House of People's Representatives (DPR). The president is advised by the Supreme Advisory Council, whereas the State Audit Board exercises financial oversight. At the apex of the judicial system is the Supreme Court.

Legislative Bodies

People's Consultative Assembly (MPR)

The highest constitutional body is the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), which meets every five years in the year following the elections to the parliament--the House of People's Representatives (DPR). The MPR has 1,000 seats, 500 of which are assigned to the members of the DPR. Of the other 500 seats, 100 are reserved for representatives of professional groups, including ABRI, appointed by the president and, as of 1992, 147 seats were held by delegates elected by provincial-level legislative assemblies. The balance of seats--253 in 1992--were assigned after the 1987 DPR elections on a proportional basis to representatives of the political parties, depending on their respective membership in the DPR. Golkar took the largest number of these seats based on its 1987 winning of 299 of the 400 elected DPR seats. This election resulted in a total of 540 Golkar seats in the MPR, an absolute majority even without counting the ABRI faction and the provincial-level representatives. The Muslim-based PPP only had sixty-one DPR seats and ninety-three MPR seats, whereas the PDI, with its forty DPR seats, was at the bottom of the MPR list.

The principal legislative task of the MPR is to approve the Broad Outlines of State Policy, a document that theoretically establishes policy guidelines for the next five years. The draft is prepared by a government task force and is expected to be approved by consensus. In 1988, however, the PPP forced a recorded vote on two amendments to the Broad Outlines of State Policy, which, although the government won overwhelmingly, was taken by some observers as an indication that automatic adherence to the requirement for consensus was no longer a given in Indonesian politics. The first issue advanced by the PPP had to do with the legal status of Javanese mysticism (aliran kepercayaan) as a recognized religion. Aliran kepercayaan is the formal expression of kebatinan or religiously syncretic Javanism, a set of religious practices that the PPP rejected as heterodoxy. The second amendment had to do with a commitment to cleaner and fairer elections. This issue reflected the PPP's experiences in the 1987 general election. In 1992, in response to the perception that the MPR was no longer satisfied with a rubber-stamp role, Suharto declared that the 1993 MPR would have greater input into the initial stages of drafting the Broad Outlines of State Policy.

House of People's Representatives (DPR)

Legislative authority is constitutionally vested in the House of People's Representatives (often shortened to House of Representatives or DPR). This 500-member body meets annually, opening on August 16, the eve of National Day when the president delivers his National Day speech. Four hundred of the DPR seats are electorally contested by the three political parties (Golkar, PPP, and PDI) in provincial constituencies, which in the 1987 general election were based on a population ratio of approximately 1 representative per 400,000 people. Each administrative territorial district (kabupaten) is guaranteed at least one representative no matter what its population. A further 100 seats are allocated to military representatives who are appointed on the recommendation of ABRI. The justification for the ABRI faction is that since members of the armed forces cannot take part in elections, their political rights as a sociopolitical and defense force were served through guaranteed DPR seats. Faced with civilian resentment about the privileged position of ABRI in the parliamentary bodies, Suharto warned that denying the military legitimate input into the legislative process could lead to a coup. However, in his 1992 National Day speech, Suharto conceded that the number of guaranteed ABRI seats could be adjusted.

The DPR is led by a speaker elected from the membership. From 1988 to 1992, this position was filled by Lieutenant General (retired) Kharis Suhud, who in the previous session was leader of the ABRI faction. Work is organized through eleven permanent committees, each with a specific functional area of governmental affairs. The legislative process begins with the submission by the government of a bill to the DPR. Although members can initiate a bill, it must be accompanied by an explanatory memorandum signed by at least thirty legislators. Before a bill is approved, it must have four readings unless excepted by the DPR Steering Committee. The first reading is its introduction in an open plenary session. This reading is followed by a general debate in open plenary session with the government's right of reply. The bill is then discussed in committee with the government or initiating members. The final discussion of the draft legislation takes place in open plenary session, after which the DPR makes its decision. The deliberations of the DPR are designed to produce consensus. It is the political preference of the leadership to avoid overt expressions of less than complete support. This position is justified by the claim of a cultural predisposition to avoid, if possible, votes in which majority-minority opposing positions are recorded. If votes are necessary, however, a quorum requires a two-thirds majority. On issues of nomination and appointment voting is by secret ballot but on all other matters by show of hands.

With the built-in Golkar-ABRI faction absolute majority, the DPR has routinely approved government legislation. During Suharto's fifth term (1988-93), however, with the appearance of many younger DPR members, there was a new willingness to use the forum for fuller and more forthright discussions of public issues and policies, even by Golkar members. This openness paralleled a similar trend toward greater openness in nonlegislative elite circles that seemingly had received government encouragement. Part of the discussion inside and outside of the DPR had to do with increasing the role and institutional capability of the parliament in order to enhance political participation.

The Executive

The President

Indonesia's government is a strong presidential system. The president is elected for a five-year term by a majority vote of the MPR, and he may be reelected when his term expires. The only constitutional qualification for office is that the president be a native-born Indonesian citizen. In carrying out his duties, the president is the Mandatory of the MPR, responsible to the MPR for the execution of state policy. In addition to his executive authority, the president is vested with legislative power, acting in concurrence with the DPR. The president also serves as the supreme commander of ABRI. He is aided in his executive role by a presidentially appointed cabinet.

Between 1945 and 1992, Indonesia had two presidents: Sukarno from 1945 to 1967, and Suharto from 1967. Suharto became president in a process that, while ostensibly claiming to be constitutional, had as its main instrument ABRI's coercive force. The drama of Indonesia's first presidential succession was angrily played out against the dangers and murders of the months following the abortive 1965 coup d'�tat as the military and their civilian allies rooted out the PKI and began the dismantling of Sukarno's Guided Democracy. On March 11, 1966, under great pressure, Sukarno signed an order popularly known as Supersemar (Executive Order of March 11, 1966), that de facto transferred presidential authority, although not the office, to then General Suharto. A year later, on March 12, 1967, a special session of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly (MPR(S)) unanimously lifted its mandate from Sukarno and named Suharto acting president. At its March 1968 regular session, the MPR confirmed Suharto as its Mandatory, electing him Indonesia's second president. He was unanimously reelected in 1973, 1978, 1983, and 1988. Toward the end of Suharto's fourth term of office, the question of possible term limitation was raised and became an issue in the political dialogue of the fifth term. Although he remained uncommitted about accepting a sixth term (1993-98). Suharto responded directly to the issue, repeatedly stating that the right to determine who would be president resided in the MPR.

The term limitation question was embedded in the larger question of presidential succession in the event that Suharto chose to step down or declined to accept reelection. The term limitation question also had the effect of refocusing attention on the vice presidential office. Constitutionally, the president is to be assisted in his duties by a vice president, who succeeds in the event of the president's death, removal, or inability to exercise official duties. Although not constitutionally prescribed, it has been accepted that the president would present his own nominee for vice president to be elected by the MPR. Although only vaguely defined, the office diminished in importance since it was first held by revolutionary hero and federalist Mohammad Hatta from 1945 to 1956. Hatta's status was parallel to that of Sukarno, representing the concept of a duumvirate of authority (dwitunggal). After Hatta's resignation in 1956, the office remained vacant until 1973 when it was filled by Hamengkubuwono IX, the Sultan of Yogyakarta. The sultan's arrival in office symbolically expanded the militarybacked power base of the New Order, conferring on it the nonmilitary legitimacy of the traditional Javanese political culture. Hamengkubuwono's decision not to seek reelection in 1978 was interpreted partly as disenchantment with the military, which was unwilling to share authority with civilians. Adam Malik, a former minister of foreign affairs, was the last civilian vice president (1978-83). He was replaced in 1983 by low-profile General Umar Wirahadikusumah. In 1988 Golkar chairman Lieutenant General (retired) Sudharmono was elected vice president in an MPR session roiled by behind-the-scenes military politics of presidential succession. In the prelude to the 1993 MPR session, expectations about a sixth term for Suharto fueled new speculation about the vice-presidential selection. By early 1992, the PDI had preemptively announced its support for ABRI commander General Try Sutrisno.

Succession politics intervened in the 1988 elections when it appeared that in selecting a vice president the president might be signalling a successor, especially because he had hinted that he might step down before the fifth term ended in 1993. Important elements in ABRI's leadership were dissatisfied with the possibility that Sudharmono, an army lawyer and career bureaucrat, might be tapped, and the ABRI faction in the MPR refused to join Golkar and the regional delegates in nominating him. Furthermore, PPP leader Jailani (Johnny) Naro declared his own candidacy. The president was forced to make explicit his support for Sudharmono and his intention to serve out his term. Faced with this direct challenge by the president, Naro backed away from forcing a vote and Sudharmono became vice president by acclamation. The political drama of the 1988 vice presidential election foreshadowed the role succession politics would play throughout Suharto's fifth term.

The Cabinet

The president is assisted by state ministers appointed by him. In 1988 Suharto named his Fifth Development Cabinet, paralleling Repelita V (the fifth five-year development plan, fiscal year 1989-93. Twenty-one departments were headed by ministers in 1992. These departments were grouped under three coordinating ministers: politics and security; economics, finance, industry, and development supervision; and public welfare. There were eight ministers of state and six junior ministers. In addition to the cabinet members, three high-ranking state officials were accorded ministerial rank: the commander in chief of ABRI (in the Fifth Development Cabinet, General Try Sutrisno); the attorney general; and the governor of Bank Indonesia, the central bank. Of the thirty-eight members of the Fifth Development Cabinet, ten held the same positions in the Fourth Development Cabinet, nine continued in the cabinet but with different posts, and nineteen were new ministers--a balance of continuity and renewal.

Specialized agencies and boards at the central government level are numerous and diverse. They include the National Development Board (Bappenas), the National Family Planning Coordinating Agency (BKKBN), the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), and the Agency for Regional Development (BAPEDA). At lower levels there are regional planing agencies, investment boards, and development banks under the aegis of the central government.

The Supreme Advisory Council and the State Audit Board

Two other constitutionally mandated quasi-independent bodies exist to support the executive and the government. The Supreme Advisory Council is mandated by Article 16 of the constitution. A forty-five-member group nominated by the DPR and appointed by the president, the council responds to any presidential question regarding affairs of state. It is organized into four permanent committees: political; economic, financial, and industrial; people's welfare; and defense and security. The council was chaired from 1988 to 1992 by General Mardean Panggabean, a former ABRI commander. The State Audit Board is specified in Article 23 of the constitution to conduct official examinations of the government's finances. It reports to the DPR, which approves the government's budget requests. The chairman of the State Audit Board during the Fifth Development Cabinet was General Muhammad Jusuf, another former ABRI commander.

The Judiciary

The Indonesian legal system is extraordinarily complex, the independent state having inherited three sources of law: customary or adat law, traditionally the basis for resolving interpersonal disputes in the traditional village environment; Islamic law (sharia, or, in Indonesian, syariah), often applied to disputes between Muslims; and Dutch colonial law. Adat courts were abolished in 1951, although customary means of dispute resolution were still used in villages in 1992. The return to the 1945 constitution in 1959 meant that Dutch laws remained in force except as subsequently altered or found to be inconsistent with the constitution. An improved criminal code enacted in 1981 expanded the legal rights of criminal defendants. The government in 1992 was still reviewing its legacy of Dutch civil and commercial laws in an effort to codify them in Indonesian terms. The types of national law recognized in MPR(S) Decree XX, (July 5, 1966), include, in addition to the constitution, MPR decrees, statutes passed by the DPR and ratified by the president, government regulations promulgated by the president to implement a statute, presidential decisions to implement the constitution or government regulations, and other implementing regulations such as ministerial regulations and instructions. Obviously, the executive enjoys enormous discretion in determining what is law.

With respect to the administration of justice, Article 24 of the constitution states that judicial power shall be vested in a Supreme Court and subordinate courts established by law, and that the organization and competence of courts shall be established by law. In Sukarno's Guided Democracy, the justice system became a tool of the revolution, and any pretense of an independent judiciary was abandoned. One of the goals of the New Order was to restore the rule of law. A major step in that direction was the enactment of the Basic Law on the Judiciary Number 14 of 1970, which defined an independent status for the Supreme Court and emphasized noninterference in judicial matters by persons outside the judiciary. Theoretically, the Supreme Court stands coequal with the executive and legislative branches. The president, vice president, and justices of the Supreme Court are nominated by the DPR and appointed by the president. The Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction in disputes between courts of the different court systems and between courts located in different regions. It can annul decisions of high courts on points of law, not fact. On request it can give advisory opinions to the government and guidance to lower courts. It is not part of a system of checks and balances, however, since it does not have the power of judicial review of the constitutionality of laws passed by the DPR. Its jurisdiction is limited to whether or not implementing administrative regulations conforms to the laws as passed. Moreover, the Supreme Court has no control over the integrity of the lower courts, which are under the supervision of the Department of Justice.

Below the Supreme Court four different court systems can be distinguished. First, there are courts of general civil and criminal jurisdiction. District courts are the courts of first instance. The high courts are appellate courts. The administration of these courts is under the minister of justice, who controls judicial appointments, promotion, transfer, and pay. Despite protestations of independence, the lower courts had, as of the early 1990s, shown themselves reluctant to challenge the government, particularly in cases with political overtones. In the view of some observers, these courts routinely allowed egregious breaches of fundamental civil rights. There were also regular allegations of corruption in the lower court system in both civil and criminal cases.

Second, there are religious courts, under the Department of Religious Affairs, which exist to resolve specific kinds of disputes between Muslims in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and gifts. These courts base their decision on Islamic law. To be legally enforceable, however, the religious court's decisions must be approved by a corresponding secular district court. The Directorate of Religious Justice within the Department of Religious Affairs has ultimate appellate jurisdiction. One of the persistent tensions between Islam and the state arises from Muslim efforts to expand the jurisdiction and autonomy of the sharia courts.

Third, in 1992 there was a Taxation Review Board that adjudicated taxation disputes. Other administrative courts had been eliminated as part of government's effort to simplify and standardize the court system.

Fourth, there are the military courts, which have jurisdiction over members of ABRI or persons declared to be of a similar status. After the 1965 coup attempt, special military courts were given authority to try military personnel and civilians alleged to be involved in the abortive coup. Hundreds of sentences ranging from twenty years' imprisonment to death were meted out by the special military courts, with executions continuing more than two decades after the event.

Local Government

Government administration is processed through descending levels of administrative subunits. Indonesia is made up of twenty-seven provincial-level units. In 1992 there actually were only twenty-four provinces (propinsi), two special regions (daerah istimewa)--Aceh and Yogyakarta--and a special capital city region (daerah khusus ibukota)--Jakarta. The provinces in turn were subdivided into districts (kabupaten), and below that into subdistricts (kecamatan). There were forty municipalities or city governments (kotamadya) that were at the same administrative level as a kabupaten. At the lowest tier of the administrative hierarchy was the village (desa). According to 1991 statistics, Indonesia had 241 districts, 3,625 subdistricts, 56 cities, and 66,979 villages.

Since independence the nation has been centrally governed from Jakarta in a system in which the lines of authority, budget, and personnel appointment run outward and downward. Regional and local governments enjoy little autonomy. Their role is largely administrative: implementing policies, rules, and regulations. Regional officialdom is an extension of the Jakarta bureaucracy. The political goal is to maintain the command framework of the unitary state, even at the cost of developmental efficiency. Governments below the national level, therefore, serve essentially as subordinate administrative units through which the functional activities of Jakarta-based departments and agencies reach out into the country.

In the early 1990s, there was neither real power sharing nor upward political communication through representative feedback. Real feedback occurred through bureaucratic channels or informal lines of communication. Elected people's regional representative councils (DPRD) at the provincial and district levels had been restored in 1966, after operating as appointive bodies during the period of Guided Democracy. However, the DPRDs' participation in the early 1990s governing was extremely circumscribed because the councils lacked control over the use of resources and official appointments. Even though 1974 legislation gave provincial DPRDs some voice in selecting their governors--DPRDs could recommend appointments from a list of potential candidates submitted by the minister of home affairs--provincial governors were still appointed by the president. District heads were designated by the Department of Home Affairs.

The structure of provincial-level and local government in Indonesia is best understood in terms of the overriding goals of national political integration and political stability. At the governmental level, integration means control by the central government, a policy that was in part conditioned by historical experience. At independence Indonesia consisted of the shortlived federal RUSI (1949-50). The RUSI was viewed as a Dutch plot to deny authority over the entire country to the triumphant Indonesian nationalists. Regional rebellions in the late 1950s confirmed the national government's view that Indonesia's cultural and ethnic diversity required tight central government control to maintain the integrity of the state. Political stability was equated with centralization and instability with decentralization. Civil control was maintained through a hierarchy of the army's territorial commands, each level of which parallelled a political subdivision--from the highest regional command levels down to noncommissioned officers stationed in the desa for "village guidance." Lateral coordination of civilian administration, police, justice, and military affairs was provided at each provincial, district, and subdistrict level by a Regional Security Council (Muspida). The local Muspida was chaired by the regional army commander and did not include the speaker of the local DPRD.

Added to the political requirement for centralization in the early 1990s was the economic reality of the unequal endowment of natural resources in the archipelago and the mismatch of population density to resources. The least populated parts of the country were the richest in primary resources. A basic task of the national government was to ensure that the wealth produced by resource exploitation be fairly shared by all Indonesians. This goal meant that, in addition to Jakarta's political control of the national administrative system, the central government also exercised control over local revenues and finances. Thus, the absence of an independent funding base limited autonomy for provincial and local governments.

About 80 percent of total public expenditure in the provinces was disbursed from the national budget controlled by departments and agencies headquartered in Jakarta. Of the 20 percent administered by the provinces, about half came from Inpres (Presidential Instruction) grants for infrastructure and other developmental purposes. Beginning in 1969, the Inpres grant programs at provincial, district, and village levels channeled about 20 percent of the development budget to small-scale projects for local development, with an emphasis on roads, irrigation, schools, and public health. Only about 10 percent of regional government revenue was derived from local taxes and fees.

Whereas once the central government's transfer of wealth from resource-rich provinces to people-rich provinces had been a source of political irritation for the better-endowed regions, by Repelita V (FY 1989-93), the lag in development investment beyond the Java-Sumatra western core was the most troubling. Suharto's 1992 New Year's message to the nation explicitly addressed this problem: "We are also aware," he said, "of the fact that there is a wide gap in the progress achieved by each region in our country, especially between the western and eastern part of the country." In looking to future policy, he added that there would be stepped-up efforts to provide autonomy and decentralization. Such steps, however, would require strengthening the capacity of subnational units financially and administratively, as well as strengthening local participation in the setting of national goals and policies. To some government leaders in the early 1990s, making concessions to economic and cultural claims for autonomy would endanger national unity. Conflicting interests of politics and administration presented special problems in the Special Region of Aceh and Irian Jaya and Timor Timur provinces.


Aceh is the westernmost part of Sumatra and the part of Indonesia where the Islamic character of the population is the most pronounced. The Acehnese demand for autonomy, expressed in support for the 1950s Darul Islam rebellion, was partially met by the central government's acceptance of a "special region" status for the province in 1959, allowing a higher-than-usual official Indonesian respect for Islamic law and custom. This special region status, together with growing prosperity, brought Aceh into the Indonesian mainstream. This change was reflected in the growing support among Acehnese for the central government, as indicated by votes for Golkar in national elections. In 1971, Golkar won 49 percent of the region's vote; in 1977, 41 percent; and in 1982, 37 percent. By 1987, however, with 51.8 percent of the vote, Golkar obtained its first majority, increasing it in 1992 to 57 percent. Nevertheless, during the early 1990s, the idea of an independent Islamic state was kept alive by the Free Aceh (Aceh Merdeka) movement, known to the central government as the Aceh Security Disturbance Movement (GPK). Thought to have been crushed in the mid-1970s, the guerrilla campaign of the insurgents, under the leadership of European-based Hasan di Tiro and with Libyan support, renewed its hit-and-run warfare in the late 1980s, hoping to build on economic and social grievances as well as on Islamism. ABRI reacted with crushing force and, as it sought to root out the separatists, civil-military relations were imperiled. But moderately pro-Golkar 1992 election results suggested there was no widespread alienation in Aceh.

Irian Jaya

Irian Jaya, the former Dutch New Guinea or West New Guinea, remained under Dutch control after Indonesian independence in 1949. A combination of Indonesian political and military pressure and international efforts led to an October 1962 Dutch transfer of sovereignty to the United Nations (UN) Temporary Executive Authority, which was supported by a military observer force that oversaw the cease-fire. In May 1963, full administrative control was handed over to Indonesia. After a 1969 Act of Free Choice, the territory, which the Indonesians called Irian Barat (West Irian) until 1972, was integrated into the republic as Indonesia's twenty-sixth province. Rich in natural resources, Irian Jaya (Victorious Irian)--as the province was renamed in 1972--in 1992 was the largest and least-populated province. Indonesia's efforts to exploit the resources and assimilate the indigenous Papuan and Melanesian populations into the national administration and culture met sporadic armed resistance from the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and aroused international concerns.

Although the OPM became a marginal domestic actor, more visible as an international symbol, the fact of its existence justified an intimidating Indonesian military presence in the province, where suspicions about Irianese loyalties led to abuses in the civil-military relationship. Cultural differences between Indonesians and the indigenous population and complaints about the Javanization of Irian Jaya exacerbated tensions. The cultural conflict was aggravated by indigenous people's perceptions that they were being left behind economically by a flood of Indonesian immigrants coming in via the central government sponsored transmigration program. Native-born Irianese also resented the so-called spontaneous immigrants who dominated the informal sectors of urban economies. International critics of Indonesian policy in Irian Jaya accused the central government of waging a kind of demographic genocide.

East Timor

East Timor, the former Portuguese Timor, was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia in 1976 as Timor Timur Province, although Portugal never recognized what it saw as the forcible annexation of its former territory. This incorporation followed Indonesian armed intervention in December 1975 in a reaction to a chaotic decolonization process and the declaration of the Democratic Republic of East Timor in November 1975 that had led to civil war. From Jakarta's point of view, this state of affairs held out the alarming prospect of a communist or radical socialist regime emerging under the leadership of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin). Moreover, Fretilin's rhetorical invocation of kinship with other Third World communist revolutionary movements raised the specter of a national security threat. Jakarta formalized its takeover of East Timor in July 1976 after the Indonesia-sponsored People's Representative Council requested that East Timor be integrated into Indonesia as a province. The human cost of the civil war--Indonesian military actions and the famine that followed--was heavy. Estimates of Timorese deaths because of the conflict between 1975 and 1979 range from 100,000 to 250,000. The ability of Fretilin to mount a low-intensity resistance, the draconian countermeasures adopted by Indonesian military forces against suspected Fretilin sympathizers, and charges of Indonesian aggression against East Timor combined to make the problem of the status of East Timor a continuing foreign policy problem for Indonesia in the early 1990s. For many individuals and nongovernmental organizations, as well as for some foreign governments, Indonesian policy in East Timor became the touchstone for negative attitudes toward the Suharto government. Internally, however, Indonesia considered East Timor an integral part of the unitary state, a status that, despite foreign criticism, was non-negotiable.

On paper, East Timor in 1992 conformed administratively to the general Indonesian pattern. In fact, however, de facto military rule existed. For ten years, Jakarta-appointed governor Mario Carrascal�o, a Timorese committed to integration, sought to moderate interethnic conflict and resolve intra-Timorese divisions among indigenous political parties. Carrascal�o called upon the Timorese people to understand that there were only three political groupings in Indonesia: Golkar, PPP, and PDI. Although the central government invested heavily in Timor's development with more Inpres funds per capita than any other province, resentment of Indonesian rule persisted and was growing in the early 1990s. The problem of integration in Timor was similar to that of Irian Jaya: the imposition of Indonesian political culture on a resistant population. Although Indonesian officials insisted that opposition to Jakarta's rule was confined to Fretilin hardliners, other forces were at work in ways that aggravated a sensitive political environment. The Roman Catholic Church staunchly defended the Christian identity of the Timorese in the face of an influx of Indonesians from other provinces. The church worried about the government's condoning, to the point of encouraging, Islamic proselytization, and about its own freedom of action in a national political system disciplined to Pancasila democracy. Pope John Paul II's four-hour stopover in Dili, the capital of East Timor, on October 12, 1989, called international attention to the church's extraordinary position in the province. The disruption of traditional and Portuguese institutions, as well as forced resettlement of segments of the population, led to land disputes, official corruption, and economic exploitation by non-Timorese Indonesians attracted to the province. These grievances were exacerbated by a heavy-handed military presence not always respectful of Timorese rights. One consequence of Indonesian rule was the spread of literacy and skills acquisition by a younger generation of Timorese who were faced with growing unemployment but who also were politically conscious. It was the emerging militancy of the East Timorese youth, rather than the scattered Fretilin elements, that seemed to pose the greatest challenge to security and stability in the province in the early 1990s.

Indonesian officials who were aware that on a per capita basis East Timor had received a disproportionate share of developmental funds interpreted Timorese resentments as ingratitude. Nevertheless, the combination of military pressure and economic and social development programs had progressed to the point that on January 1, 1989, East Timor was proclaimed an open province to which travel and tourism were permitted on the same basis as elsewhere in Indonesia. Some tensions followed a minor demonstration during the pope's visit, but a reshuffling of the lines of military command and a more determined effort by the new military leadership in the province to improve civil-military relations were expected to ease tensions even further. These hopes were dashed on November 12, 1991, when troops fired on youthful marchers in a funeral procession that had become a proFretilin political demonstration in Dili. At least 50 and perhaps more than 100 people were killed.

The National Investigation Commission appointed by Suharto found the army guilty of "excessive force" and poor discipline in crowd control. The senior officer in East Timor, Brigadier General Rafael S. Warouw, was replaced, as was his superior in Bali; three officers were dismissed from the army, and at least eight officers and soldiers were court-martialed. However, the punishments were relatively light when contrasted with the harsh sentences meted out to Timorese arrested as instigators of the incident. Nevertheless, the president's acceptance of a report that directly contradicted the army's contention that the shootings had been in self-defense and his willingness to take action against military personnel were pragmatic decisions that took the risk of offending ABRI members who preferred solidarity. The central government's main concern seemed to be to contain the international criticism of what some foreign observers called the Dili Massacre.

The November 12 affair confirmed that there were still strong social and political problems in East Timor. It also raised questions as to the relative efficacy of the differing military approaches. Some officers felt that the relative tolerance shown by the military to the restless youth since 1989 was too permissive and encouraged opposition. The Dili affair also pointed out the strong emotions on the military side, which led to the unauthorized presence of members of the local military garrison who were widely accused of misbehavior. The investigation commission mentioned this in its official report, stating "another group of unorganized security personnel, acting outside any control or command, also fired shots and committed beatings, causing more casualties." Carrascal�o called the replaced Warouw the "best military commander East Timor has ever had." Tragic as it was, the November 12 incident prompted both military and civilian government agencies to conduct a broad review of development and security policies in East Timor including the question of civil-military relations. In fact, Carrascal�o's successor, Abilio Soares, was also a civilian as had been widely expected.




Because of the general acceptance by the people, Indonesia's New Order government usually gains at least passive approval of its actions and style by what the ruling elite has characterized as the "floating masses." This approval in the early 1990s was based in part on an acknowledgment of the material benefits that flowed from real economic growth. The approval was also partly based on the fact that the government's acts and style fit into shared cultural patterns of values and expectations about leadership. In a country as ethnically diverse as Indonesia--from Melanesian tribe members of Irian Jaya to Jakarta's Chinese Indonesian millionaires--and with its population differentially incorporated into the modern political economy, it was difficult to identify a political culture shared in common by all Indonesians. Nevertheless, there were major cultural forces at work in Indonesia that did affect the political judgments of large groups of Indonesians.

Traditional Political Culture

In the late twentieth century, there were as many traditional political cultures in Indonesia as there were ethnic groups. Nevertheless, the similarity to the Javanese kingship model of Suharto's increasingly paternalistic rule reflects the Javanese cultural underpinnings of the New Order. Although Indonesia was a cultural mosaic, the Javanese, with more than 45 percent of the total population in the 1990s, were by far the largest single ethnic group. Moreover, they filled--to a degree beyond their population ratio--the most important roles in government and ABRI. The officer corps in particular was Javanized, partly as a result of Java's central role in the development of modern Indonesia (Indonesia's five leading institutions of higher education were located on Java, for example), but also because ABRI seemed to regard the great predominance of Javanese in the officer ranks as a matter of policy. The Javanese cultural predispositions influenced, therefore, the way the government appealed to the population and interactions within the New Order elite.

On Java power historically has been deployed through a patrimonial bureaucratic state in which proximity to the ruler was the key to command and rewards. This power can be described in terms of a patron-client relation in which the patron is the bapak (father or elder). The terms of deference and obedience to the ruler are conceived in the Javanese gustikawula (lord-subject) formulation, which describes man's relationship to God as well as the subject's relationship to his ruler. The reciprocal trait for obedience is benevolence. In other words, benefits flow from the center to the obedient. By extension government's developmental activities are a boon to the faithful. Bureaucratically Javanese culture is suffused with an attitude of obedience--respect for seniors, conformity to hierarchical authority, and avoidance of confrontation-- characteristics of the preindependence priyayi class whose roots go back to the traditional Javanese courts.

Javanism also has a mystical, magical dimension in its religiously syncretic belief system, which integrated pre-Indian, Indian, and Islamic beliefs. Its practices include animistic survivals, which invest sacred heirlooms (pusaka) with animating spirits, and rites of passage whose antecedents are pre-Islamic. Javanism also encompasses the introspective ascetic practices of kebatinan (mysticism as related to one's inner self), which seek to connect the microcosms of the self to the macrocosms of the universe. This adaptive belief system defines Suharto's underlying spiritual orientation. Furthermore, the politics of Javanism have been defensive, seeking to preserve its particular heterogenous practices from demands for Islamic orthodoxy. Rather than Islamic political parties, the Javanese have often turned to more secular parties: Sukarno's Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI), the PKI, and Golkar.

Islamic Political Culture

Of Indonesia's population, 87.1 percent identified themselves as Muslim in 1980. This number was down from 95 percent in 1955. The figures for 1985 and 1990 were not released by the government's Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), suggesting a further decline that would fuel the fires of Muslim indignation over Christianization and secularization under the New Order. Nevertheless, Indonesia was still the largest Muslim nation in the world in the early 1990s, united with the universal Islamic community (ummah) not only in the profession of faith but also in adherence to Islamic law. The appeal of Islam was not weakened when it was supplanted by modern secular nationalism as the basis for the independent Indonesian state. In fact, given the prominence of Islamic proselytization and reinvigoration, the people's desire to maintain Islamic institutions and moral values arguably was at an all-time high in Indonesia. There was, however, a separation between Islam as a cultural value system and Islam as a political movement.

Islam in Indonesia is not monolithic. The majority of Indonesia's nominal or statistical Muslims, abangan, are, to varying degrees of self-awareness, believers in kebatinan. Orthodox Islam is, in fact, a minority religion, and the term often used to describe the orthodox believer is santri. A rough measurement of the appeal of orthodox Islam is the size of the electorate supporting explicitly Muslim political parties, which in the general elections of 1977 and 1982 approached 30 percent. In a pluralistic setting, such numbers might be expected to represent political strength. This correlation would exist in Indonesia if Indonesian Islam spoke with a single, unified voice. In the early 1990s it did not. The santri consisted of both traditionalists and modernists, traditionalists seeking to defend a conservatively devout way of life, protecting orthodoxy as much as possible from the demands of the modern state, and modernists striving to adapt Indonesian Islam to the requirements of the modern world.

The principal organization reflecting the traditionalist outlook was Nahdatul Ulama (literally, "revival of the religious teachers," but commonly referred to as the Muslim Scholars' League) founded in 1926. Nahdatul Ulama had its roots in the traditional rural Islamic schools (pesantren) of Central and East Java. Claiming more than 30 million members, in 1992 Nahdatul Ulama was the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia. Although its rural teachers and adherents reflected its traditional orientation, it was led into the 1990s by Abdurrahman Wahid, grandson of Nahdatul Ulama's founder, a "democrat" with a non-exclusive vision of Islam and the state. Modernist, or reformist, Islam in Indonesia was best exemplified by the Muhammadiyah (followers of Muhammad), founded in 1912 when the spirit of the Muslim reform movement begun in Egypt in the early 1900s reached Southeast Asia. In addition to modernizing Islam, the reformists sought to purify (critics argue Arabize) Indonesian Islam.

Both santri streams found formal political expression in the postindependence multiparty system. The Consultative Council of Indonesian Muslims (Masyumi) was the main political vehicle for the modernists. However, its activities were inhibited by the PRRI-Permesta regional rebellions between 1957 and 1962 and the party was banned in 1959. Nahdatul Ulama competed in the politics of the 1950s, and seeking to capitalize on Masyumi's banning, collaborated with Sukarno in the hope of winning patronage and followers. Nahdatul Ulama also hoped to stop the seemingly inexorable advance of the secular left under the leadership of the PKI. Although organized Islamic political parties in the New Order were prohibited from advancing an explicitly Islamic message, traditional systems of communication within the community of believers, including instruction in Islamic schools and mosque sermons, passed judgments on politics and politicians.

Modern Political Culture

The major components of Indonesia's modern political culture were derived from two central goals of the New Order government: stability and development. If authority in the Suharto era was based on ABRI's coercive support, the government's legitimacy rested on its success in achieving sociopolitical stability and economic development. Indonesian political culture in the early 1990s primarily reflected nontraditional, nonethnic, and secular values. Urban centered, truly national in its scope, and more materialistically focused, Indonesia's politics in the 1990s were influenced by both domestic and international developments.

Like Islam, Indonesia's modern political culture was not monolithic. In the early 1990s, there was a variety of subcultures: bureaucratic, military, intellectual, commercial, literary, and artistic, each with its own criteria for judging politics, but all directed to the successful operation of the modern political system. Perhaps the two most important modern subcultures were the military and the intellectuals. It was the military subculture that set the tone for the first two decades of the Suharto government, both in terms of its ethos and in the direct participation of military officers at all levels of government and administration. Although increasingly professional in a technical sense, ABRI never lost its conception of itself as the embodiment of the national spirit, standing above the social, ethnic, and religious divisions of the country as a unifying institution. Even though factions existed within ABRI, it exemplified dwifungsi, the special link between soldier and state. ABRI was not above politics, but it was not part of the open political competition. The concerns of academics, writers, and other intellectuals in the early 1990s were different and they were more likely to be influenced by Western political values. It was from these circles that the pressure for democratization came. Their outlet was not political parties but cause-oriented nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), workshops, seminars, rallies, and, occasionally, demonstrations. The government undertook a major effort to subsume all of Indonesia's political cultures, with their different and often incompatible criteria for legitimacy, into a national political culture, an Indonesian culture based on the values set forth in the Pancasila.

<>Political Parties
The Multiparty System
<>United Development Party (PPP)
<>Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI)
<>Political Dynamics
<>Nongovernment Organizations (NGOs)


Indonesia - Pancasila


In its preamble, the 1945 constitution sets forth the Pancasila as the embodiment of basic principles of an independent Indonesian state. These five principles were announced by Sukarno in a speech known as "The Birth of the Pancasila," which he gave to the Independence Preparatory Committee on June 1, 1945. In brief, and in the order given in the constitution, the Pancasila principles are: belief in one supreme God; humanitarianism; nationalism expressed in the unity of Indonesia; consultative democracy; and social justice. Sukarno's statement of the Pancasila, while simple in form, resulted from a complex and sophisticated appreciation of the ideological needs of the new nation. In contrast to Muslim nationalists who insisted on an Islamic identity for the new state, the framers of the Pancasila insisted on a culturally neutral identity, compatible with democratic or Marxist ideologies, and overarching the vast cultural differences of the heterogeneous population. Like the national language-- Bahasa Indonesia --which Sukarno also promoted, the Pancasila did not come from any particular ethnic group and was intended to define the basic values for an "Indonesian" political culture.

While the Pancasila has its modern aspect, Sukarno presented it in terms of a traditional Indonesian society in which the nation parallels an idealized village in which society is egalitarian, the economy is organized on the basis of mutual self-help (gotong royong), and decision making is by consensus (musyawarah-mufakat). In Sukarno's version of the Pancasila, political and social dissidence constituted deviant behavior. Suharto modified this view, to the extent that one of the criticisms of his version of the Pancasila was that he tried to Javanize it by asserting that the fundamental building block of the Pancasila was the ilmu kasunyatan (highest wisdom) that comes from the practices of kebatinan.

One reason why both Sukarno and Suharto were successful in using the Pancasila to support their authority, despite their very different policy orientations, was the generalized nature of the principles of the Pancasila. The Pancasila was less successful as a unifying concept when leadership tried to give it policy content. For example, in 1959 Sukarno proclaimed a new unity in an important slogan called Nasakom--a state trinity of nationalism, communism, and religion--as the revolutionary basis for a "just and prosperous society." To oppose the PKI, under this model, was to be anti-Pancasila. However, the principal opponent to this kind of ideological correctness was ABRI, creating political problems for Sukarno within the military. Suharto, on the other hand, gained the support of the military because he did not require ideological conformity. ABRI, while not necessarily actively promoting the Pancasila, shared rather than contended for power. Suharto noted this cooperation in his National Day address of August 16, 1984, when he said that ABRI, with its dual function, was "a force which preserves and continuously refreshes Pancasila democracy."

Unlike Sukarno, whose use of ideological appeals often seemed to be a cynical and manipulative substitute for substantive achievements, even at times an excuse for policy failure, the Suharto government sought to engage in policies and practices that contributed to stability and development. The 1973 reorganization of political parties--from the nine (plus Golkar) that contested the 1971 elections to two (plus Golkar)--was justified as a step in the direction of Pancasila democracy. Beginning in 1978, a national indoctrination program was undertaken to inculcate Pancasila values in all citizens, especially school children and civil servants. From an abstract statement of national goals, the Pancasila was now used as an instrument of social and political control. To oppose the government was to oppose the Pancasila. To oppose the Pancasila was to oppose the foundation of the state. The effort to force conformity to the government's interpretation of Pancasila ideological correctness was not without controversy. Two issues in particular persistently tested the limits of the government's tolerance of alternative or even competitive systems of political thought. The first issue was the position of religion, especially Islam; the second issue was the role of legal opposition in Pancasila democracy.

From the very outset of independence, Islam and the Indonesian state had a tense political relationship. The Pancasila's promotion of monotheism is a religiously neutral and tolerant statement that equates Islam with the other religious systems: Christianity, Buddhism, and Hindu-Balinese beliefs. However, the Muslim political forces had felt betrayed since signing the 1949 Jakarta Charter, under which they accepted a pluralist republic in return for agreement that the state would be based upon belief in one God with Muslims obligated to follow the sharia. The government's failure to follow through constitutionally and legally on this commitment set the agenda for future Islamic politics. At the extreme was the Darul Islam rebellion of the 1950s, that sought to establish a Muslim theocracy.

The New Order's emphasis on the Pancasila was viewed by orthodox Muslim groups as an effort to subordinate Islam to a secular state ideology, even a "civil religion" manipulated by a regime inherently biased against the full expression of Muslim life. Indeed, in 1985 the government capped its effort to domesticate all elements in society to the Pancasila with legislation requiring all voluntary organizations to adopt the Pancasila as their sole ideological principle, and providing for government supervision, intervention, and, if necessary, dissolution of organizations to guarantee compliance. Proclaimed as a "perfection" of Pancasila democracy, the Mass Organizations Law's intent went to the heart of religiously based groups. This decision was forced on the Muslim-oriented PPP at its 1984 national congress, which was stage-managed by the government. For some Muslims it was the last straw. The government's assurance that Muslims were not threatened by the law seemed hollow because the new law restricted the practices of Islam to family, mosque, and prayer, rather than allowing Islam to enfold the fullness of human activity, including politics. An environment was exacerbated in which more radical Muslims, incited by fiery clerics, prepared for direct opposition, including political violence. The government's stern reaction to dissidence--swift arrest, trial for subversion, and long prison terms--soon inhibited any open public interest in confrontation.

On the other hand, by the 1980s, within the legal and politically acceptable boundaries of Muslim involvement, the state had become a major promoter of Islamic institutions. The government even subsidized numerous Muslim community activities. Within the overall value structure of the Pancasila, Islamic moral teaching and personal codes of conduct balanced the materialism inherent in secular economic development. Suharto himself went to great lengths to demonstrate that he was a good Muslim, including making the hajj to Mecca in May 1991. In August 1991, he pledged Rp3 billion to a new Islamic bank (Bank Muamalat Indonesia) and declared he would encourage other wealthy Muslims to contribute. By wooing Islamic leaders and teachers, the state won broad support for its developmental policies. There is no question but that Islam was a state-favored religion in Indonesia, but it was not a state religion. Nor, if the New Order prevails over the long term, will it be. That reality defined the most critical political issue for many orthodox Muslims. Moreover, the question remained how opposition--religious or secular--could legally be expressed in the workings of Pancasila democracy.


Indonesia - Political Parties


The Multiparty System

ABRI viewed the pre-1967 multiparty system as unsatisfactory. The army had been an ally of Sukarno in the emasculation of competitive party politics under Guided Democracy. In a regime in which consensus and mobilization of human and material resources for development had the highest priority, partisan politics was viewed as divisive and wasteful. Yet the parties, with the notable exception of Masyumi and the PKI, had made the transition from the Old Order to the New Order and expected to play an expanded role. The Muslim political parties, in particular, felt they should be rewarded for enthusiastic participation in crushing the PKI and alleged communist sympathizers in 1965. The civilians who had thronged to alliance with ABRI under the banners of various anti-Sukarno action groups also felt they had earned an autonomous stake in building Indonesia's future. The problem for ABRI was how to subordinate the political party system to the needs of unity, stability, and development (and implicit ABRI control). The answer was to establish a political structure that would be fully responsive to the interests and agenda of ABRI and the government. It needed to be a structure that would compete in elections with the regular political parties but, as an expression of Pancasila democracy, it would not be a political party in the usual sense of aggregating and articulating interests from below.

Political party competition in Pancasila democracy in late twentieth-century Indonesia was conceived of in terms of advancing the best programs and leaders to achieve the national goals. Opposition politics based on ideological competition or appeal to partisan interests growing out of social, ethnic, or economic cleavages had no place and, in fact, was defined as subversive. In Suharto's words, the adoption of the Pancasila by the parties "will facilitate the prevention of conflict among various political groups which in their efforts to attain their respective goals may cause clashes detrimental to national unity and integrity." In 1973, in order to guarantee that disruptive competition would not occur, the political party system was restructured and simplified by government fiat, forcing the nine existing traditional parties to regroup into two electoral coalitions. The four Muslim parties, despite their historical, ideological, sectarian, and leadership differences, were joined together in the United Development Party (PPP), and the Christian and secular parties were uneasily united in the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI). The desired result was to further weaken the existing political parties. The Political Parties Bill of 1975 completed the process of reconciling the parties to the requirements of Pancasila democracy.

The PPP, PDI, and the non-party Golkar became the "three pillars" of Pancasila democracy, the only legal participants in the electoral process. Other kinds of political activity were proclaimed illegal. The parties were placed under the supervision of the Department of Home Affairs, and the president was given the power to suspend their activity. Most importantly, the 1975 law institutionalized the concept of the rural population as a "floating mass," prohibiting the parties from organizing and mobilizing at the rice-roots level between election campaigns. This gave Golkar a great advantage, because government officials from the center to the village were members of Golkar. The net effect of political party legislation was to "depoliticize" the political parties of the 1945-65 period.

From the government's point of view, political parties were not considered vital elements in a continuous critical political process but structures that would function episodically every five years in "Festivals of Democracy" designed to promote the government's legitimacy. Golkar's crushing victory in the 1971 elections put an end to any expectation that meaningful multiparty politics could be resurrected in Indonesia. By maintaining a highly disciplined party system, the government provided a limited sense of public access and participation in a political system that was, at its core, military in inspiration. More narrowly, the party system allowed for the cooptation of the civilian leaderships of the old political parties into the New Order plan in a nonthreatening way. Although the politicians may have chafed under the restrictions, they at least were part of the process. Also, the continued existence of the political parties and elections contributed to the regime's international reputation, particular after the harrowing trauma of its violent birth. Finally, parties performed a useful "feedback" function. This role was particularly true with respect to the Islamic parties grouped in PPP, who gave voice to issues close to Islamic values. For example, the 1973 Marriage Bill as originally drafted would have legalized all civil marriages. However, due to Islamic concerns the law was eventually amended to legitimate marriages made according to the laws of respective religions. Still, the government did not always heed the alarm raised by Islamic outrage. Football pools (known as porkas from the English "forecast") were introduced in December 1985 to support national sports programs; the porkas were denounced by Muslims as a violation of the Islamic law against gambling. The opponents of porkas added a social dimension to the criticism by pointing out that the players were those Indonesians who could least afford to gamble. Unmoved by the opposition, the government allowed the lottery to continue as of 1992.


Indonesia - Golkar


The government's chosen instrument for political action was Golangan Karya (Golkar), the ABRI-managed organization of "functional groups." Golkar had its roots late in Sukarno's Guided Democracy within the left-dominated National Front as an army-sponsored functional grouping of nearly 100 anticommunist organizations. These groups had a diverse membership, from trade unionists and civil servants to students and women. As a political force to balance the weight of the PKI and Sukarno's PNI, this Golkar prototype--the Joint Secretariat of Functional Groups--was ineffective, but it provided a framework for the military to mobilize civilian support. After 1966 it was reorganized by Suharto's supporters, under General Ali Murtopo, head of ABRI's Special Operations Service (Opsus), as an ostensibly nonpartisan civilian constituency for the New Order's authority. Golkar's mission was "to engage in politics to suppress politics." Its core membership was the Indonesian civil service and government officials at all levels of society, including the villages, and employees of state enterprises were expected to be loyal to Golkar. Behind the patronage and the semimonopoly on communications and funding that facilitated Golkar's electoral superiority, was the unspoken but occasionally overt power of ABRI.

Suharto was directly involved in Golkar's organization and policies from the beginning of the New Order. The organization's top advisory leadership was composed of senior ABRI officers, cabinet ministers, and leading technocrats. Day-to-day operations were under the direction of the chairman of the Central Executive Board. Under the chairmanship of Sudharmono from 1983 to 1988, Golkar increasingly became Suharto's personal constituency as opposed to an ABRI-New Order regime-oriented grouping. Sudharmono attempted to make Golkar a more effective political instrument by transforming it from a "functional group" basis to individual cadre membership. It was expected that the cadres, augmenting the official outreach, would help in the rice-roots mobilization of the "floating masses" at election times. As a mass-mobilizing, cadre party loyal to Suharto, there was some speculation that Golkar was emerging as an autonomous political force in society, no longer fully responsive to ABRI. Credence was given to this speculation by Suharto himself, when he admonished Golkar in 1989 to adopt a central position rather than "sit on the sidelines." Further evidence of the change in Golkar was seen in the emergence of a second-level younger civilian leadership as represented by its secretary general, Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, brother of Minister of Foreign Affairs Mochtar Kusumaatmadja.

Concerns about Golkar's direction probably contributed to ABRI's initial dissatisfaction with Suharto's selection of Sudharmono to be vice president in 1988. The possibility that as vice president Sudharmono might seek concurrently to keep his Golkar position came to the fore at Golkar's October 1988 Fourth National Congress. At the congress, ABRI pushed countermeasures including installing military men in Golkar's regional leadership, and Suharto avoided confrontation by replacing Sudharmono with Wahono, the relatively obscure former governor of Jawa Timur Province. Wahono was a man personally loyal to Suharto and without succession aspirations. Nevertheless, Golkar's commanding position in the "open" political process left unanswered the question of its potential to become a rival to ABRI or an alternative political base for future aspirants to power.


Indonesia - United Development Party (PPP)


The United Development Party (PPP; also sometimes referred to as the Development Unity Party) was the umbrella Muslim grouping that developed when the four Muslim parties were forced to merge in the 1973 restructuring of the party system. The four components were Nahdatul Ulama, the Muslim Party of Indonesia (PMI), the Islamic Association Party of Indonesia (PSII), and the Islamic Educational Movement (Perti). The PPP's constituent parties neither submerged their identities nor merged their programs. As a result, no single PPP leader with a platform acceptable to all the sectarian and regional interests grouped under the PPP umbrella emerged. Despite their manifest differences representing divergent santri streams, however, the PPP's parties had the common bond of Islam, and it was this that gained them the government's close attention. The dominant partners were Nahdatul Ulama and the PMI. The PMI was a resurrected version of Masyumi, which had been banned in the Sukarno era. The return of the modernist Islamic interests-- represented by the PMI--to mainstream politics was stage-managed by the government, and the PMI within the PPP was seemingly favored by the government to counterbalance the appeal of Nahdatul Ulama. The rivalry between Nahdatul Ulama and the PMI, while strong, was suppressed for the 1977 electoral campaign. But a severe split in the PPP over candidate selection and ranking on the PPP's electoral list occurred before the 1982 elections, leading the government to intervene on the side of the more docile PMI leadership.

The split between Nahdatul Ulama and the PMI over the political destiny of the PPP became a schism in the wake of the August 1984 PPP National Congress, the first since its 1973 formation. The principal task of the congress was the adoption of the Pancasila as the PPP's basic ideological principle. The party's general chairman, the PMI's Jailani (Johnny) Naro, who was backed by the government, stacked the new thirty-eight-member executive board with twenty PMI supporters, leaving Nahdatul Ulama, the largest of the component parties, with only thirteen seats. The decline in Nahdatul Ulama's influence in the PPP, together with constraints on the Islamic content of the PPP's message, confirmed the traditionalists' perception that Nahdatul Ulama should withdraw from the political process and concentrate on its religious, social, and educational activities. The theme of Nahdatul Ulama's December 1984 congress was "Back to Nahdatul Ulama's Original Program of Action of 1926." While constitutionally accepting the Pancasila as its sole ideological principle, the Nahdatul Ulama congress tacitly opted out of the Pancasila political competition by holding that political party membership was a personal decision and that individual Nahdatul Ulama members were not obligated to support the PPP.


Indonesia - Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI)


The Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) was created from a fusion of the two Christian parties: the Indonesian Christian Party (Partindo) and the Catholic Party (Partai Katolik); and three secular parties: the Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI), the League of the Supporters of Indonesian Independence (IPKI), and the Party of the Masses (Partai Murba). The PNI, the largest of the PDI's five parties, and the legatee of Sukarno, had its base in East and Central Java. IPKI had been strongly anti-PKI in the Old Order in contrast to the once-leftist Partai Murba. Even more heterogeneous than the PPP, the PDI, with no common ideological link other than the commitment to the Pancasila as its sole principle, was faction-ridden and riven with personality disputes, held together only by direct government intervention into its internal affairs. It was only under the auspices of the minister of home affairs that the PDI Executive Committee could meet at all after the 1983 elections. The government insisted on keeping the PDI viable to avoid the risk of polarization and a direct Golkar-PPP, secular-Islamic face-off. With the gradual public rehabilitation of the late President Sukarno as an "Independence Proclamation Hero" and the father of the Pancasila, the PDI was not reluctant to trade upon the Sukarnoist heritage of its component party, the PNI. Using a son and a daughter of Sukarno on its ticket and waving posters with the image of Sukarno, the PDI went into the 1987 elections aggressively courting young voters who had no personal experience of Guided Democracy and who were looking for channels of political protest.


Indonesia - Elections


When Indonesians went to the polls every five years to elect members of the DPR, it was not with the expectation that in casting a vote they could effect any real changes in the way Indonesia was governed. The system was not designed for opposition. The PDI and PPP did not present competitively alternative platforms to Golkar's government platform. The parties' candidate lists were screened and individual candidates approved by the government. For the 1992 elections, 2,283 candidates were on the lists for the 400 seats at stake.

The elector did not vote for a particular candidate but for the party, which if it won would designate the representative from the party's list. The elections were organized by the government-appointed election commission headed by the minister of home affairs. All campaigns were conducted in the framework of Pancasila democracy, which meant that in the twenty-five-day campaign period, reduced in 1987 from forty-five days, government policy and programs could be criticized only warily and indirectly, and the president could not be criticized at all. Strict campaign rules applied. For the 1992 election, automobile rallies and picture posters of political leaders were banned. No PDI posters of Sukarno, for example, were allowed. Large outdoor rallies were discouraged, which meant that acts of violence and rowdyism by youthful participants in the "Festival of Democracy" decreased in 1992. Radio and television appeals had to be approved in advance by the elections commission. There was no campaigning at all in the five days before the elections. Even if there had been fewer constraints on campaign freedoms, the results in terms of structural impact on the functioning of the government would not be much greater than those engendered by the large number of appointed members of the DPR and the minority position of the elected members of the DPR in the MPR.

Even so, elections did matter. They were one of the elements in the institutionalization of the New Order system. It was estimated that 111 million Indonesians were eligible to vote in 1992. Giving the broad population a sense of participation contributed to regime legitimacy. The elections also provided, to some degree, a channel of public opinion feedback to the government. Finally, the election process helped to mobilize the public to support government policy. The feedback and mobilization function of the electoral process was becoming more important as the number of voters who had no direct memory of pre-Suharto Indonesia increased. The 1992 election saw 17 million first-time voters.

During the first twenty-five years of New Order government, there were five national elections. The 1971 election was Indonesia's second general election since independence and the first since 1955. (Provincial elections were held in 1957.) Golkar and nine other parties ran, compared with twenty-eight parties in 1955. The outcome was predictable given the rules of the game and the resources available to the government supporters. Golkar won more than 62 percent of the vote. The four Islamic parties shared 27.1 percent of the total, led by Nahdatul Ulama's 18.7 percent. The remaining 10.1 percent of the total was scattered among the other five parties.

Not surprisingly, Golkar dominated every successive election. In 1977 the second DPR election saw the field of parties reduced to three as a result of the 1973 party merger. The relative percentage of votes was not dramatically different, with Golkar losing less than 1 percent; the PPP gained 29.3 percent and the PDI, beginning its decline, fell to 8.6 percent. The size and loyalty of the PPP's electoral base, despite all-out government support for Golkar, reinforced the government's interest in limiting political Islam. In the 1982 elections, Golkar won 64.3 percent of the total vote cast, trailed by the PPP's 27.8 percent and the PDI's 7.9 percent. Golkar swept twenty-six of the twentyseven provinces and regions, losing only strongly Islamic Aceh to the PPP. The victory was made sweeter for Golkar by its recapturing the electoral edge in Jakarta from the PPP, which had won the district in the 1977 elections. In the 1987 elections, Golkar won in a landslide, crushing the opposition parties with more than 73 percent of the vote to the PPP's 16 percent and the PDI's 10.9 percent. Golkar's victory led to fears that Indonesia had become a de facto single-party state. Golkar even triumphed in Aceh with a 52 percent majority. The precipitous (40 percent) drop between 1982 and 1987 in the PPP's vote total can be attributed largely to the 1984 decision by Nahdatul Ulama, the PPP's largest component, to withdraw from organized competitive politics. Analysis of the election returns showed that many of the former Nahdatul Ulama votes for the PPP went to Golkar in a demonstration of both Nahdatul Ulama's ability to deliver its constituents and a guarantee of continued government favor to Nahdatul Ulama's institutions and programs.

The June 9, 1992, election had no surprises. In a calm and orderly atmosphere, more than 97 million Indonesians voted, 90 percent of the 108 million registered voters. Golkar won 68 percent of the popular vote, down by 5 percent from 1987, but nevertheless very satisfactory for the government. Golkar support ranged from a high of more than 90 percent in Jambi, Lampung, and Nusa Tenggara Timur provinces to Jakarta's 52 percent. The PPP held its own with 17 percent of the vote and, at least in the official final tally, actually ran ahead of the PDI in Jakarta with 24.5 percent of the vote to the PDI's 23.1 percent. The support for the PDI, the closest to a "democratic opposition" party, jumped from 10.9 percent in 1987 to 15 percent. These figures translated into 281 DPR seats for Golkar (down 18 seats from 1987), 63 for PPP (down 2 seats), and 56 for the PDI (an increase of 16 seats).

The outcome of the 1992 election led to some cautious conclusions. The election was "routine" because the earlier polarizing issues of Pancasila democracy had already been firmly resolved to the government's advantage. Since the stakes seemed even lower than in previous elections, there was a lack of political passion on all sides. The decline in the Golkar percentage may be partially attributed to ABRI's distancing itself from active intervention on behalf of Golkar as a sign that it should not be taken for granted. It did not appear that Suharto's campaign to woo the Muslims had an appreciable electoral result. The PDI apparently won the largest number of first-time voters. Its rallies attracted a youthful crowd, many under voting age, and suggested that a basis did exist for future increases in voter support. Golkar won slightly more than 61 percent of the total number of votes cast on Java, where nearly two-thirds of the voters resided. That meant that about four out of ten voters at the country's core were in opposition. Nevertheless, that Golkar increased its vote in Jakarta by 4 percent over 1987 despite an aggressive PDI campaign directed at the urban crowd, suggested that Golkar's appeal to stability, security, and development--the political status quo--was powerful even without other electoral advantages of the ruling party.


Indonesia - Political Dynamics



In his 1990 annual National Day address to the nation, Suharto confirmed his mandate for more openness in political expression. "We must no longer be afraid of the multifarious views and opinions expressed by the people," he declared. This new tolerance was first given attention in the domestic political dialogue that began after his inauguration for a fifth term. The year 1989 saw an outpouring of opinion, discussion, and debate as keterbukaan (openness) promised a breath of fresh air in what many felt was an atmosphere of sterile platitudinism and sloganeering. There was in 1989, according to American political scientist Gorden R. Hein, "a dramatic expansion in public discussion of important political and economic issues facing the country." Officials, politicians, retired generals, nongovernmental organizations, and student leaders expressed their views on controversial subjects ranging from environmental degradation to business conglomerates, from the role of the military to party politics. Many who had previously felt excluded from meaningful involvement hoped that keterbukaan would encourage greater political participation, not only in the national policy dialogue but in access to the political process. The most serious structural manifestation of keterbukaan was the establishment in 1991 of the Democracy Forum. The forum was chaired by Nahdatul Ulama's secretary general, Abdurrahman Wahid, and participated in by well-known academics, journalists, and other intellectuals. Its goal was to loosen existing political arrangements to assure "that the nation matures politically."

The turn toward keterbukaan was a welcome thaw after the chill of the mid-1980s crackdown on what the government considered "subversive" opposition. The passage of the Mass Organizations Law in 1985 stoked the incendiary environment in which more radical Muslim activists were prepared for direct action against a government that resisted demands that the state itself should express an Islamic quality. In September 1984, the situation had deteriorated over an incident in which a soldier allegedly defiled a mosque in Tanjung Priok (in the northern part of Jakarta). The incident was a pretext for rioting and clashes between the army and mobs provoked by fiery Islamic invocations. This was followed by bomb blasts and arson that to an alarmed ABRI presaged a call for jihad (holy war). The Tanjung Priok affair was the most destabilizing open confrontation between the government and opposition since the anti-Japanese riots that took place during Japanese prime minister Tanaka Kakuei's visit to Indonesia in January 1974. Again, the government's reaction was swift and stern. Thirty defendants were jailed from one to three years in the wake of the Tanjung Priok riot. Ten people were convicted of conspiracy in the 1985 Bank Central Asia bombing following the Tanjung Priok affair, including former cabinet minister Haji Mohammad Sanusi. At the heart of the legal assault on the opposition were the trials of prominent Islamic and retired military figures who were vaguely linked by the government to the Bank Central Asia bombing but whose real crime was association with the Petition of Fifty group.

The Petition of Fifty was a petition by former generals, political leaders, academicians, students, and others that was submitted to the MPR in 1980. The petition accused Suharto of using the Pancasila to attack political opponents and to foster antidemocratic, one-man rule. The signers of the statement were roundly excoriated by Suharto loyalists. The signers escaped arrest but were put under tight surveillance and lost many of their official perquisites.

Lieutenant General (retired) H.R. Dharsono was the most prominent of the Petition of Fifty group. After the Tanjung Priok affair, Dharsono was arrested because of a position paper he and twenty-one others had signed in September 1984, challenging the government's version of the affair. According to the prosecution, this position paper "undermined the authority of the government." Dharsono also was accused of "mental terrorism" for having made statements that could cause social unrest, as well as of associating with persons allegedly involved in the subsequent bombings. In an extraordinarily open trial, he was found guilty in January 1986 and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. Unrepentant, Dharsono was released in the looser atmosphere of keterbukaan in September 1990. Clearly, the Dharsono trial and others, as well as the social and economic pressures on extraparliamentary critics of the government, such as the Petition of Fifty group, were meant as reminders of the acceptable boundaries of political comment. As if to drive the point home, nine PKI prisoners who had been jailed for twenty years were executed in October 1986. Two others were executed in 1988. These exemplary punishments were warnings against the consequences of "left extremism."

The fact that the legal and official regulatory framework that stifled opposition for so many years remained intact required cautious conclusions about keterbukaan. Although the dialogue was more open and included more "political" subjects in the early 1990s, limits could be quickly and arbitrarily set by the government, whose level of tolerance was unpredictable. The limits were ambiguous because they tended to be applied capriciously. Still, there were indicators that a more participative political system would evolve in the mid- to late 1990s. American political scientist R. William Liddle identified six characteristics of the Indonesian economy, society, and politics that appeared to favor a move in that direction: growing dependence on domestic taxes and thus taxpayer approval; wide distribution of the benefits of economic growth with increased resources for groups to become politically active; greater connections to the outside world; greater education and literacy; more interest in democratization; and an institutionalized strong presidency. This last factor ensured that as more political voices were heard there would be no return to the parliamentary impotency that paralyzed Indonesia in the 1950s. Thus, it was argued, democracy and stability could coexist.

Much, of course, would depend upon the succession scenario. According to a less sanguine assessment, a more open political dialogue could be manipulated by the major actors positioning themselves for the succession--ABRI, Islam, bureaucratic interests, and Golkar. These groups sought support among a growing middle-class constituency which, intermittently at least, was moved by the kinds of issues raised by socially conscious nongovernmental organizations and students, as well as nonestablishment political organizations like the group that issued the Petition of Fifty. The succession issue itself, as long as it remained unresolved, had the potential of being a destablilizing factor. Outside the bureaucratic inner circle, the political actors most directly affected by succession could only imperfectly transmit their messages about democracy, equity, corruption, the environment, and succession to the public because the nongovernmental media was subject to the same constraints as the other institutions in Pancasila democracy.


Indonesia - Islam


Organized political party structures promoting Islam were disciplined to the requirements of Pancasila democracy in the PPP, and Islamic organizations, including the Muhammadiyah movement and Nahdatul Ulama, were subjected to government regulations flowing from the Mass Organizations Law. Muslim critics of the regime in the early 1990s claimed that the government policy toward Islam was "colonial" in that it was putting in place in modern Indonesia the advice of the Dutch scholar and adviser to the Netherlands Indies government, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje. As an adviser between 1891 and 1904, Snouck Hurgronje advocated tolerating the spiritual aspects of Islam but containing rigorously Islam's political expression. The goal was the same in the colonial period and during the presidencies of both Sukarno and Suharto: to see to it that the business of government and administration remained a secular one. However, Islam could not be fully "depoliticized." The traditional structures for Islamic communication and mobilization, pesantren and mosque, were resistant to external control. Religious teachers, through the dakwah (the vigorous promotion of Islam), still proselytized and propagated guidance and values in the early 1990s that influenced all aspects of human affairs. The "floating masses" were touched by a social and political message couched in terms of Quranic injunctions and the hadith.

The so-called "hard" dakwah, departing from sermons and texts tightly confined to matters of faith and sharia, was uncompromisingly antigovernment. The illegal texts of Abdul Qadir Djaelani, for example, contrasted Islam, which was the revelation of God, with the Pancasila, which was man-made of Javanese mysticism. The Islamists (often referred to as Islamic fundamentalists) called for the people to die as martyrs in a "struggle until Islam rules." This call, for the government, was incitement to "extremism of the right," subversion, and terrorism. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, security officials warned against the revival of Darul Islam in the guise of a Komando Jihad (Holy War Command). Isolated acts of violence, including, in early 1981, the hijacking of a Garuda Indonesian Airways DC-9, gave credence to these alerts. This unrest also was the context in which the government viewed the Tanjung Priok affair. The government reaction to radical Islamic provocations was unyielding: arrest and jail.

The followers of the "hard" dakwah were a minority within a minority in 1992. Although Islamists might be disaffected with the state, the goal of urban, middle-class Muslims, who shared in the benefits of government economic policies and who were relatively untouched by the preaching of rural Muslim teachers, was not to overthrow the regime. They wanted to transform the regime from within to make its acts conform more with Islamic values--a focus then that was not on the state itself but on policies and practices that were offensive. The issues that spurred middle-class Muslims on included not just the persistent Muslim complaints about secularization, Christianization, and moral decline, but also contemporary political grievances about the inequitable distribution of income, concentration of wealth and power in the hands of Chinese Indonesians to the detriment of indigenous (pribumi) entrepreneurship, corruption, and the role of the president's immediate family. These kinds of issues cut across religious boundaries and united moderate middle-class Muslims with more secular middle-class critics, both civilian and military.

The president had indirectly addressed complaints about a skewing of economic rewards to Chinese Indonesian enterprises by backing deregulation, warning against flaunting wealth, and appealing for companies to allow worker cooperatives to purchase up to 25 percent of equity shares. This last proposal, made in 1990, despite questions about its economic soundness, had a firm basis in the 1945 constitution, Indonesian economic history, and populist rhetoric.

A more complicated problem was the political access the president's six children had to state contracting agencies. Their monopoly enterprises, influence brokering, and linkages to Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs made the children major players in the Indonesian economy. Leaving aside the question of whether their activities facilitated development or hindered it, their highly visible role with the underlying suspicion of favoritism, political extortion, and corruption, had a corrosive impact on Suharto's own image. The father defended the children. Domestic criticism was banned in the media, and foreign discussions resulted in periodic censorship of certain editions of the Sydney Morning Herald, the International Herald Tribune, and the Far Eastern Economic Review. It was even suggested by some local observers that the president's desire to protect his children from a future government's reprisals energized his succession agenda.

Through reward and cooptation, the government won the allegiance of a broad sector of the Muslim elite, the most general indicator of which was election results showing no increase in the appeal of Muslim political parties. At the same time, thoughtful Islamic strategists, such as Nahdatul Ulama's Abdurrahman Wahid, felt that Islamization would come from inside the New Order rather than from external confrontation. The Association of Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) was formed in December 1990, uniting a broad spectrum of leading Muslim academics and government figures (but with the noticeable absence of Abdurrahman Wahid). ICMI's founding had the overt support of Suharto and suggested that the president wished to deepen his political links to the Muslim constituency independently of the PPP and Nahdatul Ulama. This organizational development also raised the question of where ABRI stood in a constellation of forces that saw the president apparently seeking balance among Golkar, Islam, and ABRI.


Indonesia - ABRI


The considerable policy achievements of the New Order government cannot be overstated. Whether compared with the Old Order or with other large and culturally plural Third World nations, Indonesia's record of political stability and economic growth since 1966 was viewed by its leaders as the empirical justification of the system of government put in place by the military in 1966-67. Despite keterbukaan, there was no retreat from dwifungsi. Suharto and the military elite seemed united in their belief that there would be no turning back from the principle of dual function which ABRI considered a historical necessity. The spectacle of the ethnic disintegration of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe was a sobering example of what can happen when authority is lifted in ethnically plural states. Beyond the agreement on dwifungsi, however, the relationship between the president and ABRI became one of the problematic issues of politics in the 1990s. Ultimately, the president depended on ABRI as the bulwark of his authority. In part, the legitimacy of ABRI's role in society was a reflection of the Suharto performance in office. As Suharto seemed to become increasingly distanced institutionally from ABRI and issues of corruption and favoritism brought the regime into disrepute, observers questioned how ABRI would position itself with respect to succession.

ABRI dissatisfaction with the course of events rarely surfaced publicly. The demonstration against Sudharmono's nomination to the vice presidency was an exception. Yet, in the subtle and indirect fashion seemingly inherent in Javanese political culture, signs abounded that some senior ABRI leaders had reservations about a sixth term for Suharto. Steeped in distrust of Islamic politics, ABRI looked askance at Suharto's overtures to the santri, taking particular note of the military's exclusion from the ICMI. Moreover, it was no secret that ABRI leaders were disturbed by what some saw as the unbridled greed of the president's family members and his obvious reluctance to restrain them. The cult of personality, which presidential palace functionaries fostered, also offended ABRI's leaders. ABRI's commitment to its own revolutionary values and the Pancasila seemed, in a sense, to be mocked at the end of Suharto's fifth term. On the other hand, ABRI's command repeatedly assured the leadership of their commitment to constitutional processes. ABRI's focus was on regime continuity rather than provoking a leadership crisis that might resonate negatively in the wider society. If the common wisdom that Suharto's successor had to be a Muslim Javanese general was correct, ABRI wanted to be sure that it controlled the designation.

As a practical matter, ABRI's desire to control the succession scenario meant it had to play a leading role in the selection of the vice presidential candidate for Suharto's sixth term (1993-98). The list of potential nominees started with the ABRI commander General Try Sutrisno, followed by army commander General Edi Sudrajat. Even this careful ABRI selection process would not guarantee succession in 1998. Suharto was likely to have had a different scenario. Seemingly waiting in the wings was Major General Wismoyo Arismunandar, who in July 1992 was advanced to deputy commander of the Army from commander of the Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad), the post Suharto himself held in 1965. Wismoyo, Suharto's brother-in-law, was widely expected to become army chief of staff and even ABRI commander. Also rapidly moving up in the ranks was Lieutenant Colonel Prabowo Subianto, a Suharto son-in-law. Prabowo, who, according to many observers, was a highly capable officer, served as the chief of staff of the Seventeenth Airborne Brigade. By 1998, then, the succession issue was likely to be couched in dynastic terms, and the family's interests would be well protected.


Indonesia - Nongovernment Organizations (NGOs)


The central concerns of establishment politics under the New Order in the early 1990s were stability and development. A broad array of other issues, reflecting both the changes brought about in the society by development and the penetration of the political culture by issues of global concern, set the agenda of a growing number of Indonesian private voluntary associations. These associations articulated interests ranging from human rights and the rule of law to issues of corruption and environmental degradation. The proliferation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the late 1970s and 1980s was an indicator of both the increased diversity of society and the growth of a modern middle class. It was precisely these middle-class-inspired groups that represented most vocally the grievances of Indonesia's "floating masses." NGOs were independent of government and political parties. Within the framework of Pancasila democracy, the NGOs had to be nonpolitical, but their activities had political impact. To avoid the issue of confusing nongovernment with antigovernment organizations and repoliticization of the depoliticized masses, the term NGO was replaced by other rubrics, such as community Self-Reliance Groups (LSM).

The government's attitude toward the NGOs in the early 1990s was ambivalent. The government welcomed the work of NGOs involved in community self-help projects, rice-roots mobilization for socially or economically useful purposes, and as alternative structures for small development programs. However, the independence of NGOs from the government had the potential for opposition, especially where the NGOs were aggressively intervening in areas of agrarian rights or fundamental human rights. For example, there was a marked increase in the number of conflicts between settled communities and state developmental or commercial ventures. Many of these conflicts involved land use that would alter established proprietary or utilization rights without reference to the community's wishes and without adequate compensation. In circumstances where government agencies acted to support land seizures opposed by local communities, rights questions were taken up by activist groups, students, the press, and networks of interested NGOs. That well-publicized actions at the local level could be translated into national issues was demonstrated in 1989, when protests over the forced relocation of villagers for a World Bank -assisted dam project at Kedung Ombo, Jawa Tengah Province, forced the government to modify its plans. The Kedung Ombo case and other agrarian and ecologically related protests also rekindled student activism, confined since the 1970s to nonpolitical behavior. University students found both a cause and a vehicle for renewed social involvement in the defense of the "little people."

Not only were the Indonesian NGOs/LSMs networked internally, they were networked through the International Nongovernmental Group on Indonesia (INGI) with corresponding groups abroad and were, to the discomfiture of the government, able to bring pressure on foreign-aid donors. The Kedung Ombo affair united the LSMs with human rights and legal groups such as the Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), perhaps the best known of the NGOs and a constant thorn in the state's legal flesh through its interventions in defense of the rule of law. The government's tolerance for the activities of NGOs became increasingly limited as the NGOs' activities moved into areas of sensitive state concerns and reached out to influence external aid givers. After the passage of the Mass Organizations Law in 1985, NGOs were required to file reports to allow the government to monitor their activities. According to Coordinating Minister of Political Affairs and Security Admiral (retired) Sudomo, there were three justifications for disbanding an organization: disturbing national stability, receiving unreported foreign funds, or being directed by a foreigner. The first criterion was very subjective. Criticism of government policy by a domestic NGO could lead to the charge of subversion. At least three human rights NGOs were banned as a result of their unauthorized activities in supplying information to the international community in the wake of the November 1991 Dili incident.

The challenge for the NGOs in the early 1990s was not only their taking up real issues in the political economy, but having to do so when more traditional organizations, such as the established bureaucratic and party institutions, seemed unable or unwilling to perform this function. Keterbukaan was a promise of a more liberal climate for dialogue. Keterbukaan was yet to be accompanied by structural change, however. In 1990 the Institute for the Defense of Human Rights (LPHAM, which itself was banned after the Dili affair) attempted to set up a free trade union that was immediately declared illegal. Working outside the system became almost part of the system. This seeming paradox may have been partly explained by the fact that in this aspect of Indonesian politics, as in so many others, overt change, adaptation, and accommodation awaited the settlement of the succession issue.


Indonesia - THE MEDIA


At the fortieth anniversary of the Indonesian Journalists Association in 1986, Suharto congratulated the media for their commitment to the Pancasila. It was a commitment that was grudging. Article 29 of the constitution states that freedom of the press shall be provided by law. Indonesian press laws made controlling the media an instrument in the government's strategy of stability and development. Thus, the notion of a "free press," let alone an opposition press, contradicted the government's need to control the flow of information. The acronym SARA--suku (ethnicity), agama (religion), ras (race), and antargolongan (social relations)--listed the prohibited subjects, to which could be added less than adulatory references to the president and his family. Moreover, the government had at its disposal an enormous information machine consisting of state television, radio, news service, subsidized journals, and the Department of Information's nationwide public relations operation. The government also could limit the content of the nonofficial media through a variety of restraints, most drastically the revocation of a paper's publishing enterprise license, which effectively shut it down. Press Law Number 21 of 1982 specifies the duty of the press as "strengthening national unity and cohesion, deepening national responsibility and discipline, helping to raise the intelligence of the nation and invigorating people's participation in development." According to Minister of Information Harmoko in 1983, a publishing enterprise license would be lifted only "when the press is not in line with the philosophy of the nation and the state." This conditional threat led to a form of selfcensorship on the part of editors and publishers as they tested the limits of government sensitivity. These sensitivities were made known in consultations with senior officials on how to treat stories.

Newspapers occasionally stepped out of bounds and, if they did not heed stern warnings, were banned for varying periods of time. For example, Sinar Harapan (Ray of Hope)--a Protestant and non-Javanese-edited, mass circulation (220,340) daily--was closed in October 1986 for economic reporting that Harmoko claimed "brought about an atmosphere of gloom, confusion, and unease in society." Not mentioned in the termination notice was the fact that Sinar Harapan had been in the forefront of discussions on presidential term limitations. The ban seemed intended to have a self-censoring effect on the rest of the media. The lively daily Prioritas (Priority) was shut down in June 1987. The official tone was set by a commentary in the Angkatan Bersenjata (Armed Forces Daily) edition of October 14, 1986, that said the government was prepared to sacrifice any newspaper deemed to have jeopardized the national interest. The old Sinar Harapan was allowed to reemerge in 1987 under a new name--Suara Pembaruan (Voice of Renewal)- -and, more importantly, with a new editorial board more responsive to government concerns.

The effort to control media flow was not limited to the press in the early 1990s. Motion pictures had been censored since the colonial era and continued to be censored during the Sukarno and Suharto administrations. Prominent literary figures, such as the internationally recognized novelist Pramudya Ananta Tur and poet and dramatist Willibrordus S. Rendra, had their works banned although both read their writings in public. Nor were foreign publications immune. There was periodic banning of certain editions or particular articles deemed offensive in publications such as the Asian Wall Street Journal, the Far Eastern Economic Review, and Time. Visa regulation of journalists was another way the government sought to limit foreign reporting. By threatening work visa status checks on foreign journalists, the government hoped that voluntary selfcensorship would follow. Another way of controlling the media was to simply bar access. Australian journalists in particular were targeted because of their unfavorable reporting on East Timor. Censorship also extended to foreign books such as one by David Jenkins on the New Order's military and Richard Robison's study of its political economy--both deemed critical by Jakarta. But in Indonesia, as in other countries where the media were tightly controlled, the photocopy machine and the ubiquity of foreign radio and television news conspired to defeat censorship.

The inherent contradiction between media control as the Department of Information usually applied it and the emphasis on keterbukaan since the late 1980s came to a head in October 1990 when the mass circulation (700,000) tabloid weekly Monitor had its publishing enterprise license lifted. The Monitor's mistake was to publish the outcome of a reader popularity poll that listed the Prophet Muhammad behind Suharto, Sukarno, and Iraqi president Saddam Husayn. Enraged Muslim youths stormed the Monitor's office, and Harmoko put it out of business, claiming the poll had caused religious dissension, that is, had violated the agama taboo. Many people, including the founders of the Democracy Forum, saw the closing of the Monitor as a repressive response to religious pressure and sectarian bias in a pluralistic society. Editor Arswendo Atmowiloto was convicted of blasphemy and given the maximum fiveyear prison sentence. Speaking of the stimulus that the Monitor case had given the formation of the Democracy Forum, forum chairman Abdurrahman Wahid said, "Without [it], maybe it would have taken another couple of years."

The contradiction between media restraint and keterbukaan was also taken up by the more assertive DPR. In May 1991, its deputy speaker called for an easing of press controls. Defending his record before a DPR commission, Harmoko replied that the government never acted rashly in revoking a paper's right to publish and that a press that shunned "radicalism, liberalism, and communism" need have no fears. As the Jakarta Post said in a June 27, 1991, editorial about the DPR debate over the press, "there are so many people who talk about responsibility but very few who talk about freedom." The government's bending to Muslim outrage over the Monitor affair, despite purported support of keterbukaan, revealed its nervous awareness of the potential political force mainstream Islam could be even if denied traditional political party platforms.




Political Considerations

The internal dynamics of Indonesian politics in the last half of the twentieth century was linked to an external environment that both the Old Order and the New Order perceived as inherently dangerous. Foreign policy had as its most important goals security of the state and territorial integrity. The jurisdictional boundaries of the state were greatly expanded with the incorporation of the "archipelago principle" into the new international law of the sea regime. This new regime was codified as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982. The "archipelago principle" effectively territorialized all ocean space inside straight baselines drawn from the farthest points of the most distant islands of Indonesia, thus giving new sanction to the Indonesian doctrine of the political and security unity of archipelagic land and sea space (wawasan nusantara), first promulgated in the 1950s. Sukarno's response to challenge was to attack the status quo--to "live dangerously," to cite his 1964 National Day address, "A Year of Living Dangerously." The Suharto government's approach, on the other hand, was one of cooperation and accommodation in order to gain international support for Indonesia's political stability and economic development while, at the same time, maintaining its freedom of action. Whereas Sukarno relished leading the New Emerging Forces against the Old Established Forces, the Suharto government turned to the Western developed economies for assistance. These countries were consortionally organized in the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI), and along with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, gave massive economic assistance, amounting in the 1992 budget to more than US$4 billion a year. Although Suharto's pragmatic, low-profile style was a far cry from the radical internationalism and confrontational anti-imperialism of Sukarno's foreign policy, there was continuity in a nationalism that colored Indonesia's perceptions of its role in the region. The promotion of Islamic international political interests was not high on the Indonesian foreign policy agenda, despite Indonesia being the world's largest Muslim nation. Indonesia was a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) but as of 1992, unlike Malaysia, had not aspired to a major role in that organization.

Following two decades of post-Sukarno "low profile" foreign policy, by Suharto's fourth term (1983-88), a more assertive Indonesian foreign policy voice was heard as Jakarta began to reaffirm its claim to a leadership position, both regionally and worldwide, corresponding to its geographical vastness, resource endowment, population, and political stability. After an international rehabilitative period, Indonesia rejoined the community of nations, broke the Jakarta-Hanoi-Beijing-P'yngyang axis, ended the Indonesian-Malaysian Confrontation (Konfrontasi), worked to establish ASEAN, forged cooperative nonthreatening links with its neighbors, and became a moderating voice in Third World forums. By the early 1990s, Indonesia, which American scholar Donald K. Emmerson could still describe as "invisible" in 1987, had become more visible both as a regional power and a major Third World voice in the global political and economic arenas. In 1992 Indonesian foreign policy reflected a proud national identity and what British scholar Michael Leifer called its "sense of regional entitlement."

Indonesia's full reemergence on the world stage was signalled in April 1985 when it hosted a gathering of eighty nations to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung and to reaffirm the relevance of the Bandung principles. This conference projected Indonesia as a leading voice in the nonaligned world and provided it with an extra-regional platform from which to assert its new self-confidence and claim to proper international standing. Suharto, secure domestically in an environment of political stability and economic growth, and backed by his energetic and clever Minister of Foreign Affairs Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, prepared to assume the mantle of statesman.

In October 1985, Suharto represented the developing nations of the southern hemisphere (French president Fran�ois Mitterrand spoke for the developed nations of the northern hemisphere) at a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN meeting in Rome. This meeting recognized Indonesia's considerable accomplishment in achieving rice self-sufficiency. Suharto also undertook an East European tour to balance the close economic ties that had been established with the West and the general anticommunist orientation of Indonesia's foreign policy.

A major foreign policy initiative begun in 1985 sought for Indonesia the chairmanship of the Nonaligned Movement, a position that would acknowledge Indonesia's credentials to speak authoritatively in the Third World. Indonesia had been a founding member of the Nonaligned Movement and its adherence to and promotion of the ideals of nonalignment had been one of the few consistencies between the foreign policies of the Old Order and New Order governments. At the same time, Indonesia was the only founding member that had not hosted a Nonaligned Movement summit. At summits in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 1986, and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (later Serbia), in 1989, Indonesia lobbied hard but without success for the chair. A number of factors seemed to be working against it in an organization marked by geographic and ideological differences. Radical socialist regimes were not sympathetic to Indonesia's domestic anticommunism. African nationalist regimes mobilized in the former Portuguese colonies in Africa rejected Indonesia's incorporation of East Timor. Indonesia's solidarity with ASEAN on the Cambodian issue lost favor with friends of Vietnam. Finally, the absence of normal relations with the Nonaligned Movement's largest member, China, weakened Indonesia's position substantially. By the end of the 1980s, however, many of the objections no longer seemed as relevant in the changing global political economy as adroit Indonesian diplomats continued to pursue their country's goal.

At the Nonaligned Movement's thirtieth anniversary meeting in Accra, Ghana, in September 1991, Indonesia finally won its coveted role as chair of the movement and host of the September 1992 Jakarta summit. But as Indonesia grasped the prize, its political worth was questionable in a post-Cold War world without superpower rivalries. To set the scene for the Jakarta summit, as incoming chair, Suharto undertook the longest foreign tour of his career--a twenty-three-day trip to two Latin American and three African countries--in November and December 1991. At meetings of the Group of Fifteen in Caracas, Venezuela, and the OIC in Dakar, Senegal, as well as bilateral meetings in Latin America and Africa, he began the effort of shifting the Nonaligned Movement agenda from its traditional concerns to the economic and social issues confronting the developing world. This changed agenda was the focus of Suharto's address to the May 1992 Bali ministerial meeting of the Nonaligned Movement Coordinating Bureau, setting the agenda for the Nonaligned Movement summit. At the same time, however, Indonesia rejected suggestions that the Nonaligned Movement and the Group of Seventy-seven should be merged because the goals of the two groups differed. Whereas the Nonaligned Movement had a "special commitment" to the eradication of colonialism, racism, and apartheid as well as a duty to prevent the UN from being dominated by any one country, the Group of Seventy-seven fostered economic cooperation among its members.

The summit took place on schedule and without disruption the first week of September 1992. The Jakarta Message, the summit's final communiqu�, reflected Suharto's call in his opening speech for a constructive dialogue between the developed and developing nations, warning that North-South polarization loomed as "the central unresolved issue of our time." In an expression of Indonesia's pride in its own development, Suharto offered Indonesian technical assistance to countries with food and population problems. As chairman of the Nonaligned Movement, Suharto brought the Jakarta Message to the 1992 session of the UN General Assembly.

<>Indonesia, ASEAN, and the Third Indochina War
<>Papua New Guinea
<>Singapore and Malaysia
<>The Philippines
<>United States


Indonesia - ASEAN


Since its founding on August 8, 1967, ASEAN has been a major focus of Indonesia's regional international relations. In ASEAN Indonesia, together with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, helped construct a regional multinational framework to facilitate economic cooperation, diminish intra-ASEAN conflict, and formulate ASEAN positions regarding perceived potential external threats. From the point of view of Jakarta--the site of ASEAN's general secretariat--ASEAN's predecessor organizations had been flawed. The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)--established in 1954 and composed of Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States--included only two Southeast Asian members. Established as part of the network of United States security alliances, SEATO was seen as violating the principle of nonalignment. The Association of Southeast Asia (ASA)--established in 1961 and composed of Malaya (as Malaysia was then known), the Philippines, and Thailand--was seen by Jakarta as suspect because of the overlapping SEATO memberships of two of the members. In 1963 the proposed nonpolitical confederation Maphilindo (for Malaya, the Philippines, and Indonesia) was, for Jakarta and Manila, a tactic to prevent or delay the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. Manila had its own claim to Sabah (formerly North Borneo) and Indonesia protested the formation of Malaysia as a British imperialist plot. When Maphilindo failed, Indonesia turned to political and military Confrontation, an attempt to undermine the new state of Malaysia. Sukarno's radical anti-Western rhetoric, combined with the growing strength of the PKI, marked Indonesia as a disturber of the regional international order rather than a cooperative, peaceful contributor to it.

By 1967 Indonesia's disruptive stance had changed. ASEAN provided a framework for the termination of the IndonesianMalaysian Confrontation, allowing Indonesia to rejoin the regional community of nations in a nonthreatening setting. Furthermore, the five founding members of ASEAN (Brunei became a member in 1984) now shared common policies of domestic anticommunism. The ASEAN process of decision making by consensus allowed Indonesia to dictate the pace of change within ASEAN. Some observers asserted that ASEAN moved only at the pace of its slowest member, which often was Indonesia. With ASEAN increasingly seen as a symbol of regional peace and stability, its maintenance became an end in itself in Indonesian foreign policy. Suharto became ASEAN's elder statesman by the time of ASEAN's 1992 Fourth Summit in Singapore. He was the only head of government at ASEAN's 1967 establishment or at the 1976 Bali First Summit who was still head of government in 1992.

Within the ASEAN framework, Jakarta was hesitant about committing itself to permanent structures and agreements that would facilitate functional integration. In particular, Indonesia was resistant to market sharing, fearing that its market, by far the largest in ASEAN, would be swamped by the exports of its more competitive ASEAN partners. It was only reluctantly that Indonesia agreed to accept in principle the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) contained in the fourth summit's document, "Framework Agreement on Enhancing ASEAN Economic Cooperation." Although committed to AFTA in theory, Indonesia, again as ASEAN's slowestpaced member, won a fifteen-year delay of the implementation of AFTA, and the mechanism of the Common Effective Preferential Tariff was adopted as the instrument of transition. This measure meant that a future exemptions list would dictate the economic significance of items in the Common Effective Preferential Tariff's broad trade categories.

Moreover, there was some question as to whether Indonesia was outgrowing ASEAN in terms of economic cooperation. Indonesia invested the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)--a grouping of ASEAN members and major East Asian and Pacific trading countries established in 1989--with greater significance than some of its ASEAN partners. It was Indonesia's desire to promote broad multilateral forums, such as APEC, that led it to resist more narrowly based schemes such as the East Asia Economic Grouping proposed by Malaysia, which in its original formulation had the exclusive trading bloc characteristics of Japan-based general trading companies. The Malaysian plan was downgraded at the Singapore ASEAN summit to a proposed caucus and referred to committee.

Although Indonesia was the last member nation of ASEAN to embrace fully the organization's economic potential, its leaders saw early that ASEAN could be used as a vehicle to promote a regional political identity. Through ASEAN, Indonesia became the most articulate advocate of a Southeast Asian Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) and a Southeast Asian NuclearFree Zone (NFZ). The ZOPFAN ideal was enshrined in the 1971 Kuala Lumpur Declaration and given lip service by all ASEAN members. Since the July 1984 Seventeenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Indonesia insisted on giving the ZOPFAN ideal high priority. Between the third (1987) and fourth (1992) ASEAN summits, a major alteration in the regional political-military power presence of the former Soviet Union and the United States lessened the urgency for such a treaty. Although the Fourth Summit's Singapore Declaration of 1992 stated that ASEAN would continue to seek the realization of a ZOPFAN and NFZ, it would be done "in consultation with friendly countries, taking into account changing circumstances [emphasis added]."

Indonesia's vigorous push for these zones involved a number of foreign policy interests that corresponded to other policy goals. As a leading nonaligned power, one of Indonesia's consistent policy goals was to reduce regional dependence on external military powers. Second, the zones would improve the prospect of integrating Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos into a wider, peaceful Southeast Asian international order. The zones responded to the residual xenophobic element of Indonesian nationalism. The accomplishment of a nuclear-weapons-free ZOPFAN would heighten Indonesia's profile as a middle power with international aspirations. One of the reasons why some ASEAN nations were reluctant to embrace the zones fully was the perception that one outcome might be to enhance a regional hegemonic role for Indonesia. The question of Indonesia's future regional role was made more pertinent once the need for ASEAN solidarity on the issues posed by the Vietnamese invasion and occupation of Cambodia in 1978 passed.


Indonesia - Indonesia, ASEAN, and the Third Indochina War


Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mochtar Kusumaatmadja was chairman of the ASEAN Standing Committee in December 1978 when Vietnam invaded Cambodia, initiating what some observers called the Third Indochina War (1978-91). Mochtar's response, which became the official ASEAN response, was to deplore the Vietnamese invasion and call for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Cambodia. Indonesia and other ASEAN members immediately placed the issue on the agenda of the UN Security Council. It was not long after the invasion, however, that deep differences between Indonesia and Thailand, the "frontline state," regarding the long-term interests of ASEAN were revealed. Although compelled to make a show of solidarity with Thailand by its interest in sustaining ASEAN itself, Indonesia began to see the prolongation of the war in Cambodia, the "bleeding Vietnam white" strategy, as not being in its or the region's interests. Although never retreating from ASEAN's central demand of Vietnamese withdrawal from Cambodia and Khmer self-determination, Indonesia actively sought to engage the Khmers and Vietnamese and their external sponsors in a search for a settlement that would recognize legitimate interests on all sides. From 1982 to the signing of the Final Act of the Paris International Conference on Cambodia on October 23, 1991, Indonesian diplomacy played a central role in peace negotiations under both Mochtar and his successor, Ali Alatas.

Indonesia opened what came to be called "dual-track" diplomacy, in which it pursued bilateral political communication with Vietnam while maintaining its commitment to the ASEAN formula. By 1986 ASEAN had accepted Indonesia its official "interlocutor" with Vietnam. The breakthrough came in July 1987, in the Mochtar-Nguyen Co Thach (Vietnam's minister of foreign affairs) communiqu� in which Vietnam accepted the idea of an informal meeting between the Khmer parties, to which other concerned countries would be invited. This was the so-called "cocktail party" formula. This eventually led to the first Jakarta Informal Meeting in July 1988, at which the issue of the Vietnamese invasion and occupation of Cambodia--the external question--was decoupled from the Khmer "civil war"--the internal question. The second Jakarta Informal Meeting took place in February 1989 after a change of government in Thailand had radically shifted Bangkok's policy toward a quick negotiated settlement. The second Jakarta meeting, chaired by Alatas, at which Vietnam accepted the notion of an "international control mechanism" for Cambodia, was followed by escalating diplomatic activity--efforts that led to the July 1990 Paris International Conference on Cambodia cochaired by Indonesia and France. The conference adjourned without making great progress, but by then international events influencing great power relations had outpaced ASEAN's and Indonesia's ability to coordinate. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council--working through Paris International Conference on Cambodia channels--took up the challenge of negotiating a peace settlement in Cambodia and, with Indonesia assuming a burdensome diplomatic role, fashioned a peace agreement that led to the deployment of forces of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).

Indonesia's sense of achievement and pride in its role in bringing peace to Indochina was reflected in three events. On November 12, 1990, Suharto arrived in Hanoi for the first meeting between an ASEAN head of government and a Vietnamese counterpart since Premier Pham Van Dong visited Thailand's prime minister Kriangsak Chomanand in 1977. On March 15, 1992, Japan's Akashi Yasushi, the UN undersecretary general for disarmament and newly appointed head of UNTAC, arrived in Phnom Penh to be greeted by a color guard of Indonesian troops who were part of the first full battalion-sized contingent of UNTAC peacekeepers dispatched to Cambodia. At the peak deployment of foreign peacekeeping forces in late 1992, Indonesia had the largest force in Cambodia with nearly 2,000 military and police personnel, representing 10 percent of the total. Finally, in mid-1991, fresh from diplomatic success in helping to end the Cambodian civil war, Indonesia took the initiative in seeking to open multilateral negotiations on competitive South China Sea claims, especially those claims involving jurisdictional disputes over the Spratly Islands.

Indonesia's gradually assertive role in the Cambodian peace effort demonstrated that Jakarta was not entirely willing to place its commitment to ASEAN solidarity above its own national interests. The Jakarta Post, often reflective of official positions, thundered in an editorial, "It is high time to spell out clearly to our ASEAN partners, as the largest archipelagic state in Southeast Asia with a growing national interest to protect, that we simply cannot afford the endless prolonging of the Kampuchean conflict." A caption in the Far Eastern Economic Review caught the mood more succinctly: "Indonesia in ASEAN: fed up being led by the nose." Less colloquially, Indonesian analyst Dewi Fortuna Anwar wrote in the Review: "The challenge for Indonesian foreign policy in the future is how to maintain a balance between an ASEAN policy which requires goodwill and trust of the other members, and satisfying some of the internationalist aspirations of a growing number of the Indonesian political elite."

The settlement of the Cambodian conflict, Southeast Asia's own cold war, combined with the dramatically altered balance of power in the region, raised the question of what new political cement might hold ASEAN together in the post-Cold War environment in the early 1990s. Competitive claims by the nations involved in the jurisdictional competition in the South China Sea had the potential for conflict but did not pose the direct threat to ASEAN's collective security interest, as had the Vietnamese invasion and occupation of Cambodia. General suspicion about China's long-term ambitions in the region was too diffuse to generate consensual policy. Indonesia, still insisting that ZOPFAN had validity for the region, initially looked coolly on United States efforts to enhance its military access elsewhere in Southeast Asia after the closure of its Philippines' military base. Jakarta did not want to create an even more legitimate opportunity for superpower intervention in its region.

Indonesia resisted the urging of some ASEAN members that ASEAN formally adopt a more explicit common political-security identity. Indonesia successfully opposed Singapore's proposal at the ASEAN Fourth Summit that would have invited the UN Security Council's five permanent members to accede to ASEAN's 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. Although very cool to the notion that some kind of Helsinki-like formula for regional peace and security could be extended to Asia, Indonesia agreed to a political and security agenda for ASEAN's annual PostMinisterial Conference with its official partners. In part, Indonesian ambivalence about an ASEAN security role, together with its reluctance to mesh its economy with an ASEAN regional economy, arose from Indonesia's desire to keep its options open as it pursued its interests, not just as an ASEAN country, but as an increasingly important Asia-Pacific regional power. However, even as Indonesia looked beyond Southeast Asia to enhance its status as an important middle power, ASEAN still provided a valuable instrument for wielding noncoercive regional influence and gaining attention in the wider international arena.


Indonesia - Papua New Guinea


Since Papua New Guinea's independence in 1975, the 760- kilometer-long border between it and Indonesia's Irian Jaya Province was a focus for mutual suspicion. Indonesia sought through diplomacy and intimidation to prevent Papua New Guinea from becoming a cross-border sanctuary for OPM separatists. Port Moresby's policy on the border situation was conditioned by fears of Indonesian expansionism and sympathy for West Papuan efforts to defend their cultural identity against Indonesianization. The Papua New Guinea government was also keenly aware of the military imbalance between the two countries.

Talks to draw up a new agreement to regulate relations and define rights and obligations along the border culminated in the signing on October 27, 1986, of the Treaty of Mutual Respect, Cooperation, and Friendship. The treaty was, in effect, a bilateral nonaggression pact in which the two sides agreed to "avoid, reduce and contain disputes or conflicts between their nations and settle any differences that may arise only by peaceful means" (Article 2), and promised that they "shall not threaten or use force against each other" (Article 7). The treaty also provided a basis for building a lasting structure of peace and cooperation. The structure for peace was enhanced by the 1987 ASEAN decision to allow Papua New Guinea to become the first nonASEAN country to accede to the 1976 ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. Indonesia continued in 1992, however, to block Papua New Guinea's access to full ASEAN membership although Papua New Guinea did have observer status.

The 1986 treaty left many issues unresolved. It did not solve, for example, the problem of Irian Jaya refugees in Papua New Guinea. Furthermore, Papua New Guinea did not agree to joint security operations in the border regions, and Indonesia did not give categorical assurance that its military, in all circumstances, would not cross the border. Criticism of Jakarta's policies in Irian Jaya persisted in Port Moresby. In addition, Indonesia was accused of covert intervention in Papua New Guinea domestic politics. Nevertheless, the tension and threat-filled atmosphere that clouded the first decade of bilateral relations was considerably dissipated. A new ten-year border agreement was signed in 1990. In January 1992, in the course of a state visit by Papua New Guinea prime minister Rabbie Namaliu, the defense ministers of the two countries signed a "status of forces" agreement regulating rights and obligations when on each other's territory. Although the two parties denied that the agreement provided for joint security operations, the possibility of rights for Indonesian "hot pursuit" seemed to exist. At that time, Namaliu, reviewing the course of relations since the 1986 treaty, said, "ties have never been better."


Indonesia - Singapore and Malaysia


Singapore, ASEAN's own ethnic Chinese newly industrialized economy (NIE), is geostrategically locked in the often suspicious embrace of its Indonesian and Malaysian neighbors. Twenty-five years after the end of Confrontation, a racially tinged, jealous Indonesian ambivalence toward Singapore, had been replaced by a fragile new economic and political warmth. Rather then see Indonesian economic development as part of a zero-sum game in competition with favored Singapore, Jakarta now sought to harness Singapore's capital, technology, and managerial expertise to its own abundant resources of land and labor in an economically integrative process of a growth triangle. Although the scheme theoretically included peninsular Malaysia's southernmost Johore state, the dynamic action of the growth triangle was on the islands of Indonesia's Riau Province--Batam, Bintan, and Karimun- -to the south of Singapore. As long as Indonesia perceived the growth triangle in terms of functional interdependence in joint economic development at the maritime core of ASEAN, local and regionalized economic cooperation strengthened a common interest in good relations. If, on the other hand, aggressive Singapore private and state capital were to take on exploitative characteristics, threatening to turn Indonesian cheap labor, cheap land, and cheap water hinterland into a colonial-style dependency, the old antagonisms toward Singapore were likely to reemerge in Jakarta.

New interdependencies between Indonesia and Singapore had also been forged in the unlikely area of security cooperation. An unprecedented degree of military cooperation through personnel exchanges, joint military exercises, and a joint air combat range allowed Singapore to demonstrate its value as an ally in a South China Sea security environment. Influential nongovernmental Indonesian voices openly promoted military trilateralism among Indonesia, Singapore, and <"http://worldfacts.us/Malaysia.htm">Malaysia.

In the years after the end of Confrontation, IndonesianMalaysian relations improved as both governments became committed to development and cooperation in ASEAN. This new warmth was reinforced by the natural affinities of race, religion, culture, and language. Irritants such as illegal Indonesian immigrants in Malaysia and Indonesian concerns about Malaysia's export of radical Islamic audio tapes existed, but intensive and extensive bilateral ties generally promoted good relations. Toward the end of the 1980s, however, a distancing between the senior leaderships of the two countries could be discerned as they took different approaches to the problems of interaction with their major trading partners and as Malaysia became uneasy about the developing relations between Singapore and Indonesia. Jakarta's 1992 rejection in ASEAN of Malaysia's East Asian Economic Group scheme underlined the different perceptions of the two capitals, differences that seemed to be growing. At the Nonaligned Movement summit, for example, Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammad's radically South and Islamic stance was in sharp contrast to Suharto's moderate position.


Indonesia - Australia


The most problematic of Indonesia's neighborly relations were those with Australia. The tension inherent in the population differential between the two countries in such close geostrategic proximity was exacerbated by the very different political cultures. Criticism of Indonesia in the 1980s and early 1990s by the Australian press, academics, and politicians provoked angry retorts from Jakarta. For example, a story in the early 1980s about corruption in the president's family in the Sydney Morning Herald led to a temporary banning of Australian journalists from Indonesia. The implicit long-term Indonesian "threat," as it appeared in Australia's defense planning documents, underlined a latent suspicion in Jakarta that Australian policy toward Indonesia was based on fear, not friendship. This perception constantly had to be allayed by official Australian visits to Jakarta. For example, there were bitter diplomatic exchanges between the two countries regarding unruly demonstrations over East Timor at the Indonesian embassy in <"http://worldfacts.us/Australia-Canberra.htm"> Canberra in November and December 1991. Australian prime minister Paul Keating made a point, despite domestic criticism, of separating the Dili incident from Indonesian state policy and visited Jakarta in April 1992. Once there, he announced that bilateral ties between the two countries had "deepened and broadened."


Indonesia - The Philippines


Although a contiguous state and an ASEAN partner, Indonesia's relations with the Philippines were more distant than with its other immediate neighbors. The Philippines' aligned status with the United States and its simmering territorial dispute with Malaysia over the sovereignty of Sabah inhibited a close relationship with Indonesia and other ASEAN members. Most worrisome for Jakarta was the seeming inability of the Philippines' government to put an end to its internal wars. Indonesia viewed the growth of the communist New People's Army as destablizing for the region. Moreover, the Muslim insurrection in the Philippines' south had implications for regional territorial integrity as well as Indonesian Muslim politics.

As the Ferdinand Marcos regime came to an end in 1986, Jakarta associated itself with the other ASEAN states in welcoming a peaceful transfer of power to Corazon Aquino. Jakarta was the first capital visited by the Philippines' new president, unprecedentedly even before Washington, and Suharto took the opportunity to press the urgency of defeating the New People's Army. To show support for Aquino's government, Suharto insisted that the 1987 ASEAN Manila Summit meeting go forward despite apprehensions in other ASEAN capitals about the security situation. Jakarta was not displeased that Aquino was succeeded in 1992 by Fidel Ramos, who, as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and later secretary of national defense, was well-known to ABRI's senior leadership.


Indonesia - China


Indonesia's diplomatic relations with China were suspended in 1967 in the aftermath of the 1965 attempted coup d'�tat. Beijing was suspected of complicity with the PKI in planning the coup and was viewed by the new ABRI-dominated government as a threat through its possible support of a resurgent underground PKI, both directly and through a "fifth column" of Chinese Indonesians. Jakarta repeatedly demanded an explicit disavowal by Beijing of support for communist insurgents in Southeast Asia as its sine qua non for a normalization process. Underlying the Indonesian policy was unease about China's long-range goals in Southeast Asia. The break in relations persisted until 1990, when, in the face of renewed mutual confidence, the two countries resumed their formal ties. The normalized relation boded well for resolving the status of some 300,000 stateless Chinese-descent residents of Indonesia and improving political and economic relations between the two nations. An exchange of visits by Chinese premier Li Peng to Jakarta in August 1990 and by Suharto to Beijing in November 1990 symbolized the dramatic alteration that had taken place.

On the Indonesian domestic scene, there was growing pressure for normalization in order to fully exploit the developing economic relationship with China. Even when relations were totally frozen, two-way trade had taken place through third parties, especially Singapore and Hong Kong. Indonesian businesses operating through the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Indonesia (Kadin) were anxious to maximize the value of the trade by cutting out third parties.

At the international level, at least three factors had intervened to change Indonesia's posture. First, Indonesia, as a vigorous diplomatic player in the Cambodian peace process, had a strong interest in a successful outcome. To achieve that goal, China, the Khmer Rouge's sponsor, had to be brought along, and Indonesia's mediating role was greatly enhanced by normalization of relations with China. Second, Indonesia's long-held ambition to become titular leader of the Nonaligned Movement was furthered by normalization of relations with China, the movement's largest member. Finally, Jakarta's claim to regional leadership could not be asserted confidently without normalized relations with Beijing. For example, it would have been impossible for Indonesia in 1991 to have interjected itself into the South China Sea territorial disputes as an "honest broker" in the absence of relations with China, the most powerful nation involved in the South China Sea . All of these motives were at work at a time when the overarching structure of great power relations in the region was undergoing significant change. As the Soviet Union disintegrated and the United States presence diminished, China's relative power was increased, and Jakarta's need to deal officially with Beijing overcame the worries of the last die-hard anticommunist and anti-China elements in ABRI.


Indonesia - Japan


The quality of Indonesia-Japan relations in 1992 was best measured by statistics on trade, investment, and the flow of assistance. Japan was the destination of more than 50 percent of Indonesia's exports, the single largest foreign investor, and by far the most important donor of development assistance. In return, as the dominant foreign economic presence in Indonesia, Japan was subject to all the expectations and resentments attendant on that status. For example, Indonesia sought greater technology transfer as part of investment. The association of Japanese firms with politically well-connected Indonesians led to charges of exploitation. With their memories of World War II and the antiJapanese demonstrations during Tanaka Kakuei's 1974 visit, the Indonesian leadership was keenly sensitive to the possibility of a disruptive anti-Japanese backlash.

In the long term, the critical issue for Indonesia in the early 1990s was access to Japan's markets for manufactured goods and the debt owed to Japanese lenders. Yet, Indonesia shared the ASEAN-wide concern about the implications for Southeast Asia of Japanese remilitarization and was ambivalent about Japanese military participation in UN peacekeeping operations in Cambodia. From Tokyo's point of view, there was only indirect linkage between Japan's economic presence and the political relationship between the two countries, but Japan was aware of Indonesia's geostrategic straddling of the main commercial routes to the Middle East and Europe. Possibly, this concern explained why Japan seemed the least concerned of Indonesia's major economic partners about the human rights issue in general and East Timor in particular and explicitly rejected the linking of human rights with economic assistance.


Indonesia - United States


Indonesian relations with the United States were generally warm and cordial after the establishment of Suharto's New Order government. In many respects, the United States during the Cold War was the least threatening superpower, assisting the economic recovery of the country both bilaterally and through the IGGI. In 1991 United States trade with Indonesia was greater than its trade with all of Eastern Europe. Despite its professed nonalignment, Indonesia also recognized the importance of the United States military and political presence in Southeast Asia in maintaining the regional balance of power. There were issues, however, which divided the two countries in the early 1990s. The United States rejected Indonesia's archipelagic claims to jurisdiction over the vital deepwater straits linking the Pacific and Indian oceans. During this period, the United States also vigorously opposed Indonesia's efforts to promote the NFZ through ASEAN. On the other hand, Indonesia, like other developing countries in the region, was troubled by what it saw as creeping protectionism in United States trade policy. This concern led to a bruising diplomatic contest over the issue of the protection of intellectual property. Ultimately, Jakarta bent to the implied threat of sanctions specified in United States trade law.

The human rights and East Timor issues continued to irritate political communication between Jakarta and Washington. Indonesia resented the attention given to this issue by the United States Congress, which in turn was roused to action by human rights advocacy groups. For Indonesia, the persistent allegations belied the sincerity of United States protestations about Indonesia's contributions to regional peace and security. Efforts to sanction Indonesia by cutting off military assistance or threatening its Generalized System of Preferences status were viewed in Jakarta as anti-Indonesian. The official United States government position, as stated in March 1992 by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kenneth M. Quinn, was that cutting ties, "would not produce the desired results which we all seek and could have negative consequences: for United States Indonesia relations; for our limited influence in Indonesia; and most importantly, for the people of East Timor." While the United States government wished to work cooperatively with the Indonesian government to promote development and respect for human rights in East Timor, it also had to be able to work productively with the Indonesian government on a broad range of issues because it was an important regional power and one with a growing extra-regional voice.

The United States Congress seemed more reluctant than the executive branch to separate the issue of broader interests with Indonesia from the problem of human rights. Congressional and NGO critics argued that United States policy rested on an out-of-date view of Indonesia's strategic importance now that the Cold War that had ended. Furthermore, these groups asserted that the United States should use its influence to push a democratic agenda. Later in 1992, United States legislation was discussed that would have terminated all of Washington's aid and trade concessions to Jakarta and required the United States to oppose World Bank loans to the country. In reality, only Indonesian participation in the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program was cut--a relatively insignificant sanction in terms of its functional impact on Indonesia's military, but one fraught with negative symbolic value as an expression of United States interests in the bilateral relationship.

In 1996 Indonesia will have ended the third decade of New Order government. By that time, more than halfway through the 1993-98 presidential term of office, the issue of presidential succession might be resolved. This could unblock the political logjam that in the early 1990s seemed to stall the process of domestic political change--keterbukaan--set in motion by the government's development policies. A May 1992 World Bank report stated that by the end of the decade Indonesia would be a middle-income country. This prediction seemed to be on target. Indonesia was beginning to play a middle-power role regionally and even globally in some interest areas. More and more Indonesians were likely to be socialized to the country's modern political culture, which increasingly resembled the newly industrialized economies. The trends seemed to indicate that the stability deemed so necessary for development will depend upon a government more responsive to diversified public interests than simply to those of the ABRI-bureaucracy-presidential palace elite.


CITATION: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. The Country Studies Series. Published 1988-1999.

Please note: This text comes from the Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program. The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.

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