Indonesia's Transformation and the Stability of Southeast Asia

Indonesia's Transformation and the Stability of Southeast Asia

Angel Rabasa
Peter Chalk
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 134
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1344af
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  • Book Info
    Indonesia's Transformation and the Stability of Southeast Asia
    Book Description:

    Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is undergoing a profound transformation that could lead to a variety of outcomes, from the consolidation of democracy to return to authoritarianism or military rule, to radical Islamic rule, or to violent disintegration. The stakes are high, for Indonesia is the key to Southeast Asian security. The authors examine the trends and dynamics that are driving Indonesia's transformation, outline possible strategic futures and their implications for regional stability, and identify options the United States might pursue in the critical challenge of influencing Indonesia's future course. Steps the United States might take now include support for Indonesia's stability and territorial integrity, reestablishment of Indonesian-U.S. military cooperation and interaction, aid in rebuilding a constructive Indonesian role in regional security, and support for development of a regional crisis reaction force. A continued strong U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region will reinforce the U.S. role as regional balancer.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3240-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. FIGURES
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. TABLES
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. SUMMARY
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. ACRONYMS
    (pp. xix-xix)
  9. [Map]
    (pp. xx-xx)
  10. Chapter One INTRODUCTION: THE REGIONAL CONTEXT
    (pp. 1-8)

    Southeast Asia derives its geopolitical importance from the region’s location at the crossroads between the concentration of industrial, technological, and military power in Northeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the oil resources of the Middle East, and Australia and the Southwest Pacific. A high proportion of the trade of Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Australia, including much of their oil imports, transits the straits and sea-lanes of communication in Southeast Asia.¹ From a military perspective, these sea-lanes are critical to the movement of U.S. forces from the Western Pacific to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.

    Southeast...

  11. Chapter Two INDONESIA’S FRAGILE DEMOCRATIC EXPERIMENT
    (pp. 9-20)

    The regional economic crisis aside, the political crisis in Indonesia that brought down Suharto’s New Order regime was the major geopolitical event in Southeast Asia in the past 30 years, comparable in some ways to the events of 1965. The eclipse of Sukarno and the abandonment of Sukarno’s confrontational policy toward Malaysia and the Western powers in the aftermath of the 1965 coup made possible the creation of the new Southeast Asian order. Suharto’s resignation in May 1998 pointed to the unraveling of that order. Suharto’s fall released a new set of political forces and diminished the power of the...

  12. Chapter Three THE EAST TIMOR CRISIS AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
    (pp. 21-26)

    The East Timor crisis was a defining event in the evolution of post-Suharto Indonesia. East Timor’s separation from Indonesia and the manner in which it occurred

    Ended a 25-year policy of integrating East Timor and other outlying islands into a centrally controlled Indonesian state;

    Opened the first major crack in Indonesia’s territorial integrity;¹

    Damaged the credibility of the Habibie government at home; and

    Complicated Indonesia’s relations with some of its key supporters in the international community.

    The East Timor crisis was precipitated by a series of miscalculations on all sides. First, prompted in part by a letter from Australian Prime...

  13. Chapter Four THE CHALLENGE OF SEPARATISM AND ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS CONFLICT
    (pp. 27-46)

    By far the most important question about Indonesia’s future in the post-Suharto era is whether Indonesia will survive in its present configuration or whether it will splinter into its component parts. Other second-order but still critical issues are the prospects for Indonesia’s democratic transformation and the future role of the armed forces.

    The disarray in Jakarta and the separation of East Timor have encouraged secessionist movements in the economically strategic provinces of Aceh, Riau—which produces half of Indonesia’s oil— and Irian Jaya (Papua), the source of an estimated 15 percent of Indonesia’s foreign exchange earnings. In tandem with secessionist...

  14. Chapter Five REINVENTING INDONESIA: THE CHALLENGE OF DECENTRALIZATION
    (pp. 47-52)

    No task is more formidable than managing the process of decentralization, which in the case of Indonesia involves no less than the reinvention of governance. The success or failure of the decentralization process will have a large impact on the fate of Indonesia’s democratic experiment and territorial integrity.

    Conceived at independence as a federated republic, Indonesia under its first two presidents, Sukarno and Suharto, developed in practice into a highly centralized state, with decisionmaking and control of the country’s resources concentrated in the hands of the central government in Jakarta. Regionalist rebellions in eastern Indonesia in 1957 and in West...

  15. Chapter Six THE MILITARY IN TRANSITION
    (pp. 53-66)

    The Indonesian military, known as ABRI (Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia—Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia) under the New Order and renamed TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia—Indonesian National Military) in 1999 is arguably the only institution that cuts across the divisions of Indonesian society. The Indonesian armed forces are approximately 300,000 strong, of which 235,000 are in the army, 47,000 in the navy, and 21,000 in the air force. In addition, the National Police, which was part of the armed forces until its separation in April 1999, numbers about 180,000. The army has long been the dominant military service,...

  16. Chapter Seven ALTERNATIVE INDONESIAN FUTURES
    (pp. 67-76)

    Indonesia’s future will be shaped by the strategic choices made by the country’s principal political actors as they confront the tensions generated by the breakdown of the old order. There are tensions among new political actors and forces trying to sort out new power relationships; between Jakarta and the periphery—never fully suppressed under Suharto’s New Order and fueled by a resentment of Javanese centralism and exploitation; between the indigenous population and ethnic Chinese; between Muslims and religious minorities; between moderate and radical visions of Islam, within the Muslim majority; and between different conceptions of the military’s role in society....

  17. Chapter Eight REGIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF INDONESIAN FUTURES
    (pp. 77-84)

    Indonesia’s evolution could drive the Southeast Asian security environment in either of two directions. A successful democratic transition in Indonesia—to the extent that the Jakarta government retains the benign orientation toward Indonesia’s neighbors established under Suharto—would be factor of stability in Southeast Asia. It could lead to the reconstruction of a Southeast Asian security system grounded on democratic political principles. A stable Southeast Asia, in turn, would translate into reduced opportunities for potential Chinese hegemonism and, by the same token, could facilitate China’s emergence as a more powerful state without destabilizing the regional balance of power.

    How Indonesia...

  18. Chapter Nine MUSLIM SEPARATIST MOVEMENTS IN THE PHILIPPINES AND THAILAND
    (pp. 85-98)

    Separatist violence in the southern Philippines centers around the activities of the Moros,¹ the Muslims on the islands of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago that have historically constituted a stronghold of Islam in Southeast Asia. Four main factors underscore Moro separatist sentiment. First is fear of having religious, cultural, and political traditions weakened (or possibly destroyed) by forced assimilation into a Catholic-dominated Philippine Republic. Second is resentment of Catholic transmigration from the north. This has not only dispossessed many Muslims of what are considered to be ancient and communal land rights, it has also reduced the Moro population to a...

  19. Chapter Ten IMPLICATIONS FOR THE UNITED STATES AND THE U.S. AIR FORCE
    (pp. 99-104)

    The stakes for the United States in Indonesia are enormous. The outcome of Indonesia’s democratic experiment will have a major impact in shaping the security environment in Asia. If Indonesia’s transition to democracy is successful, Indonesia will be the world’s third largest democracy as well as the largest democracy in the Muslim world. A stable, strong, and democratic Indonesia could resume its leadership role in ASEAN, further regional integration on democratic principles, contribute to maintaining stability in Southeast Asia, and deter potential Chinese adventurism.

    On the other hand, democracy in Indonesia may not necessarily foster stability. An unstable democracy could...

  20. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 105-116)