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President Obama in Jakarta
November 9-10, 2010














A Country Study: Indonesia





 Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1949.

Diplomatic relations were established on December 28, 1949,
when U.S. Ambassador H. Merle Cochran presented his credentials to President Sukarno.
Ambassador Cochran had previously been the U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission for Indonesia.




Embassy of the United States - Jakarta



Chiefs of Mission for Indonesia

Horace Merle Cochran (1949-1953)

Paul Dundes Wolfowitz (1986-1989)

Hugh Smith Cumming (1953-1957)

John Cameron Monjo (1989-1992)

John Moore Allison (1957-1958)

Robert Louis Barry (1992-1995)

Howard Palfrey Jones (1958-1965)

J. Stapleton Roy (1995-1999)

Marshall Green (1965-1969)

Robert S. Gelbard (1999-2001)

Francis Joseph Galbraith (1969-1974)

Ralph Leo Boyce (2001-2004)

David Dunlap Newsom (1973-1977)

B. Lynn Pascoe (2004-)

Edward E. Masters (1977-1981)

Cameron R. Hume (2007-2010)

John Herbert Holdridge (1982-1986)

Scot Alan Marciel (2010-)




US Ambassador Robert O. Blake Jr

US eases visa process for RI citizens
Yohanna Ririhena, The Jakarta Post
February 04 2014, 9:51 AM

Aiming at expanding people-to-people cooperation between the two nations, US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert O. Blake Jr., said US visa applications would be more accessible.

Blake, who presented his credentials to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday, brushed aside the widespread perception that — for Indonesians — US visas were very difficult to secure.

“Sometimes I hear Indonesians say it is hard to get a visa. I want to say very categorically that that is not true,” Blake said during a discussion with the media at his residence on Monday.

Blake cited the fact that the US Embassy in Jakarta had approved most of the visa applications it processed.

“Specifically, 98 percent of Indonesians that applied for student visas […] received those visas. Likewise, 92 percent of those who applied to travel to the US were granted their visas,” he added.

US visa denial is a widespread perception, particularly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, with many applicants complaining they were given no clear reason for the rejection.

The situation has also been reflected in the number of Indonesian students applying to study at US universities under US government grants: The number dropped after the attacks in 2001, due to the US’ more stringent visa application process.

Blake emphasized that the vast majority of applicants received visas much quicker now. “It takes on average less than two days to get an appointment and get the visa approved. The applicant then receives the visa within three days. It is very short,” he said.

“I want to extend my warm welcome to all Indonesians who wish to travel to the US, not only students but also tourists and businesspeople.”

Easing the visa application process is part of the US’ efforts to increase people-to-people contact after President Barack Obama and Yudhoyono launched the Indonesia-US Comprehensive Partnership in November 2010.

“Four years after Obama-Yudho-yono signed the comprehensive partnership, the US-RI has an unprecedented level of cooperation,” Blake noted.

Blake who previously served as ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives from 2006 to 2009 also laid out economic cooperation and climate change collaboration to be his priorities over the course of his term in Indonesia.

Both countries need to increase economic opportunities and to expand two way trade and investment.

A recent study commissioned by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US Agency for International
Development reported that between 2004-2012 US foreign direct investment in Indonesia reached US$65 billion

“I certainly want to continue to build upon that positive record,” he said.

Regarding climate change, the US would support Indonesia’s efforts to reduce green gas emissions, he said. In 2009, Yudhoyono pledged, with foreign help, to reduce green gas emissions by 41 percent by 2020.

“The US is pleased to partner with RI to provide help to achieve that goal,” said the ambassador.

















Embassy espionage in Canberra

Leading intelligence and security academic Prof. Des Ball discusses the history of embassy spying and says Australia is a target in our own capital.

Federal politics: full coverage
Analysis: We're battling to keep quiet about all our secrets


Exposed: Australia's Asia spy network
October 31, 2013

Australian embassies are being secretly used to intercept phone calls and data across Asia as part of a US-led global spying network, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden and a former Australian intelligence officer.
The top secret Defence Signals Directorate operates the clandestine surveillance facilities at embassies without
the knowledge of most Australian diplomats.

The revelations come as the US has been left red-faced by news it has been eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
US President Barack Obama is said to be on the verge of ordering a halt to spying on the heads of allied governments
following the international outcry.

Fairfax Media has been told that signals intelligence collection takes place from embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi,
Beijing and Dili, and High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, as well as other diplomatic posts.
A secret US National Security Agency document leaked by Mr Snowden and published by Germany's Der Speigel reveals
the existence of a highly sensitive signals intelligence collection program conducted from sites at US embassies and
consulates and from the diplomatic missions of other "Five eyes" intelligence partners including Australia, Britain and Canada.

Codenamed STATEROOM, the program involves the interception of radio, telecommunications and internet traffic.
The document explicitly states that the Australian Defence Signals Directorate operates STATEROOM facilities "at Australian diplomatic facilities".
The document notes that the surveillance facilities "are small in size and in number of personnel staffing them".
"They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned," the document says.

The National Security Agency document also observed the facilities were carefully concealed: "For example antennas are sometimes hidden in false architectural features or roof maintenance sheds."
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment on the potential diplomatic implications of the disclosure.
A departmental spokesperson said: "It is the long-standing practice of Australian governments not to comment on intelligence matters."

The leaked NSA document does not identify the location of specific Defence Signals Directorate facilities overseas.
However, a former Australian Defence Intelligence officer has told Fairfax Media the directorate conducts surveillance operations from Australian embassies across Asia and the Pacific.
The former intelligence officer said the interception facility at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta played an important role in collecting intelligence on terrorist threats and people-smuggling, "but the main focus is political, diplomatic and economic intelligence".
"The huge growth of mobile phone networks has been a great boon and Jakarta's political elite are a loquacious bunch; even
when they think their own intelligence services are listening they just keep talking," the source said.

He said the Australian Consulate in Denpasar, Bali, has also been used for signals intelligence collection.
In June the East Timorese government complained publicly about Australian spying, including communications interception
and bugging government offices during negotiations on the future of the Timor Gap oil and gas reserves.
Intelligence leaks to the media in the 1980s disclosed installation of ''extraordinarily sophisticated'' intercept equipment in Australia's High Commission in Port Moresby and in the Australian embassies in Jakarta and Bangkok.
Further leaks of top secret Defence Intelligence reports on Indonesia and East Timor in 1999 also indicated that Australia intelligence has extensive access to sensitive Indonesian military and civilian communications.

Intelligence expert Des Ball said the Defence Signals Directorate had long co-operated with the US in monitoring
the Asia-Pacific region, including using listening posts in embassies and consulates.
"Knowing what our neighbours are really thinking is important for all sorts of diplomatic and trade negotiations," Professor Ball told Fairfax Media.




Outrage Over NSA Spying Spreads to Asia

By Zachary Keck
October 31, 2013

The controversy over the U.S. National Security Agency’s global espionage operations appears to be spreading to Asia, where it is already sparking outrage among some of America’s allies and partner states.

Readers will recall that the NSA story began in Asia when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden first fled to Hong Kong immediately before news organizations began publishing stories about the documents he leaked. During Snowden’s brief stay in Hong Kong, some stories came to light about U.S. spying operations in Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Although these attracted a lot of attention in China, they failed to garner much interest elsewhere amid Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s domestic spying operations and his dramatic stay in Moscow's airport. Ultimately, no one was particularly surprised to learn the U.S. was spying on China.

Since that time, Asia has remained largely on the periphery of the NSA controversy, which has more prominently focused on the agency's domestic operations as well as ones targeting Latin America and European countries. One of the only major exceptions to this came in early July when it was revealed that the NSA was spying on 38 foreign embassies in DC, including key U.S. allies and partners in Asia such as South Korea, Japan, and India.

Events over the last month or so, and especially in the last week, strongly suggest the NSA controversy is starting to engulf the Asia-Pacific as well.
Some of the NSA’s troubles in Asia began last week when reports emerged claiming the U.S. had monitored the communications of 35 world leaders. This immediately prompted some Asian nations, notably South Korea, to demand information on whether their leaders were among the 35 being monitored.
“We are checking with the U.S. side for verification,” an unnamed South Korean official told local media outlets, referring to whether or not South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun was among those being spied on by the U.S. back in 2006. The official added: “The government is closely following the issue and is determined to respond strictly.”

Other countries were more confident they had evaded the NSA’s detection. India, for instance, said there was no cause for concern that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been one of the world leaders the NSA was monitoring. “The Prime Minister doesn't use a mobile phone and he doesn't have an email account,” a spokesperson for Singh’s office explained. “His office uses email, but he has no personal email… We have no information and no cause for concern.”
This contrasted sharply from where India stood just a month ago. At that time, Edward Snowden provided documents to The Hindu which, according to the newspaper, showed that of the five BRICS nations, the NSA spied on India the most. Overall, India ranked as the fifth most targeted country by the U.S. signals intelligence agency (Pakistan was reportedly the second most targeted behind Iran).

Around the same time that The Guardian reported the NSA had monitored 35 world leaders, Kyodo News reported that the NSA approached the Japanese government in 2011 about tapping optical fiber cables carrying phone and internet communications that pass through Japan on their way to other destinations in the Asia-Pacific. According to the report, which was based on information first published in The Guardian, Tokyo rejected the NSA’s requests citing a lack of legislative authority and personnel.
The same cannot be said about Australia, which is one of four English-speaking countries who have bilateral agreements with the U.S. not to spy on each other and also have a multilateral signal intelligence gathering alliance known informally as the "Five Eyes." In late August it was reported that Australia’s Signals Directorate has, in partnership with its American and British counterparts, been tapping underwater fiber optic cables that carry information across Asia and parts of the Middle East and Europe.

In following up on this revelations, Australian newspapers were told by former and current Australian officials that Singapore is intimately involved in the tapping of fiber optic cables as well. When asked about the usefulness of the fiber optic cable operation, one former Australian Defense intelligence officer told Fairfax Media that it gives the parties involved a “stranglehold on communications across the Eastern Hemisphere.”

Following up on these initial revelations, new Snowden inspired reports this week show that Australian embassies throughout the Asia-Pacific are secretly used to gather signals intelligence that is shared with the NSA. Earlier this week a report in the German daily Der Spiegel revealed a program codenamed STATEROOM where U.S. and other "Five Eye" nations' embassies and consulates around the world are used to collect signals intelligence on their host countries, often without the knowledge of most of the diplomats stationed at the embassy or consulate. The document directly named Australia’s’ Signals Directorate as one of the participants in the program, although it didn't provide many details about the extent of its involvement.

Based on this report, The Sydney Morning Herald reported earlier this week that the NSA maintains signal intelligence equipment at its embassies in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Yangon, but not in its embassies in "Five Eye" nations New Zealand and Australia, or at the U.S. embassies in Japan and Signapore.
It also said that China is by far the NSA’s main target in Asia.

On Thursday, the SMH published another extensive article detailing Australia’s role in the STATEROOM program.
“Fairfax Media [which owns the SMH] has been told that signals intelligence collection takes place from [Australian] embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili, and High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, as well as other diplomatic posts,” the report said.

A former Australian intelligence officer quoted in the report said that STATEROOM operations in Indonesia have been particularly successful.
“The huge growth of mobile phone networks has been a great boon and Jakarta's political elite are a loquacious bunch; even when they think their own intelligence services are listening they just keep talking,” the former officer told Fairfax Media.

The report goes on to note that this is hardly the first time Australia has been caught using its embassies to spy on Asian neighbors. In one of the many previous incidents recounted in the SMH report, during the 1980s leaks to the media revealed that Australia had extremely sophisticated signals intelligence equipment installed in its embassies in Jakarta and Bangkok.
This doesn’t appear to have made the target countries any less offended by the latest revelations of spying, however. Even before the Thursday SMH report was published, Indonesia blasted the U.S. on Tuesday for the initial Der Spiegel report. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the issue had been raised with the U.S. chargé d'affaires in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city.

"Indonesia cannot accept and protests strongly over the report about wiretapping facilities at the US embassy in Jakarta. If confirmed, such action is not only a breach of security, but also a serious breach of diplomatic norms and ethics and certainly not in the spirit of friendly relations between nations,” Marty told reporters.

Not surprisingly, China is also strongly protesting the information contained in the leaks.
"China is severely concerned about the reports, and demands a clarification and explanation," a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in response to the new reports.
The U.S. State Department has also listed South Korea and India as two of the handful of countries it is now directly consulting with regarding the latest Snowden leaks.

Image credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed






Being Watched, Indonesia Seeks Answers
October 31, 2013.
Indonesia has demanded the United States formally clarify a news report that its embassy in Jakarta has been used as a base to hack into the electronic communications of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other Indonesian leaders.
Indonesian experts and lawmakers have asked the government to stand up to the US, and to take stern actions, including sending home several American diplomats or scale back Indonesia’s diplomatic mission in that country.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported — quoting intelligence data leaked by US intelligence whistle-blower Edward Snowden and several Australian officials — that the US Embassy in Jakarta was one of the super power’s 90 surveillance facilities worldwide used to monitor “nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet” including e-mailing, web browsing, Internet searches and social media.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa called on Wednesday for Kristen Bauer, the US Embassy’s charge d’affaires, to confirm whether there was any credibility to the news.
“Indonesia can’t accept it and has lodged a strong protest on the news that there are wiretapping facilities inside the US Embassy in Jakarta,” Marty said in a statement sent to the Jakarta Globe.

The Herald also reported, late on Wednesday, that the Australian Embassy in Jakarta was being used for the same illegal purposes of spying on Indonesian officials. An Indonesian official said the Australian ambassador will be summoned to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s office to provide an explanation.
Australian intelligence sources confirmed to Fairfax Media that Australia’s electronic espionage agency, the Defense Signals Directorate, is a “full partner” in the program, which they said “overwhelmingly harvests diplomatic, political and economic intelligence, not just information relating to terrorism and security.”

The operations are said to take up an entire room within the embassy compound and that local telephone calls can be listened to at will.

Getting the US to explain
As for the US in the meantime, Marty has asked for an explanation from US officials.
“I have talked with the US Embassy charge d’affaires and demand an official explanation from the US government on the news,” Marty said. “If it’s confirmed, then the activities are not just security breaches but also a serious violation of diplomatic norms and ethics. It’s certainly against the spirit of interstate friendship,” he added.

Bauer is temporary representing the US as Robert Balke, the designated ambassador to Jakarta, has yet to arrive in the city.
During Marty’s phone call to Bauer, the charge d’affaires was only listening, said an official, who asked for anonymity.
“She can’t say anything because she has to report back to Washington. That’s why we are now waiting for the US response,” the unidentified official said.
He said that whatever the answer, Indonesia would ask the US not to conduct any illegal surveillance with the country in the future, and would demand a political commitment to respect the friendship that Indonesia and the US have forged so far.

When contacted by the Jakarta Globe, US Embassy press attache Troy Pederson confirmed that the charge d’affaires has spoken with the Indonesian foreign ministry about the matter.
“We will continue to address these issues in diplomatic channels with our partners and allies,” he said.
Fachry Ali, a senior political expert at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, said the damage has been done on the image of the US, and that Indonesia — as well as many countries in the world — has lost trust on whatever the US has to say and do.

“It’s against human rights — illegal and an attack on our sovereignty. So what else is left? We probably will keep on suspecting the US diplomats even when we do something together,” he said. “Indonesia should be tougher on this issue.”

Ethically wrong
Hikmahanto Juwana, a law professor at the University of Indonesia, said actions by the US were against international ethics and law.
“There are a number of measures to show that we can’t accept such conduct. We can expel several US diplomats or scale down our representation in the US. But the question is do we dare to do such things?” he said.
Hikmahanto said Jakarta’s reaction would most likely only be aimed at taming public anger, and should the US provide an explanation, do nothing.
He said Indonesia should be more cautious in the future when having to work together with the US.
“BIN [Indonesian Intelligence Agency] should actively do its own part to prevent such massive wiretapping from happening again,” he said.

While Indonesia awaits a US response, it also seeks an explanation from Australia on alleged spying activities.
Fairfax Media, the owner of the Herald, has been told that Australia’s collection of signals intelligence takes place from embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili, and High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, as well as other diplomatic posts.

A secret US National Security Agency document leaked by Snowden and published by Germany’s Der Spiegel reveals the existence of a highly sensitive signals intelligence collection program conducted from sites at US embassies and consulates and from the diplomatic missions of other “five eyes” intelligence partners including Australia, Britain and Canada.
Code named “Stateroom,” the program involves the interception of radio, telecommunications and internet traffic.
The document explicitly states that the Australian Defense Signals Directorate operates Stateroom facilities “at Australian diplomatic facilities.”

Surveillance in small size
The document notes that the surveillance facilities “are small in size and in number of personnel staffing them.”
“They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned,” the document says.

The NSA document also observed that the facilities were carefully concealed. “For example antennas are sometimes hidden in false architectural features or roof maintenance sheds,” according to the report.
A former Australian Defense Intelligence Organization officer told Fairfax Media that the interception facility at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta played an important role in collecting intelligence on terrorist threats and people-smuggling, “but the main focus is political, diplomatic and economic intelligence.”
“The huge growth of mobile phone networks has been a great boon and Jakarta’s political elite are a loquacious bunch; even when they think their own intelligence services are listening they just keep talking,” the source said.
He said the Australian Consulate in Denpasar, Bali, has also been used for signals intelligence collection.

An Indonesian official said Indonesia would lodge a similar complaint with the Australian Embassy today.
“Yes, we will also ask for clarification on the news,” the official, who declined to be named, said.
It’s not the first time that intelligence gathering in Jakarta by other nations has come to the fore.

Intelligence leaks to the media in the 1980s disclosed an installation of “extraordinarily sophisticated’’ interception equipment in Australia’s High Commission in Port Moresby and in the Australian Embassies in Jakarta and Bangkok.
Further leaks of top-secret defense intelligence reports on Indonesia and East Timor in 1999 also indicated that Australia intelligence had extensive access to sensitive Indonesian military and civilian communications.



Indonesia, Thailand Ask U.S. About Allegations of Spying

By I Made Sentana, Nopparat Chaichalearmmongkol and Abhrajit Gangopadhyay
Thursday, October 31, 2013

Indonesia and Thailand said Wednesday that they are asking the U.S. about allegations it used its embassies for telephone eavesdropping and other spying, expressing alarm should the reports be accurate.


However, a State Department spokesperson said, “We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, and as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.
“At President Obama’s direction, we’ve begun to review the way that we gather intelligence, so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share. The United States takes the concerns of the international community seriously and has been regularly consulting with affected partners.”

The media reports about alleged snooping out of some U.S. embassies in Southeast Asia surfaced as the U.S. is embroiled in controversy for spying on dozens of world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The acknowledgement of the practice has caused friction between the U.S. and some of its allies and sparked outrage on social media about the extent of the U.S. intelligence-gathering around the world. In a new development, France and Spain were drawn into the uproar after U.S. officials said that the European countries had collected millions of phone records and then handed them over to its National Security Agency.

Thailand’s National Security Council secretary-general, Paradorn Pattanatabut, said it hasn’t helped U.S. intelligence agencies with electronic eavesdropping.
“That will be against Thai laws related to the protection of rights,” said the security-general said, adding that he had no independent confirmation of U.S. spying on the Thai government. He said Thai national security-related agencies have been put on alert about the possibility.
“We will have to communicate with the U.S. that such an act is really the violation of rights and a crime under Thai laws,” he said. “Thailand does have strict control over right violations while being careful about international relations. Anyhow, we believe that Thailand the U.S. still enjoy good and cordial relations.”

Thai Deputy government spokesperson Sunisa Lertpakawat called the allegations “sensitive.”
She added, “[N] ational security-related agencies are looking into the matter. While this should not really affect Thailand’s national security directly, phone-tapping [spying] is not right and should never be implemented. Every country has their own sovereignty and the world community should respect that.”

The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has called the U.S. asking whether the media reports of alleged snooping are accurate.
“[We] have sought official explanation from [the] U.S. through its charge d’affaires in Jakarta and [lodged] strong protest,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa told The Wall Street Journal. “If confirmed, [alleged telephone eavesdropping and other spying] would constitute an unacceptable and serious breach of trust and confidence, [c]ertainly not in keeping with friendly ties and relations.”

In Malaysia, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim seized the media reports to bash Prime Minister Najib Razak, who did not publicly address the allegations.
“I think the Malaysian intelligence, in particular the prime minister, should not be seen to be so submissive and not prepared to say anything,” Mr. Anwar said. “They must lodge a protest. [T] here is no reason for any country, foreign country, whether it’s United States or any other country to be involved in any internal espionage in any country.”





John Kerry at APEC 2013








RI central in US rebalancing
Bagus BT Saragih
Tue, August 27 2013

The US commitment to sell eight advanced attack helicopters to Indonesia reflects the superpower’s acknowledgment of Southeast Asia’s biggest economy as its most important partner in its pivot to the Asia-Pacific region.

The deal to sell Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters worth US$500 million to the Indonesian Military (TNI), which includes pilot training, radars and maintenance, was disclosed after a bilateral meeting between Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Defense Ministry headquarters on Monday.

In spite of the TNI’s human rights record in Papua and a recent raid on a civilian prison by members of the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus) in Yogyakarta, Hagel said Washington was determined to help Jakarta build its military capability.
“A strong Indonesia is good for the region,” Hagel said. “I welcome the progress Indonesia has made in improving transparency and the protection of human rights.”
Hagel had earlier been briefed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Moeldoko on the Cebongan Penitentiary raid in Yogyakarta in March, Purnomo said. “Since I was able to get the current status [of the case] and was able to express the point of view of the US on this, and because it has been before the courts [...] that’s all I can say about it for now,” Hagel said when asked about the incident.

The US has been seeking to bolster ties with Southeast Asian nations as part of the US “pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific region amid concerns about China’s growing assertiveness.
Hagel said that the US would stay on its course in Asia-Pacific despite crises in other parts of the world.

“[US] President Barrack Obama a couple of years ago put forward the rebalancing of America’s relationship priorities in the world, it is focused very much on Asia Pacific, an area which is particularly important to the future of the US,” Hagel said.
He said that the rebalancing did not concern only security issues.
“This rebalance is not just about security, it’s not just about enhancing military relationships, although that’s important, but it’s also focused on our diplomatic relationships, our economic, trade, commercial, cultural and educational relationships.”

Jakarta was Hagel’s second stop on his week-long Southeast Asian tour after Kuala Lumpur. He is expected to attend the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus in Brunei Darussalam from Aug. 27 to 29, after which he will travel to the Philippines.
Hagel also paid a courtesy visit to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono whom he applauded for his impressive leadership in the region and in many international forums.

The President told Hagel about Jakarta’s concerns over the situation in Egypt and Syria. Yudhoyono, however, did not discuss Washington’s plans to launch military action against Syria, presidential spokesman for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah said.
Commenting on the US rebalancing policy, Faizasyah said that Indonesia would always be open to any kind of diplomatic engagement with the objective of boosting prosperity in the region.

“We regard US policy in the Asia -Pacific region [as logical] because it shares common interests with us, not to mention its historical role in World War II among other things. But if we focus on the economic context it is mutually beneficial, the rebalancing is not something to be afraid of,” he said.
Faizasyah brushed off suggestions that the US viewed its presence in Southeast Asia as a counter to China’s assertiveness in the region. “We are not adopting the so-called ‘suspicious approach’. But we must see that there is no single country dominating the region, thus every nation has the right to play its role in establishing a stable and economically developed region. In this sense no nation will want to sacrifice stability or rule out such benefits,” he said.

Hagel said the US had allocated $90 million for foreign military financing and international military education and training programs in Southeast Asia, an increase of more than 50 percent compared to four years ago.
He also said that he supported ASEAN’s efforts to start formal negotiations on a binding code of conduct for the South China Sea.








As Part of Pact, U.S. Marines Arrive in Australia, in China’s Strategic Backyard
Published: April 4, 2012

SYDNEY, Australia — Defense Minister Stephen Smith greeted about 180 Marines in the northern coast city of Darwin on Wednesday, presiding at a welcome ceremony for the first of 2,500 American troops to be deployed here under an agreement increasing the American military presence in China’s strategic backyard.

The Marines will engage in training exercises with the Australian Defense Force during their six-month rotation as part of the agreement signed in November by President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The pact is part of the president’s publicly stated strategy of shifting the American military’s long-term focus toward the Pacific and an increasingly assertive China. Beijing has accused Mr. Obama of escalating military tensions in the region.

Ahead of the welcome ceremony, Mr. Smith touched on the changing regional dynamics during an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“We see this very much as responding and reflecting the fact that the world is moving into our part of the world, the world is moving to the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean,” Mr. Smith said. “We need to respond to that. The world needs to essentially come to grips with the rise of China, the rise of India, the move of strategic and political and economic influence to our part of the world.”

The United States has had military bases in the North Pacific since the end of World War II, but its presence in Southeast Asia was greatly diminished in the early 1990s.
Strengthened ties with Australia, one of Washington’s foremost allies, will restore a substantial American footprint near the South China Sea, a major commercial shipping route that has been increasingly the focus of Chinese territorial disputes.
There has been speculation here in recent weeks about what form any further regional military cooperation between the longtime allies would take.

Ms. Gillard last week confirmed that discussions with Washington were under way about the possibility of flying long-range American surveillance drones from the remote Cocos Islands — an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean — but said no substantial progress had been made on the issue.
A spokesman for Mr. Smith told the newspaper The Australian that the top three priorities to come out of last year’s bilateral agreement were the deployment of the Marines over five years, the greater use of Australian Air Force bases for American aircraft and, in the longer term, the prospect of increased ship and submarine visits to the Indian Ocean through a naval base outside Perth, on the country’s west coast.

Jeffrey Bleich, the American ambassador to Australia, was quick to dismiss what seemed to be a growing news media consensus here that the increased military presence in the region was aimed primarily at containing China.
“There’s this kind of sexy, fun narrative that you hear from pundits and others trying to suggest this is about China, but it’s not,” he said in an interview with Sky TV over the weekend. “If you just look at the Darwin decision, for example, we’ve had our Marines stationed in Central Asia, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are mostly an amphibious force. So they need to start training and doing amphibious maneuvers again, and we’re looking for the best place to do it and the best partners to do it with, and Darwin is an ideal spot for it.”

But Michael Fullilove, director of the Global Issues Program at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that addressing China’s recent assertiveness was definitely one of the major aspects of the policy.
Australia views the presence of American forces in the region as a counterbalance to what it sees as China’s sometimes erratic foreign policy, he said.

“Given that we know that rising powers can disrupt the system,” he said, “it makes sense to balance against the risk of future Chinese recklessness by keeping the U.S. engaged in the region. The more that power can be diffused so that it is spread across different capitals, the less likely you are to have unreasonable actions where one power ignores the other’s needs.”


Chinese anger at US base in Australia
China has criticised a new permanent American military base in Australia, accusing the two countries of having a “Cold War mentality.

By Malcolm Moore, Beijing
16 May 2012

Bob Carr, the Australian Foreign minister, said he was grilled about the new base during three high-level meetings in Beijing, including in one with Yang Jiechi, his Chinese counterpart.
“The most objective way of saying it is my three Chinese partners invited me to talk about enhanced Australian defence cooperation with the United States,” said Mr Carr. “I think their view can be expressed that the time for Cold War alliances have long since past,” he added.

“Australia's view of course is that an American presence in the Asia-Pacific has helped underpin stability there and created a climate in which the peaceful economic development, including that of China, has been able to occur.”
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However, Song Xiaojun, a prominent Chinese Defence strategist and former People’s Liberation Army officer, told the Sydney Morning Herald that Australia could not juggle its friendships with China and the United States indefinitely, and needed to pick its side.
“Australia has to find a godfather sooner or later,” said Mr Song. “[It] depends on who is more powerful and based on the strategic environment.” Roughly a quarter of all Australian exports are sent to China.

The first batch of 2,500 US Marines to be deployed in Australia arrived in the northern city of Darwin in April, as the US seeks to bolster its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
America is also building closer ties with several South East Asian countries, a strategy that has prompted a sharp response, and accusations of “encirclement” from China.

While the number of US Marines on Australian soil is relatively modest, Australia has suggested it may also allow the US to run long-distance drone missions from its territory and that aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines may be stationed in the western city of Perth.
China criticised the new base when it was first announced by Barack Obama and Julia Gillard last November. “It may not be quite appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances and may not be in the interest of countries within this region,” said Liu Weimin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, adding that it was the US, not China, that was seeking to use military power to influence events in Asia.

The Global Times, a nationalist state-run newspaper, warned Australia in an editorial that it should not allow the US to “harm China” and that it risked getting “caught in the cross fire” between the two superpowers.



Subject : Amerika Takut "Soekarno Operation" di Indonesia 2014 ?

Posted By: Satrio Aris Munandar
Wed Apr 18, 2012

Dibalik Pengerahan Pasukan AS di Darwin, Australia
Ada sinyalemen beberapa tokoh politik di Indonesia mulai menjadikan dokumen-dokumen kontrak Bung Karno tahun 1960 terhadap sektor migas sebagai materi UU Migas yang baru pada perseteruan politik menjelang Kampanye
Pemilu 2012.

Beberapa tokoh politik penting bahkan akan menjadikan isu UU Migas berkedaulatan dengan role model Venezuela sebagai kampanye politiknya. Tindakan ini belum mencuat ke publik karena beberapa tokoh ini sedang melakukan negosiasi politik
dengan berbagai pihak untuk mendukung aksi gagasan politik Bung Karno terhadap UU Migas.

Mereka menyebut ini dengan kode politik : "Sukarno Operation". Beberapa penggede politik yang berasal dari
Partai Konservatif juga mulai banyak menyetujui ide agresif UU Migas yang baru.

Munculnya isu 'Sukarno Operation' membuat Amerika Serikat berkeputusan memperkuat pangkalan militernya di Darwin, Australia, alasannya adalah 'sengketa dengan RRC' tapi yang tidak banyak orang tau, bahwa kehadiran pasukan Marinir AS adalah bagian dari antisipasi perkembangan politik di Indonesia.

Menurut hitung-hitungan mereka, di tahun 2014, tokoh politik lama 60% sudah menghilang, tokoh politik lama ini terdiri dari
orang-orang yang memiliki hubungan erat dengan Amerika Serikat, memiliki koneksi langsung dengan Washington dan sangat Amerika Sentris. Sementara di lain pihak mulai muncul generasi muda politik baru yang mulai mengakar,
menyusul hancurnya sistem politik muda bentukan partai besar yang korup.
Generasi muda korup ini dicemooh dan tidak mendapatkan tempat di kalangan aktivis, walaupun mungkin di kalangan rakyat masih banyak pendukungnya.

Menurut data pula, pada Pemilu 2014 tidak lagi diramaikan artis-artis televisi yang dungu secara politik dan tidak mengerti
ilmu sejarah, geopolitik, Hukum dan Tata Negara. Pada Pemilu 2014 mulai muncul generasi baru yang paham ilmu politik, sejarah, geopolitik dan ilmu yang mendukung bernegara secara agresif dan konstitusional. Kelompok ini rata-rata
bergaris kiri, militan dan berpaham dasar sosialis.

Kelompok ini akan serius profesional di bidang politik. Penguasaan modal yang sejak tahun 2000-an dikuasai penerus Orde Baru lewat akuisisi perusahaan murah jaman BPPN dulu, dan kini jadi pengusaha mapan, mulai dibidik lewat ancaman nasionalisasi dan gebukan pajak oleh kelompok kiri.

Kelompok kiri yang awalnya tidak memiliki pendanaan politik, mulai mendapatkan pendanaan lewat gerakan rakyat diam-diam, dan beberapa penggede partai yang awalnya sangat kanan, juga diam-diam mulai beralih ke kiri.
Beberapa partai besar bahkan mulai memasukkan anggaran dasar rumah tangga mereka menjadi warna kiri dengan sentrum yang mengacu Pasal 33 UUD 1945.

Gerakan infiltrasi kiri dan sosialisme inilah yang amat mengancam kepentingan asing, gerakan ini akan meledak dan menjadi trend di tahun 2016. Sementara kelompok konglomerasi dan neoliberal semakin terpojok posisinya karena tak mampu merembes di kalangan rakyat. Kelompok lama yang dulu begitu menguasai peta politik Indonesia selama lebih dari 50 tahun, mulai terkikis dan mengarahkan seluruh daya kekuatan politiknya untuk ikut-ikutan ke kiri.

Kelompok muda Kiri ini punya hubungan langsung ke Venezuela, Cina dan Rusia juga punya basis massa yang kuat. Kegiatan mereka amat teratur, terorganisir dan bakal mengagetkan banyak pihak. Acuan politik mereka adalah Sukarnoisme. Apabila sepuluh tahun sebelumnya mereka sangat gandrung dengan Stalin, dengan Lenin, dengan Mao, mereka mengacu pada pemikiran Gramsci atau Trotsky, kini mereka sangat hapal dan lihai menjadikan alat Sukarnoisme dan Tan Malaka sebagai bentuk paling material perjuangan politik mereka.

Kelompok ini sangat militan dan menjadikan hukum-hukum revolusi Sukarno sebagai doktrin baku, total dan harga mati.
Perjuangan mereka adalah menasionalisasi sumber-sumber daya alam ke dalam struktur negara, basis argumentasi mereka adalah Pasal 33 UUD 1945.
Mereka tidak takut dengan perang melawan AS, mereka adalah generasi muda baru yang tercerahkan. Jaringan politik mereka merangkai ke seluruh lini partai politik dan ormas mulai dari sekuler sampai agama, tapi sampai sekarang mereka tidak terbaca kekuatannya.

Pemerintahan Amerika Serikat sangat takut dengan kekuatan ini, mereka sudah mengantisipasi jangan sampai Indonesia jadi 'Bolivia kedua' suatu negara satelit AS yang kemudian terpengaruh paham Chavezian.
Adanya pangkalan militer di Darwin bagi kelompok muda ini juga menyalahi aturan KIAPMA, KIAPMA adalah nama Konferensi yang pernah digelar Bung Karno, sebagai bentuk Konferensi Internasional Anti Pangkalan Militer Asing.

Bersiaplah Indoenesia memasuki jaman politik baru yang keras, sebuah fase paling genting dari Demokrasi Liberal.




US marine 'base' is a mistake, says Fraser
Date April 24, 2012
Daniel Flitton - Senior Correspondent

THE former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser says the new American marine "base" near Darwin is a mistake, and that Australia's grovelling to Washington is hampering ties with Asia.
In a strongly worded submission to the federal government's white paper on future relations with Asia, Mr Fraser has criticised Australia's subservience to the US as a product of misguided assumptions America offers a security guarantee.

"Over 20 years now we have given the impression of doing that which America wants," Mr Fraser writes.
"Over 20 years now we have given the impression of doing that which America wants" ... Malcolm Fraser. Photo: Justin McManus

"We seem to believe that our security can be best assured if we do what we can to win brownie points with the US. This is a mistaken assumption.
''No country can really win brownie points with great powers. Great powers follow their own national interests and we should follow ours."

Mr Fraser is highly critical of the deployment of US marines in the Northern Territory, saying it fuels Chinese concerns over a policy of containment. He also dismisses claims by Labor and the Obama administration that the presence of the marines does not amount to a "base".

"For America to say that 2500 troops do not constitute a base is nonsense, indeed a fabrication," Mr Fraser writes.
"In military terms, a base does not have to be bricks and mortar. If 2500 troops are stationed in a particular place then the language makes it quite plain that they are based in that place. It is a base.
"To say that they are just passing through and that it is not a base is deceptive and misleading. It sends the wrong message, not only to China, but to countries like Indonesia."
He told the Herald he was also concerned Australia would lose more of its independence in Asia should the US turn Cocos Island into a base for unmanned surveillance drones, as reported last month in The Washington Post.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, commissioned a white paper last year guided by the former head of Treasury, Ken Henry, titled Australia in the Asian Century.
Mr Fraser said he had only decided to put his thoughts on paper after the marines' presence in Darwin was announced and reports of plans for a US military presence in the Cocos Islands emerged.
In his submission, he said he was not against the US alliance but for Australian independence.

He said in assessing what to do in the future, Australia should conscious of our history and a dependence on Britain before World War II: "We believed that Britain would be able to secure our future," he writes. "It never occurred to us that Britain would be so preoccupied, so beleaguered, that in a situation of emergency she would not be able to help."




US-Indonesian Relations: A Balancing Act
Daniel Bodirsky - Jun 04, 12

With increased Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea and a re-posturing of U.S. focus towards East Asia, the most powerful Southeast Asian state finds itself at a crossroads as it seeks to balance long-standing relations with the U.S. and the growing importance of its relationship with China, says Daniel Bodirsky of Geopoliticalmonitor.


Since the ouster of authoritarian President Suharto in 1998, Indonesia has undergone a considerable period of political transformation. The post-Suharto period – known as “reformasi” – has seen a number of key reforms implemented. These have been aimed at transitioning Indonesia towards democracy and enhancing good governance.



One of the most important of these reforms has been the transferring of power from Indonesia’s highly-centralized federal government to provincial-level administrations. With 240 million people belonging to 490 ethnic groups spread across 17,000 islands, Indonesia has long been faced with several separatist conflicts. This devolution of power has been essential in helping to quell some of these conflicts.

These political developments within Indonesia have not just improved the domestic political climate. They have also opened the door to a closer relationship with Washington.

Indonesia’s bilateral relations with the United States are already well-cemented. It was seen as a strategic anti-communist bulwark during the Cold War, and as the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia has also emerged as a key regional ally in the global war on terror. A hefty price has been paid for this anti-terror coordination with the U.S however, as evidenced by the Bali bombings and the ongoing struggle with homegrown fundamentalist movements like Jemaah Islamiyah.

But US-Indonesian relations go far deeper than just the war on terror. Indonesia’s 17,000 islands contain some of the most strategically-significant waterways in the world – namely the straits of Malacca, Sunda, and Lombok. These straits see nearly half of the global merchant fleet pass through them every year, as well as a much of Northeast Asia’s energy supplies. These waterways also contain some of the highest instances of piracy on earth. Ensuring the security of the straits and the goods that travel through them is an important strategic objective of the United States.

International focus on Southeast Asia in recent years has centered on increased Chinese activity in the area. China’s rapid naval modernization has gone hand-in-hand with a growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. The South China Sea and surrounding areas contain an estimated 28 billion barrels of oil, making control of the tiny islands that dot the sea a strategic imperative for regional actors. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei all have overlapping claims to the islands. This has led to armed skirmishes between China and some of its Southeast Asian neighbours- the most recent of which being with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal.

China’s increased military presence is understandably making its neighbours nervous. It is this fear that is driving Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and the Philippines into the arms of the United States. Indonesia however is somewhat of a unique case. Barring the tiny Natuna Islands near Borneo, Indonesia has very few overlapping land-claims with China. This has precluded any physical skirmishes with the PLA Navy.

In fact, there has been a marked lack of any substantial confrontation between China and Indonesia, and there are a few factors that may explain why. Nearly all of Indonesia’s pressing security concerns are internal – be they secessionist movements in Aceh and West Papua, or Islamic insurgents. China is not viewed as the threat that other countries in the region take it for, and most Indonesians hold favourable views of China (67%). There are also substantial trade links between the two powers (bilateral trade of $25.5 billion in 2009), so both countries will think twice before provoking the other.

While both the U.S. and China have been courting Indonesia, having Jakarta on friendly terms with Beijing could in fact serve as a boon to U.S. interests in the region. Washington has little interest in seeing more Chinese vessels in the South China Sea. With Vietnam and the Philippines actively seeking U.S. support to counter the growing Chinese presence in the area, Indonesia has the potential to serve as the lynchpin of a coalition of regional actors, perhaps under the auspices of ASEAN. This is one case where Sino-US competition doesn’t need to be a zero sum game. Indonesia’s good relations with China may be the key to a peaceful solution in the South China Sea.

Indonesia’s short-term strategic interests are based on carefully balancing its relationships with the United States and China. While its neighbours ratchet up anti-Chinese rhetoric over miniscule islands, Jakarta has chosen to follow a path of moderation. As an emerging middle-tier power, Indonesia cannot afford to sacrifice its deepening economic ties with China in favour of a stronger relationship with the U.S., as many of the other states in the region have already done. Thus, Indonesia will likely continue to pursue the middle-ground in conducting its relations in the near future.

Daniel Bodirsky is a contributor to




A History of
official US policy toward Indonesia

US policy towards Indonesia in the vital years 1961-1965,
a period which defined the cold war power balance in Southeast Asia.






United States Policy towards Indonesia
in the Truman and Eisenhower Years

One of the prime examples of the way successive U.S. administrations managed to alienate many of the new countries emerging from the shadow of colonialism after [End Page 163] World War II is provided by the downward trajectory of
U.S. relations with Indonesia. U.S. policymakers were convinced that they had played a key role in securing Indonesian independence from Dutch rule in 1949, and they wanted to enlist the new state in Western efforts to deter Communist expansion. They also believed that Indonesia's rich natural resources would play a valuable role in the world capitalist system.

Having failed to grasp the complexities of Indonesian politics that facilitated the growing influence of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), the U.S. government by 1957 had lost patience with the Guided Democracy of President Sukarno.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials set out to subvert the Indonesian regime through covert action and support for rebellious elements in the Outer Island provinces.
The disastrous collapse of this operation in April-May 1958 led to the adoption of an alternative posture of low-key backing for anti-Communist groups within the Indonesian Army's officer corps...

This analysis of US policy toward Indonesian nationalism argues that Truman's support for independence was based on his Cold War priorities and not principled backing for self-determination. It reveals how Eisenhower's New Look led to a disastrous CIA-backed intervention in 1957-58 and propelled Indonesia toward the Soviet bloc. Exposing the extent of Australian influence on US policy, this account reveals how the personal prejudices of Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles undermined the notion of rational policymaking





 Great Decisions 2012: Inside Indonesia — A Review

by Tim LaRocco | on January 22nd, 2012







 The Democrats & Suharto:
Bill Clinton & Richard Holbrooke Questioned
on Their Support for Brutal Indonesian Dictatorship

Democracy Now! re-airs Allan Nairn’s questioning of Richard Holbrooke, who is now a senior foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton on how the Carter and Clinton administrations backed Suharto despite his brutal human rights record.

Brad Simpson, Director of the Indonesia and East Timor Documentation Project at the National Security Archive in George Washington University. He is also Assistant Professor of US History and Foreign Relations at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County. His forthcoming book is called Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S. – Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968.
Allan Nairn, award-winning investigative journalist who has reported from Indonesia for years. He runs the web-blog “News and Comment" at







 US Intelligence Tapping Phones of Indonesian Civilians

December 13, 2007 

Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reveals that U.S. intelligence officers in Jakarta are secretly tapping the cell phones and reading the SMS text messages of Indonesian civilians. Some of the Americans involved in the spy operation work out of the Jakarta headquarters of Detachment 88, a US-trained and -funded paramilitary unit which is part of Kopassus, the Indonesian army’s special forces famed for abduction, torture and assassination. The news comes as Congress weighs whether to send more military aid to Indonesia. [includes rush transcript]






Crafting a Strategic Vision
A New Era of US-Indonesia Relations


By Abraham M. Denmark with Rizal Sukma and Christine Parthemore


An Indonesian Vision

Appendix A

By Rizal Sukma

Over the last 60 years or so, Indonesia-United States relations have oscillated between periods of tension and cordiality.
The state of bilateral relations were, and still are, shaped by domestic circumstances within both countries as well as
the dictates of international politics. There were times when the two countries were intermittently drawn into diplomatic disagreement and conflict, and at other times ties were friendlier than most. However, the relationship could be generally
described as normal and not unusual for many bilateral relationships between any post-colonial country and a superpower. It was a relationship characterized by constant efforts by both sides at managing differences and capitalizing on ommonalities.

What the relationship lacked was a comprehensive framework for a long-term and enduring cooperation. The opportunity for bringing Indonesia-U.S. relations into a more solid foundation came in November 2008, when President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono proposed a U.S.-Indonesia comprehensive partnership “driven by the need to address global issues, as much as by the imperative to develop bilateral relations,” based on “equal partnership and common interestsh and for the long-term.

The United States responded positively and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her speech at the Asia Society in New York in February 2009, declared that the United States is committed to gworking with Indonesia to pursue such a partnership with a concrete agenda.
When the two presidents finally sign an official agreement for such a partnership in June 2010, Indonesia-U.S. relations will enter a new era.

This chapter examines Indonesiafs perspective on a partnership with the United States and its significance for the country, especially within the context of Indonesiafs domestic transformation and its renewed interest in playing a more active role in the Asia-Pacific and the world.
The chapter begins with a brief discussion of the growing activism in Indonesia’s foreign policy and the challenges
facing the country in raising its profile in the international arena. It then proceeds to examine Indonesia’s expectations of the partnership with the United States, as well as the several challenges the two countries need to overcome if the partnership’s
potential is to be fully realized.





US Relations 1950s - 1967
clouded by continuous attempts at subversion


Secret State Department documents released

A supposedly secret State Department history, released today by a private research group, discloses new details of
United States policy during the 1965 campaign by the Indonesian Army to wipe out the Communist opposition in Indonesia.

The National Security Archive, a Washington group that pushes for the declassification of government documents, obtained a copy of an official State Department history that describes American policy in Indonesia in the mid-1960's.










1950's - 1967

From Eisenhower to LB Johnson








President Sukarno

 In Sukarno's words:

I am often asked about my alleged anti-Americanism.
Over the years I have desperately wanted to be
America's friend, but she wouldn't let me.

She repeatedly mistakes
foreign aid for friendship

(quoted from "Sukarno: An Autobiography "
by Cindy Adams page 295)





JFK statement referencing
USA's continuous attempts to overthrow President Sukarno



A superb example of SELECTIVE WILLFUL application of
proclaimed adherence to Humanitarian principles








2002 Bali Bombing

 The Bush Administration demanded that
President Megawati Sukarnoputri,
publicly refute the involvement of the U.S in the attacks.
No official retraction was issued.


President Megawati refuses
to refute US involvement in
2002 Bali Bombing









President Megawati not bowing to US demand
when pressured by US Ambasador Ralph Boyce
to refute US involvement in the
2002 Bali Bombings.

She did not issue the requested official retraction but instead
in her statement called the US:


"a superpower that forces the rest of the world to go along with it…
We see how ambition to conquer other nations has led to a situation
where there is no more peace unless the whole world is complying
with the will of the one with the power and strength."






Scot Marciel
US ambassador
to Indonesia

America’s Future in the Asia Pacific
Scot Marciel | December 08, 2011

US President Barack Obama’s visit to Bali to participate in the East Asia Summit last month was a historic first that affirmed the commitment of the United States to playing a long-term role in the Asia-Pacific region. The visit culminated a long period of quiet, persistent and multi-faceted diplomacy aimed at sustained US engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to over half the world’s population, comprises the key engines of global economic growth and is a key driver of global politics. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called US engagement in Asia one of the most important tasks of American diplomacy over the next decade.



This renewed focus on the Asia Pacific is crucial to US economic and political interests, and we believe is also important to the future of Asian countries. With strong flows of trade and investment, a security presence that underpins the region’s stability, and no territorial ambitions, the United States offers a partnership that will be invaluable to peace and prosperity in the region.

America’s commitment is broad and strategic. On the economic side it includes working together with partners from Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam to build an ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that will enhance trade and investment, promote innovation and environmentally sound economic growth and development and support the creation of jobs. The future of this region depends on robust trade and commerce, and we hope that Indonesia, China, and other countries interested in creating a new 21st century trade agreement will consider joining us in making it happen.

In Indonesia, our economic partnership also includes agreement this month on a Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact under which the United States will provide $600 million to support environmentally sustainable economic development, public health, and improved public services in Indonesia. We also fully support the Indonesian government’s focus on upgrading its infrastructure and believe that US companies can play a critical role in partnering with Indonesian companies to accomplish its ambitious objectives.
We also are strengthening our treaty relationships and building new partnerships with emerging powers, including China,
to sustain the stability that has facilitated rapid economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
People-to-people contacts to reduce lingering suspicions on both sides of the Pacific will also be an important element of
our diplomacy over the next decade.

Our commitment to update and invigorate our security relationships led to the force posture initiative recently announced by President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Under the agreement, US Marines, starting with a small group of 250 and eventually expanding to a 2,500-person Marine Air Ground Task Force, will rotate to Darwin and Northern Australia, for around six months at a time, where they will conduct exercises and training with the Australian Defense Force. Additionally, we will increase access of US aircraft to air bases in northern Australia to enhance collaboration.
Both of these initiatives build on years of close alliance cooperation between the United States and Australia. These expanded activities will also provide increased opportunities to deepen security ties with regional partners, including in Indonesia, and to better provide humanitarian assistance and respond to natural disasters and other contingencies in the region.

The US-Australia agreement does not involve the creation of any US bases in Australia, but rather is simply a rotation of Marines through Northern Australia to ensure that existing joint exercises can be sustained and expanded.
While many in Indonesia and other neighboring countries have welcomed these initiatives as a positive addition to stability in the region, some Indonesian commentators have speculated that the rotation of Marines through Northern Australia might be directed at Indonesia. This could not be further from the truth. Indeed, deepening security cooperation with Indonesia, as well as other partners in the region, is an important goal of these new initiatives.

The United States enjoys friendly relations with Indonesia and we consider Indonesia to be a critical partner in the region. We strongly support Indonesia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The new agreement with Australia is part of an ongoing, long-term review of the way American forces are deployed throughout the region and the world and is not directed at any nation.

The United States has a crucial stake in Indonesia’s success as a vibrant prosperous democracy. We all benefit from shared stability and growth. The activities of the United States in Indonesia supports Indonesia’s success, whether through military cooperation such as the grant of excess F-16 aircraft to Indonesia’s Air Force, development cooperation like the MCC compact, or educational cooperation.
Indonesia and the United States share a long history of friendship dating from the first days of Indonesian independence. Our commitment to continuing a long lasting partnership of equals with all of our friends in Asia is unwavering. History will record renewed focus on Asia as one of the most significant developments of American diplomacy after the Cold War.





Obama Says U.S. Presence a Crucial Part of Pacific Security
November 18, 2011, 9:37 AM EST
By Julianna Goldman and Margaret Talev

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said the U.S. troops that will be stationed in Australia’s northernmost city will help ensure the security of vital sea lanes, as the U.S. moves to blunt China’s expanding influence.
Commercial traffic through the area is “critical to all our economies,”
Obama said yesterday in Darwin, Australia. “Going forward our purpose is the same that it was 60 years ago: preservation of peace and security

The initiative will anchor an American presence in the western Pacific that can help safeguard the flow of more than $5 trillion of commerce, about $1.2 trillion of it U.S. trade. Maritime security and territorial disputes in the South China Sea will be part of the discussion at the East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia, where Obama arrived last night.
In addition to its value for trade, Chinese studies cited by the U.S. Energy Information Agency in 2008 said the South China Sea could hold 213 billion barrels of oil. While the sea borders several countries, China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over most of it, including oil and gas fields.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is not an appropriate forum to discuss the South China Sea dispute.
Asean is not a party to the dispute, which should be solved bilaterally between nations, not in a multilateral way, Liu told a briefing in Beijing.

Asean Meeting
Obama is meeting with the 10-member Asean in Bali, where leaders also will decide whether to endorse Myanmar’s bid to chair the regional meetings in 2014.
China’s foreign ministry reacted coolly to the U.S.- Australia defense arrangement, saying the agreements needed to be studied to assess their benefit for the region.

U.S. Marines will be stationed in northern Australia under the plan announced by Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The troops will be deployed on a six-month rotation, starting with 250 personnel and eventually expanding to as many as 2,500.
Darwin will become home to joint military training exercises as part of what Obama called a “deliberate and strategic decision” to secure a long-term U.S. role in an area that accounts for half the world’s economy.
“This is part of the entire process of strengthening relationships against China,” said Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University’s Tokyo campus.

China and U.S.
Obama has spent the past week pressing China on security and economic issues while saying U.S. moves on defense and trade aren’t meant to isolate it.
“All of our nations have a profound interest in the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China -- and that is why the United States welcomes it,” Obama said in an address to Australia’s Parliament yesterday.

Darwin, the first Australian city to be bombed by Japan in World War II, is a growing energy hub with companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and ConocoPhillips planning to spend more than A$150 billion (about $151 billion in U.S. dollars) developing natural gas fields off the northern coast over the next decade. China, the world’s most populous nation and its second-biggest economy, is seeking natural resources in the region to fuel its economic growth.
“Darwin has been a hub moving out aid, caring for victims, making sure we do right by the people of this region, and that is what we are going to keep doing,” Obama said in remarks to U.S. and Australian troops in Darwin.

Impact in Darwin
Australia’s Northern Territory is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the world with 0.2 people per square kilometer, compared with Alaska’s ratio of 1.04. It takes as long to fly from Sydney to Darwin as it does to fly from Darwin to Singapore.
The additional U.S. military presence will mean a “direct economic benefit” to the region, the territory’s chief minister, Paul Henderson, said in a Nov. 16 interview.

Not everyone is convinced that those benefits are worth the problems that may come with a greater U.S. military exposure. Darwin Residents Against War, a group formed in response to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, protested the agreement outside Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, today.
Justin Tutty, a member of the group, said he was concerned about possible social conflicts related to U.S. troops.
“It’s good to have a good economy,” said Tutty, a 39- year-old software engineer. “It’s better to have a safe place for kids to grow up.”
The U.S. helped defend Australia during World War II and 91 U.S. Navy personnel were killed during Japan’s Feb. 19, 1942, raid on Darwin.

Maintaining Defense
While in Australia, Obama sought to dismiss concerns that efforts to shrink U.S. debt would lead to cutbacks in the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
In his 25-minute address to Parliament yesterday, Obama said the U.S. is “a Pacific power and we are here to stay” regardless of spending constraints.

A special congressional committee is closing in on a Nov. 23 deadline to come up with a plan to trim the U.S. budget deficit by at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Failure to act this year would force $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts beginning in 2013, including $500 billion from the defense budget over 10 years. That would be on top of about $450 billion in Pentagon cuts already planned in the next decade.
“Reductions in U.S. defense spending will not -- I repeat, will not -- come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific,” Obama told Parliament. “We will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region.”
He said engagement in the region is “critical” for creating American jobs.

The U.S. this year has exported more to the Pacific Rim than to Europe. Obama has set a goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years, to $3.14 trillion a year by the end of 2014.
At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit he hosted in Hawaii last weekend, Obama announced that the U.S., Australia and seven other nations will form a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord within a year, in what would be the biggest U.S. deal since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
--With assistance from Joe Schneider and Benjamin Purvis in Sydney and Michael Forsythe in Beijing. Editors: Joe Sobczyk, Leslie Hoffecker

To contact the reporters on this story: Julianna Goldman in Bali, Indonesia, at; Margaret Talev in Bali, Indonesia, at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at; Mark Silva at




The Trans-Pacific Partnership Has Economic And Strategic Purpose For The US
Photo Credit: David_Shankbone



America's New "Pacific Offensive" - A Strategy To Contain China

17 November 2011.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a multilateral free trade agreement that aims to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. While the economics of the TPP is important, the strategic component is even more so. This is the second leg of America's new "Pacific offensive," aimed at offering nations in the region an alternative to excessive and rapidly growing dependence on a rising China

NEW DELHI – At their recent summit in Cannes, the G-20 shelved, if not buried, the World Trade Organization’s moribund Doha Development Round of multilateral trade negotiations. Crisis-weary Europe and America face a rising tide of protectionism at home, and are trying to find ways to blunt the edge of China’s non-transparent trade competitiveness.

Turning his attention from the Atlantic to the Pacific, US President Barack Obama – with his eye, once again, trained on China – has now unveiled a new regional trade initiative. Why was the US unwilling to move forward on the Doha Round, but willing to pursue a regional free-trade agreement?

Related: Capital Controls & Currency Wars: Will The G-20 Get It Right?

Related: The G-20 Must Get Its Act Together: Gordon Brown

The answer lies in the fact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), launched by Obama and the governments of eight other Pacific economies – Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – is not just about trade.

While Obama chose to stick to the economic factors driving the TPP, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on the eve of the just-concluded Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering in Hawaii, laid out the initiative’s wider strategic context.
“The United States will continue to make the case that….[the region] must pursue not just more growth, but better growth,” which “is not merely a matter of economics,” Clinton said. “Openness, freedom, transparency, and fairness have meaning far beyond the business realm,” she continued. “Just as the United States advocates for them in an economic context, we also advocate for them in political and social contexts.”

Following up on these remarks, Obama drew attention to persistent US concern about China’s exchange-rate policy, inadequate protection of intellectual property, and impediments to market access.
“For an economy like the United States – where our biggest competitive advantage is our knowledge, our innovation, our patents, our copyrights – for us not to get the kind of protection we need in a large marketplace like China is not acceptable,” Obama observed

Related: America’s China-Centric Blame Game Is Absurd:

The TPP initiative should be viewed against this background, and not just in the context of the collapse of the Doha Round. The TPP’s nine sponsors have resolved “to establish a comprehensive, next-generation regional agreement that liberalizes trade and investment and addresses new and traditional trade issues and twenty-first-century challenges.”
These leaders also agreed to fast-track the TPP initiative, and to consider opening it to other members – most importantly Japan, a late convert to the idea of a Pacific region free-trade agreement.

The TPP’s agenda is divided into three categories: core, cross-cutting, and emerging issues. The core agenda is to stitch together a traditional free-trade agreement focused on industrial goods, agriculture, and textiles. The agreement would also have provisions for intellectual-property protection and what are dubbed the social and environmental issues. In short, the TPP’s core agenda will offer the region a “Doha Round-type” agreement that includes the social and environmental agenda that developing economies have been resisting within the WTO.

Going beyond the core, the cross-cutting issues include investor-friendly regulatory systems and policies that enable “innovative” or “employment-creating” small and medium-size enterprises to operate freely across borders within the TPP region.
Finally, the TPP seeks to bring into the ambit of a trade and investment agreement “new and emerging” issues. These include “trade and investment in innovative products and services, including digital technologies, and ensuring state-owned enterprises compete fairly with private companies and do not distort competition in ways that put US companies and workers at a disadvantage.”

In short, the US has moved to bring together all of the economies in the region that are worried about China’s beggar-thy-neighbor trade and exchange-rate policies. For the US, the eight other TPP countries, with a combined population of 200 million, constitute its fourth largest export market, behind only China, the European Union, and Japan. If Japan joins, the TPP’s importance would rise dramatically.
While the economics of the TPP is important, the strategic component is even more so. This is the second leg of America’s new “Pacific offensive,” aimed at offering nations in the region an alternative to excessive and rapidly growing dependence on a rising China.

The first leg of the offensive was the idea of the “Indo-Pacific” region, which Clinton developed a year ago and followed up this year with an essay called “America’s Pacific Century.” There, she defines the new region of US strategic engagement as “stretching from the Indian subcontinent to the western shores of the Americas.”

Related: Asia Pacific Economic Forecast

Extending east from the Indian Ocean and west via the Pacific, the US is creating a new strategic framework for the twenty-first century. The TPP is just one of the pillars of that new edifice.

By Sanjaya Baru
Copyright: Project-Syndicate, 2011
Sanjaya Baru is Director for Geo-Economics and Strategy, International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS),
and the author of The Strategic Consequences of India’s Economic Performance


Indonesia: Domestic Politics, Strategic Dynamics, and U.S. Interests - Overview

With an estimated population of 240.3 million, Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation and is the world’s fourth-most populated nation overall after China, India, and the United States. Its population is growing by approximately 3 million people a year.1 It has extensive natural resources.

A large percentage of world trade transits the strategically important straits of Malacca that link the Indian Ocean littoral to the South China Sea and the larger Pacific Ocean basin.straits of malacca
Indonesia is also perceived by many as the geopolitical center of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is a key actor in the geopolitical dynamics of the larger Asia-Pacific region.

Indonesia continues to emerge from a period of authoritarian rule and is consolidating its status as one of the world’s largest democracies. Some 86% of Indonesians are Muslim, and the overwhelming majority subscribe to a moderate form of the religion, giving Indonesia the potential to act as a counterbalance to more extreme expressions of Islam. Despite this, radical Islamists and terrorist cells have operated in the country.

Internal strife and social dislocation stemming from inter-communal discord, autonomous and secessionist movements, political machinations among elites, Islamist extremism, government corruption, and economic uncertainty have all undermined stability in Indonesia in the past. More recently, Indonesia has been conducting elections widely considered free and fair and building a more robust civil society. While Indonesia’s economy suffered major setbacks during the Asian financial crisis of 1997/98, it has weathered the recent global economic downturn relatively well. Issues for Congress

The key challenge for the United States and Indonesia is now how to build on recent progress in the relationship and deliver demonstrable results in developing the comprehensive partnership between the two countries that can further shared interests. Specific areas of Congressional interest include democracy promotion, security and ounterterrorism cooperation, human rights,

fostering liberal trade and investment policies, securing Indonesian cooperation on regional issues and global ones such as climate change.
The military-to-military relationship has been a key test of enhanced bilateral cooperation.
In 2005, the Administration of President George Bush moved to remove restrictions on International Military and Education and Training (IMET), Foreign Military Financing (FMF), and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programs for Indonesia. This was viewed by many as a first step toward normalizing the military-to-military relationship. Indonesia has been a key player in the war against terror in Southeast Asia and an increasingly important geopolitical actor in the Asia- Pacific region.

Despite these developments, many continue to have concern over human rights abuses in Indonesia. Other members of Congress, however, have emphasized the progress Indonesia has made in several areas. An example of military cooperation with Indonesia is the Tri-border initiative that involves radar and maritime operations in the Makassar Strait to monitor possible terrorist or pirate activity.2 Other examples include U.S. assistance to Indonesia’s new defense
university and U.S. assistance with the procurement of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which, according to Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono, will take advantage of U.S. discount pricing and foreign military financing.3

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced in Jakarta in July 2010 that the United States would resume a “measured and gradual program of security cooperation” with Kopassus forces.4

During the Cold War, the United States was primarily concerned about communist influence in Indonesia.
fter the Cold War, congressional views on Indonesia were more influenced by ongoing concerns over alleged human rights abuses by the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI). The events of 9/11 added the concern of how best to pursue the war against terror in Southeast Asia. Some members of Congress remain dissatisfied with progress on bringing to justice Indonesian military personnel and police responsible for past human rights abuses in East
Timor and West Papua. The January 2006 arrest of Anthonius Wamang, who is thought to have led an attack near
the town of Timika in Papua that killed two Americans, did much to resolve what had been an obstacle to developing the relationship. As the United States moved from the post-Cold War world to the war against terror, human rights concerns have increasingly been balanced against American security interests, and particularly the need to develop effective counterterror cooperation with Indonesia to combat radical Islamic groups. Over the same period,
the human rights record of the TNI is generally perceived to have improved.

There is also increasing appreciation of Indonesia’s geopolitical position within Southeast Asia and the larger
East Asia region among American decision-makers.
Some analysts have argued that the need to obtain effective counterterror cooperation and to secure American strategic interests in the region necessitates a working relationship with Indonesia and its key institutions, such as the military. Other observers take the view that the promotion of American values, such as human rights and religious freedom, should be preeminent in guiding U.S. relations with Indonesia.

The Economic Dimension

The importance of trade and investment was highlighted at the two leaders’ joint press conference. Asia is a key source of economic growth which is vital to facilitate a sustained U.S. economic recovery.16 The sluggish U.S. economy places particular importance for President Obama on developing economic opportunities for U.S. exports.

Only 7.3% of Indonesian imports come from the United States while 14.5% come from China. China, with 9.9% of Indonesian exports as compared to the U.S. share of 9.3%, also outweighs the United States in importance as
a destination for Indonesian exports. The United States is Indonesia’s third largest trade and investment partner.17 China-Indonesia trade grew 44% last year and China reportedly is seeking to double its trade with Indonesia by 2014.18 Indonesia’s economy has performed solidly during the recent economic crisis with an expected 5.9% growth rate projected for 2010.

The Strategic Dimension
One of Obama’s key objectives for his Indonesia visit was to strengthen strategic ties with the world’s largest Muslim population which is also one of the fastest growing economies in Asia and the largest democracy in Southeast Asia. In one view, Indonesia represents the “biggest prize in a region caught uneasily between China’s rise and the United States renewed engagement”19

Some analysts believe the attention that President Obama has now given to Indonesia, as well as India, Japan, and Korea, may send a message to China and the region that America is focused on reengaging with the Asia-Pacific as a whole and with key democratic states in the region in particular.

Indonesia has a strong tradition of Non-Alignment and will not wish to be caught up in Sino-U.S. rivalry. During their joint press conference President Obama and President Yudhoyono respondedto the question should U.S. “renewed engagement be seen in any way as a counter balance to a rising China?” President Obama responded that “… we think China being prosperous and secure is a positive. And we’re not interested in containing that process.
We want China to continue to achieve its development goals.” President Yudhoyono responded “… it is Indonesia’s hope that China and the U.S. relations will continue to flow well because if something happens between those two states, it will have severe impacts to not only countries in the region, in Asia, but also to the world.”20

Regional Architectures
Developing ties with Indonesia is a key priority for the Obama Administration as it seeks to shape regional security and economic architectures for the Asia-Pacific. Many analysts view U.S.-Indonesia collaboration on developing new strategic and economic architectures that can facilitate the peaceful rise of China for the Asia-Pacific as a key goal of the new Comprehensive Partnership.21 According to President Obama, he and President Yudhoyono “spent a lot of time discussing” the “U.S. role in the configuration of the Asia-Pacific.”

The Obama vision is for the EAS to take the lead on political security issues. As Chair of ASEAN and host of the EAS next year, Indonesia will be in a key position to help shape the EAS’s role in this regard.22

Outreach to the Muslim World
President Obama’s visit to Indonesia, which included a visit to the Istiqlal Mosque and a speech at the University of Indonesia where he was enthusiastically welcomed,23 can also be viewed as part of his ongoing efforts to reach out to the Muslim world. It can also be viewed as an effort to build on his Cairo speech given in June 2009. Obama sent the message to Indonesia that the United States respects Islam despite the cultural difference between the two countries.24
Indonesia’s moderate Islamic character and size make it a strong setting for sending such a message though there are limits to which any message sent from a non-Arab nation can influence




Rights Concerns Shadow U.S. Alliance With Indonesia
August 30, 2011
The Associated Press



WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has embraced Indonesia as a crucial U.S. ally in Southeast Asia, but rights groups and critics in Congress say the administration is too eager to trumpet Jakarta as a democratic success story.
Ahead of Obama's trip later this year to Indonesia, the second of his presidency, they want the U.S. to press Indonesia harder over its weak response to recent sectarian attacks by Islamic hard-liners and abuses by the military in remote West Papua. Those demands clash, however, with U.S. strategic interests in the moderate Muslim nation of 240 million people that has assumed growing importance for Washington as it deepens its engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. In November, Indonesia will host a summit of East Asian leaders, the first attended by a U.S. president.

"It seems now the administration's policy is to be nice to Indonesia for fear it would come under the umbrella of China. ... That's the sense of where we are headed," said Eni Faleomavaega, ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Asia-Pacific subcommittee.
The Samoan delegate is a longtime advocate for Papuan rights.

Indonesia, where Obama lived four years as a child, has come a long way since the 1998 overthrow of longtime dictator Suharto and the bloody military crackdown in East Timor in 1999 that led the U.S. to sever military ties for several years. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has consolidated a decade of democratic reform while other countries in the region, like Thailand, have suffered political instability.

Indonesia's international standing has climbed, as a counterterrorism partner and regional leader.
Under Indonesia's chairmanship this year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has mediated in a violent Thai-Cambodia border dispute and advanced efforts for a code of conduct in the volatile South China Sea.
Still, Yudhoyono has a patchy record on religious freedom, failing to prevent attacks on the minority Muslim Ahmadiyah sect that have worsened since a 2008 government decree that the sect's practitioners can face up to five years in prison. A victim of a recent mob attack received a stiffer sentence than some of his assailants.
Also, Indonesian troops have received only monthslong sentences for torture and murder in Papua, where the military retains a heavy presence because of a long-running separatist movement.
"If they were serious about accountability, these kinds of crimes would be severely punished," said Tim Rieser, senior policy adviser to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. Legislation that Leahy sponsored bars the U.S. from providing training and other assistance to foreign military units that have committed human rights violations and not been brought to justice.

Rieser said evidence and witnesses have been ignored, charges reduced to the level of misdemeanors, and short sentences handed down that are an insult to the victims. In fact, few in the military have been punished for atrocities dating back to the early 1990s, he said.
Despite that, the United States last year lifted the remaining Defense Department restrictions on military ties, resuming cooperation with Indonesian army special forces after Jakarta committed to military reforms.

U.S. officials say the fact that there is a judicial process to try soldiers for the recent abuses is a sign of progress, and they emphasize the democratic advances Indonesia has made in the past decade.
"The steps we have seen from Indonesia are far beyond what anybody imagined a few years ago," said Robert Scher, deputy assistant defense secretary for South and Southeast Asia.
The U.S. was disappointed, however, by the sentences against soldiers tried for abuses in Papua, he said. "We will make clear to the government of Indonesia that how they deal with these soldiers will be a reflection of how they deal with these issues (of military reform)," Scher said.

"Tut-tutting only gets you so far in this world," responds Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "Across most fronts in the bilateral relationship, Indonesia continues to get what they want regardless of how some actors have behaved."

Edmund McWilliams, former political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and now a rights activist, contends Kopassus special forces in Papua remain unaccountable and act against civilians in ways "unacceptable in any democratic society."
He pointed to the recent release of purported Indonesian military documents, publicized by Human Rights Watch. Dating from 2006 to 2009, they detail not just the ragtag Papuan insurgency, with its meager arsenal of 131 guns and four grenades, but military surveillance of peaceful activists, politicians and clergy, and the region's few foreign visitors. Another document from 2011 indicates the surveillance continues.

Indonesia presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said the government cannot be blamed for past rights abuses and has taken firm action on its watch, dismissing from the military those involved in abuses in Papua. If sentences handed down appear lenient, it is not the government's fault, as the judiciary is independent, he said.
"We've changed," Faizasyah said. If there are cases of abuse, it's not based on policy or instruction from above."


RI, US exploring maritime cooperation
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 12/14/2010 10:10 PM
A | A | A |

RI, US exploring maritime cooperation
Indonesia and the United States are exploring the possibility of enhancing their partnership in the maritime sector, a follow-up to the “comprehensive partnership” the two countries signed during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Jakarta early last month.

The Indonesian Maritime Institute (IMI) said in a press statement on Tuesday that Indonesian and US delegations had met Monday to discuss a number of potential cooperations in the maritime sector.
The meeting discussed, among others, cooperation opportunities in maritime education, the implementation of “ecological zones” on sailing routes, and the development of Indonesia as one of the most strategic maritime areas in the Asia-Pacific region.
IMI chief patron Connie Rahakundini Bakrie specifically asked the US to make Indonesia a more prominent partner in maritime trade, industry and defense, as quoted by Antara.


Insight: Strategic significance of Indonesia-US relations

Rizal Sukma, Jakarta | Wed, 11/10/2010 10:00 AM
A | A | A |

As President Barack Obama departed to India, everyone in Indonesia was certain that this time he would finally stop in Jakarta before continuing on to Seoul to attend the G20 Summit. Yet, when several international airlines suspended their services to Jakarta last Saturday out of fear of volcanic ash from angry Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, speculations were abound that President Obama’s visit to Jakarta would be postponed again for a third time.

However, when Air Force One finally touched down in Jakarta on Tuesday, the long overdue visit finally took place. While some Indonesians might want to exploit the visit to demonstrate President Obama’s personal ties to the country, the substance of the visit is far more significant, not only for Indonesia but also for East Asian region and beyond.
In terms of bilateral relationships, the visit will mark a new chapter in Indonesia-US relations as the
two countries will officially commence the Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (CPA).

The comprehensive partnership denotes a relationship marked by an agreement to forge and institutionalize cooperation on a set of agreed issues, pursued according to a set of priorities, and carried out on a long-term basis.
It is not a relationship based on ad hoc arrangements. It is a relationship that covers common areas of concern across the board.

The significance of Indonesia-US relations needs to be placed also within the emerging new regional order in East Asia. Obama, aware of the growing importance of East Asia, has moved quickly to reaffirm the US’ role in the region. There is a need for Indonesia and the US to work closely in order to anticipate and manage the changing geo-political equation in East Asia due to the rise of China and the imminent arrival of India as major powers.

The rise of China and India has, in turn, started the process of the emergence of a new regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific. Therefore, of particular importance is the imperative for Indonesia and the US to work together in shaping a regional architecture that can accommodate everyone.
Despite the recent indications of China’s growing assertiveness in East Asia, there is no need to resort to a balance of power politics. The emergence of strategic competition and rivalry between China and the other three powers — the US, India and Japan — need to be prevented. Indonesia believes that a cooperative relationship pattern among the major powers is crucial for the stability and prosperity in the region. Indonesia is hopeful that the partnership with the US would contribute to regional efforts to ensure a stable and predictable regional order in Asia-Pacific.

Indonesia does not want to see the region dominated by any one major power or a group of powers.
Instead, it envisions an inclusive regional architecture where the East Asia Summit (EAS) — with full participation of the US and Russia —would serve as the primary vehicle for the attainment of an Asia-Pacific wide community. In that context, Indonesia expects the partnership with the US to contribute in the realization of such a vision.

East Asia is also important for the US in its efforts to search for regional partners in addressing global problems. The problems of climate change, energy security, transnational crimes and food security have all received greater attention in US foreign policy.

So does the promotion of democracy and human rights. In this context, a partnership with Indonesia would enhance the efforts to find both a regional and global solution to those problems. Indonesia, for example, has begun to insert the importance of democracy and human rights in the agenda of regional cooperation in Southeast Asia. Indonesia has also taken a positive role in addressing the problem of climate change and food security. Indeed, Indonesia and the US should and could work as natural partners in addressing these issues.

Challenges, however, are abundant. The most important one is how to manage high expectation on both sides. Despite the CPA, Indonesia and the US will continue to have differences on certain issues and policies. Indonesia-US relations are often affected by events and issues that have no direct connection with bilateral interest.
Specific events and disagreements over certain issues should not be allowed to derail the overall bilateral relationship.

The next four years, therefore, would be a critical period for the two countries to lay a strong foundation for a durable and sustainable partnership. Within that period, it is important for both Indonesia and the US to manage and iron out whatever differences they might have, and promote a greater understanding of each other. The opportunity to promote the partnership is too important to be missed.

The writer is the executive director of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta.



Commentary: Ask not what the US can do for us; ask what we can do for them
Endy M. Bayuni, Jakarta | Thu, 03/18/2010 9:09 AM

When US President Barack Obama comes to town next week, many people here are wondering how Indonesia will benefit and whether there is anything to gain, considering the trouble, including heavy security measures, that we have to go through in hosting him.

His visit has certainly raised expectations, some of them misplaced, with the thinking that since Obama spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia, he should come with a lot of goodies. At the other extreme, there are opinions that not only dismiss the potential benefits, but even oppose the visit in the first place.
Still, even with the scaled down program — Obama will not be accompanied by his wife and daughters as originally planned — there is everything to gain and almost nothing or little to lose from the visit, currently scheduled for March 23-24.

This is a historic opportunity for both countries to lay down the foundations of a more solid relationship. The Comprehensive Partnership Agreement that will be signed during Obama’s visit will certainly be important, but even more crucial is the fact that we have an American president who has emotional and even familial ties with Indonesia.
What other country in the world can brag that the president of the biggest superpower was educated at one of its schools? There probably will never be another chance like this, certainly not in the next century. Indonesia would be a fool to squander the golden opportunity in building better relations presented with Obama’s presidency and his visit next week.

The two countries, the third and fourth largest in terms of population, have far more in common than people on either side of the border care to admit. Both are struggling, with mixed results, to come to terms with the racial, ethnic and religious diversity of its population. We are going through the same experience, albeit regarding different levels of development.
Indonesia’s founding fathers knew better than most present day leaders about the similarities we have with the US. In drafting the constitution in 1945, they opted for the American presidential system instead of the European parliamentary system. The state motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Sanskrit for “Unity in Diversity”, was too similar to the E Pluribus Unum, or Latin for “Out of Many, One” to be much of a coincidence.

The history of Indonesia’s post-independence, however, dictated that we went on different paths, from Indonesia’s efforts to stay neutral throughout the Cold War, to the blatant US intervention in Indonesia’s domestic affairs in the 1950s and 1960s.
Relations between the two countries have had their ups and downs since then and sadly but understandably often this past historical baggage continues to saddle sentiments in both countries, creating mutual suspicions that have prevented relations from blossoming to their full potential, even today.

Within the Indonesian elite, some still have hang-ups from the past. Notice the anti-American sentiments that easily soared after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US in 2001 and during the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Notice also how it is easy for politicians to score points by accusing officials such as Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Vice President Boediono as being “neolibs” representing American interests. To this last point, Indonesia may claim today that we have our own man at the White House, which beats the “neolibs” argument.
Joking aside, we can be sure that Obama is the only American president who will be more favorable
to Indonesia than others before and after him. Anyone who has lived abroad knows you cannot
help becoming fond of the country. Four years of his childhood here should be sufficient for Obama to feel as if Indonesia is his adopted country.

This is not to say that he will see eye to eye with Indonesia on every issue. These are misplaced expectations. But we certainly have his ears for sure, if not his heart.
Indonesia will continue to have its differences with the US under Obama on many issues, as reflected in the recent climate change debate, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iranian nuclear issue and many others.
But this should not prevent the two countries from forging more cordial and warm relations. Since the reformasi in 1998, Indonesia and the US have become closer in values and principles of democracy, human rights and freedom that should make both countries feel comfortable in addressing issues and talking about their differences.

There are many more areas where the interests of the two countries converge, such as in trade and investment, in geopolitics, security and in counterterrorism, and in cultural exchange and the promotion of education. The point is that both countries stand to benefit tremendously from having closer relations.
When two friends, who are at ease with each other, meet, one should be asking the question, “How can I help?” To which the other will reply, “Thanks, but how can I be of help to you?”

Let us hope that when Barry (Obama’s nickname in Indonesia) and Bambang (President Yudhoyono’s middle name) meet next week, they will set a new tone for Indonesia—US relations.



Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, right, and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
attend a joint press conference during a Joint Commission meeting between the two countries
at the Ayodhya Hotel in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday. (AP/Saul Loeb, Pool)

Clinton: Indonesia can be democratic role model

Matthew Lee, Associated Press, Nusa Dua | Sun, 07/24/2011 7:00 PM

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is urging Indonesia to promote democracy in Myanmar and countries in the Middle East and North Africa in the throes of upheaval. She says its successful transition from dictatorship and status as a vibrant Muslim-majority democracy make it an ideal role model for both Myanmar and the Arab world.

In meetings with senior Indonesian officials on Sunday in Bali, Clinton said the country's recent history "provides an example for a transition to civilian rule and building strong democratic institutions." She said Indonesia has made significant strides toward democracy and shown that Islam and democracy can co-exist.

"In the year of the Arab Spring, there has never been a better moment for Indonesians to share what they learned from their own transition to democracy with the people of Egypt, Tunisia, and other nations that are now on that same difficult journey," Clinton said.

Indonesia, a nation of more than 237 million people, was ruled since the end of World War II by dictators Sukarno and Suharto. Suharto was ousted in a popular uprising in 1998. The world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia emerged from decades of authoritarian rule just over 10 years ago.
Its history could show the Asian nation of Myanmar the way toward democracy.
"Indonesia's own recent history provides an example for a transition to civilian rule and building strong democratic institutions," Clinton said during a news conference with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.

Myanmar's new civilian government, which took over late last year after a half-century of military rule, needs to make "concrete, measurable progress" in bringing about democratic reforms if it wants to win the confidence of the international community, Clinton said earlier in the week.
That includes releasing more than 2,000 political prisoners and holding meaningful dialogue with its political opponents.



WikiLeaks Document Release

February 2, 2009
Congressional Research Service
Report 98-677

Larry A. Niksch, Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division
Updated August 10, 1998

Abstract. This report describes the history and the issues involved in the longstanding differences between
Congress and the executive branch over U.S. policy toward the Indonesian military (ABRI). It describes
two past episodes when these differences broke out: the period of Indonesian radicalism under President
Sukarno in the early 1960s and the initial years of the Indonesian military occupation of East Timor in the
late 1970s. It outlines the different views of the Indonesian military between its congressional critics and
the executive branch officials who have promoted close U.S. relations with it. The issues between Congress
and the Bush and Clinton Administration in the 1990s are discussed within this framework, culminating
in American policy toward the ABRI in 1998 as Indonesia’s economic-political crisis led to the downfall of
President Suharto. Specific issues of the 1990s discussed in the report, including U.S. training of Indonesian
military personnel and U.S. arms sales to Indonesia, likely will come to new legislative attention in the near future.



US Relations 1950s - 1967
clouded by continuous attempts at subversion

The US relations were clouded by continous US attempts at subversion in an attempt to dethrone President Sukarno.
The attempts were finally successful in 1967 in the aftermath of the Gestapu.
After President Suharto took office US-Indonesia relations improved tremendously and US investment grew as never before.
Almost overnight the Indonesian government went from being a fierce voice for cold war neutrality and anti-imperialism to a quiet, compliant partner of the U.S. world order. The US Seventh Fleet gained unrestricted access to the strategic waterways in and around the Indonesian archipelago. Project aid, military aid flowed into the country.
This was mostly tied aid related to donor country interest, i.e. aid that benefited both Indonesia and the donor country.













1950's - 1967

From Eisenhower to LB Johnson






Jakarta, 28 October 1966

Ambassador-at-Large Governor Averell Harriman meets with Suharto at his home
accompanied by US Ambassador Marshall Green



How the Cold War influenced U.S.-Indonesia relations
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 09/02/2007 2:06 PM
Muhammad Farid, Contributor, Jakarta

Better dead than red.
The slogan symbolized U.S. fears of communist expansion and gained currency during the 1940s to 60s.
After World War II, the world entered the Cold War between the ""Communist Bloc"" (led by the Soviet Union) and the
""Free World"" (led by the U.S.). The mutual antagonism that ensued became a hallmark of U.S. foreign policy, including toward Indonesia.

Indonesian historian Baskara T. Wardaya SJ explores U.S.-Indonesia relations in the Cold War era through his book
Cold War Shadow: United States Policy Toward Indonesia, 1953-1963.
With an emphasis on the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, he shows that Indonesian history during the
Cold War was greatly influenced by relations with the U.S.
He explains they were shaped by three factors. First was U.S. economic and political interests.

American oil companies had operated in the archipelago since 1920. In 1939, American explorers discovered the largest oil field in Southeast Asia near Minas, in central Sumatra.
By the eve of World War II, the Netherlands colony provided the U.S. with 33 percent of its rubber, 80 percent of its palm oil and 90 percent of its quinine.
After Indonesia's Independence was proclaimed Aug. 17, 1945, the Truman administration attempted to bring Indonesia
under Western control. As the fifth-largest country in the world with abundant natural resources and a strategic location, Indonesia became a power in Asia with great potential.

If Indonesia fell into the hands of the communists it would surely jeopardize U.S. interests in the continent.
As a U.S. ally, the Dutch were supported by Washington to restore their prewar colonial government.
But U.S. policy led to communist influence growing rapidly in Indonesia. It culminated in a rebellion by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in Madiun on Sept. 18, 1948.
After the rebellion was suppressed, the U.S. realized that Indonesian leaders including Sukarno were not pro-communist.
It led the U.S. to change its policy to one of support for Indonesian independence.

Perceived communist threat
The second factor was a variety of internal struggles within U.S. administrations, which were heavily reliant on policymakers. The second Eisenhower administration (1957-1961) is a concrete example.
To shape policy toward Indonesia, Eisenhower relied on vice president Richard M. Nixon, secretary of state John F. Dulles, assistant secretary of state for Far Eastern affairs Walter S. Robertson and CIA director Allen W. Dulles.
They warned that Indonesia might gradually be taken over by communists. Having been suppressed in 1948, the PKI had grown as a major political power that secured fourth place in the 1955 election.

In 1957, Sukarno replaced the Western-style parliamentary system with what was termed ""guided democracy"". He continued with the formation of the Gotong Royong (mutual assistance) Cabinet, which aimed to accommodate all major political parties and other groupings, including the PKI.
U.S. policymakers then advised Eisenhower to take measures on Indonesia.
In contrast, U.S. ambassador to Indonesia John M. Allison urged Washington to understand why communism had grown rapidly in Indonesia. He pointed out that the U.S. favored the Dutch during the Indonesian independence struggle, in contrast with Soviet support for Indonesia. To oppress Indonesia would only hasten the country's move toward a communist embrace.
But Eisenhower ignored Allison and relied solely on the policymakers. Allison was then removed from Indonesia less than a year after being appointed ambassador. Without informing the U.S. Embassy to Indonesia, the CIA launched operations to support anticommunist army dissidents in Sumatra and Sulawesi against Sukarno.

Political maneuvering
The third factor was president Sukarno's political charisma. Within the Cold War context, Sukarno positioned Indonesia as a non-aligned country, but at the same time played on antagonistic U.S.-Soviet relations to promote Indonesia's interests.
Within the national political constellation, Sukarno played a role as a balancing power between the PKI and Army. He needed the PKI to provide him with a channel to the populace.
He also needed to maintain good relations with the Army to prevent the PKI threatening his position. Meanwhile, the PKI moved closer to Sukarno in order to secure its position from an anticommunist Army leadership.
On the other hand, the anticommunist Army realized that the close proximity between Sukarno and the PKI could limit the Army's political effectiveness.

The role Sukarno played with both the foreign and national political constellations effectively compelled the U.S. to side with Indonesia in the independence struggle and West Irian (currently Papua) issue.
During the independence struggle, the Dutch depicted Sukarno as a pro-communist leader who would soon turn Indonesia to communism. On the contrary, Sukarno attacked the PKI rebellion in Madiun in 1948 and, in turn, convinced Washington to support Indonesia.

Past a key to the future
After the transfer of sovereignty in 1949, Sukarno had an unfinished task: to return West Irian from the Dutch to Indonesia. However, Truman's successor Eisenhower remained neutral on the dispute.
Disappointed with the U.S., Sukarno convinced the Soviet Union to support the claim over Irian and to provide substantial economic support.

At the eve of the Kennedy administration in 1961, the total amount of Soviet aid to Indonesia since 1956 had reached US$1 billion. In contrast, U.S. aid to Indonesia since 1950 was only $327 million.
Meanwhile, Sukarno's success unified both the PKI and Army on the common cause of Irian. Kennedy quickly realized that Moscow could take advantage of the issue.
It led the U.S. to support Indonesia in the dispute. After Irian's handover, Kennedy also approved a $17 million loan to Indonesia, beside spare parts and raw materials aid.
Having good relations with Sukarno, Kennedy attempted in 1963 to neutralize Sukarno's antagonism with the
British-Malayan plan to establish a Federation of Malaysia.

Sukarno believed the plan was merely a colonial plot to encircle Indonesia. But Kennedy was unable to take any further action to solve the dispute. He was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963.
Sukarno was overthrown two years later after the putsch of Sept. 30, 1965.
It is obvious that Indonesian domestic and foreign policy during 1953-1963 tied in with U.S. policy toward Indonesia.
Baskara emphasizes in his book: "" ... it is almost impossible to understand the history of U.S.-Indonesia relations since the Second World War without seeing them within the context of the Cold War.""

To write this book, Baskara conducted research in Indonesia and U.S.
It took him to explore primary documents, especially those in presidential libraries.
The documents, as stated in the book, reveal many hitherto largely unknown events, such as a CIA plan to assassinate Sukarno at the Bandung Conference in 1955.
Finally, this book is important to an understanding of Indonesia-U.S. relations in both the present and future.
Although the Cold War ended with the fall of the communist bloc in 1990, the patterns still continue and shape relations between the two countries.

The reviewer is an alumnus of the literature school at University of Indonesia.



Indonesia-US Relations in the context of President Obama’s visit

November 10, 2010

Indonesia is the second stopover after India in President Barack Obama’s four-nation tour of Asia that also includes South Korea and Japan. The much deferred visit to the leading ASEAN member state with the largest Muslim population in the world is important beyond mere symbolism. It represents the United States’ attempt to redefine its role in Asia at a time when its strategic and economic clout was beginning to be questioned.

From the world’s largest democracy to the third largest, President Obama (representing the second largest democracy) arrived on November 9 in a country which was dominated by authoritarian Suharto until his resignation in May 1998. Indonesia had opted for ‘democracy first’ as a desirable domestic paradigm in preference to ‘security first’. Obama’s Indonesia visit occurs two days after neighbouring Myanmar held its elections and had yet to make a clear transition. Despite fears that Obama’s visit may be cancelled yet again due to volcanic eruptions from Mount Erapi, Air Force One landed in Jakarta. Twice earlier (in March and June) he was forced to cancel plans to visit Indonesia. President Obama is expected to visit the Istiqlal Grand Mosque, the Kalibat Heroes Cemetery and to deliver a lecture at the University of Indonesia besides holding bilateral talks with President Yudhoyono.

In 2008 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had visited the US immediately after the election of Obama as President and emphasised on the need for Indonesia-US strategic partnership. President Yudhoyono (who received military training and a Masters degree from the US) got re-elected to office in 2009. Indonesia was the second country that the US Secretary of State chose to visit in February 2009 immediately after assuming office under the Obama Administration. A “Comprehensive Partnership Agreement” (CPA) is expected to put the seal on political/security, economic and development, and social-cultural cooperation which are already underway through a host of agreements that have been signed by officials of the two countries since Obama took office. The US President’s personal links with Indonesia will help tide over the rough edges in the relationship.

The US cannot ignore Indonesia’s credentials as the largest Southeast Asian nation which is a vibrant democracy, a bastion of moderate Islam, committed to multilateralism (ASEAN headquarters is based in Jakarta), counter terrorism and maritime security. As China reasserted itself in the South China Sea (claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia), the Indonesian Foreign Minister rejected China’s efforts to keep the US out of the dispute. The ASEAN Summit followed (held for the first time in New York), which Indonesian President Yudhoyono could not attend. So far a South China Sea Code of Conduct acceptable to China has not yet been evolved . Equally, Indonesia is cognizant of the fact that China must not get the impression that ASEAN is ganging up with the US against China. Interestingly, Indonesia has already formally taken over the chairmanship for 2011 of the ASEAN from Vietnam at the close of the 17th ASEAN Summit at Hanoi.

The US Department of Defence and the Indonesian Ministry of Defence signed a Framework Arrangement on Cooperative Activities in the Field of Defence on June 9 to cover the areas of security dialogue, training, the defence industry, procurement, maritime security, etc. Military ties between the two countries are expected to improve as the Indonesian MoD addresses human rights issues, which have bedevilled the relationship in the past, especially at the time of the East Timor crisis. In July the US lifted the ban on Kopassus Special Forces.
While the US copes with terrorism, Indonesia has been a victim of terrorism itself as the October 2002 Bali bombings and the July 2009 terrorist attacks amply illustrate. In the absence of the draconian laws under the Suharto regime, the US still expects sterner action from Jakarta against the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists. Washington is already funding some anti-terror activities of Indonesia’s counterterrorism unit, particularly since the Bali bombings of 2002.

While Indonesia cannot afford to annoy the Major Powers, it is sensitive about its image as a large nation of Southeast Asia and does not favour abdicating that role. Regional cooperation in joint patrolling of the seas (including the Malacca Straits Coordinated Patrol) in conjunction with US intelligence sharing has brought down piracy incidents.
The US on its part provided timely aid during the tsunami. It also plans to remain engaged in conflict prevention and resolution in Aceh. (In contrast, Myanmar had totally refused US aid at the time of Cyclone Nargis). Further, it is engaged in cooperation in the area of non-traditional security threats.

The Indonesian economy has experienced enough turbulence and it is in the US’ larger interest to project Indonesia as a centre of stability. US Secretary of Commerce had led the first cabinet level trade mission to Indonesia in May 2010 to promote US clean energy technologies in Indonesia. The US Administration has earmarked $165 million over five years for student exchange programmes. Another $136 million over three years has been earmarked for climate change projects.

Differences exist in Indonesia-US relations, as typified by the imposition in October of duties on coated paper from Indonesia, and earlier on the IMF package. The US has differences with Indonesia over the latter’s alleged non-compliance with “internationally recognized labour standards”. The US which is aware of Indonesia’s potential as a burgeoning market, investment destination and as a source of raw material is troubled by infrastructure and corruption bottlenecks.

Before President Obama moves to the two East Asian countries on his itinerary (South Korea and Japan) he would like to be assured that he along with President Yudhoyono have set US- Indonesia relations on a more mature path. Just as President Yudhoyono must anticipate the trajectory of India-Indonesia relations when he arrives as India’s guest at the Republic Day early next year.


Table1: USA: Exports to /Imports from Indonesia
In US$ million























































































Under Suharto in the years 1967-1998 Indonesesia came in the firm grip of powerful western countries and corporations, the IGGI, World Bank and IMF and became heavily saddled with debts and rampant with corruption.
IGGI donor countries provided mostly tied project aid, obligating Indonesia to spend the "aid" in the donor country , benefiting the donor country's economy and industry.
To protect their interests and ensure that Indonesia remained a staunch ally, the West and their financial institutions closed their eyes to the heavily blown-up prices and rampant high-level corruption.
Suharto, a proclaimed staunch Western Ally, left behind a heritage of corruption that will be hard to erase.


 The Politics of Power
Freeport in Suharto's Indonesia.

By Denise Leigh

This book examines how and why an American company, despite rigorous home-state laws, was able to operate in West Papua with impunity for nearly thirty years and adapt to, indeed thrive in, a business culture anchored in corruption, collusion and nepotism.
The Politics of Power is unprecedented in its investigation of the wider political context of the relationship between Jakarta and foreign capital, which to this day keeps the lucrative mining industry in Indonesia afloat.


For those who wish to understand the scale of the West's complicity in the disaster that was Suharto'ds "New order" (1966-1998) and its legacy for the Indonesian people, this book is required reading

(Peter Carey, Trinity College, Oxford).

Corruption has been recognized as endemic in Asia, with Indonesia under Suharto having the dubious distinction of being perceived as the most corrupt nation in Asia for a number of years.56 In fact, the Indonesian brand of clientelist/feudalist corruption-corruption, collusion, and nepotism (commonly referred to as xxisr [korupsi, kolusi dan nepotismd-was well recognized and had long been accepted as part of the Indonesian business culture. During a seminar on corruption in March 1998, the former head of the government's Financial Comptroller Agency advised that corruption, which permeated all levels of society, was worst in the highest echelons of government; he blamed the continuation of the practice on a weak and highly secretive supervisory system.
In Indonesia corruption can be categorized into two kinds: "need" based and "greed" based, or as Adam Schwarz says, "big" and "small" corruption."' While Jakarta accepted, and even encouraged, corruption at all levels of society, for the majority of Indonesians who existed on or below the poverty line, it became an essential way of life.58 In a country devoid of welfare, where tens of millions of people barely eke out an existence, corruption had become the only safety net. Low-level government officials practiced need-based small corruption simply in order to survive. Small corruption existed in Indonesia because it became a necessity.
When discussing the big or greed-based corruption, we should note that the West's transnationals and lending institutions, with their laws against the practice in their home states, became some of the system's beneficiaries. That is, corrupt Indonesian business practices continued not only because of the absence of internal accountability procedures for both business and bureaucracy in Indonesia, but also because of the West's indifference. After the fall of Suharto, the World Bank acknowl
edged that it knew that 30 percent or more of all development funds channeled directly through the government was being siphoned off.
According to a project manager for the World Bank's Jakarta office, many within the organization were able to conveniently rationalize this corruption as "a kind of tax on an otherwise sound economy."

Business in Indonesia (p16-17)

INDONESIAN BUSINESS UNDER Suharto had no concept of conflict of interest. To the contrary, politicians, the military, and the bureaucracy became essential elements of the business community. With the extended Suharto family and the president's friends as powerful role models, what was described as the traditional Javanese distaste for business was essentially abandoned in the late seventies in the rush for fortunes.' Indeed, Suharto, who used access to resources and business as the major lubricant of his patronage style of leadership, actively encouraged the involvement of all powerful groups in this sector of the economy. By controlling the patronage system through access to business, Suharto effectively controlled the military, the politicians, and the public servants. Under Suharto these groups were intimately involved in the most lucrative business ventures to the point that to be successful in Indonesian business one usually needed an influential partner in at least one of these institutional groups, preferably with direct access to Suharto. By controlling these groups, he controlled the state and the forces of coercion.



Indonesia-US relations were heavily impacted by the Cold War struggle between the US and Soviet Union. The US wanted Indonesia as an ally and resented Sukarno's independent attitude. Starting with aggressive operations by the CIA during the Eisenhower years, followed by JFK's diplomatic strategies, unabated US efforts continued to win over Indonesia , attempting Sukarno's downfall in one way or another, and put in place a successor more willing to side with them.

Concerned about Sukarno's political direction and the powerful Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), President Eisenhower ordered the CIA to foment a coup in 1958.

The 1958 coup failed, but its planning linked the CIA and Pentagon with Suharto and other Indonesian military officers who saw an opening to power. 

They finally succeeded in the years 1965-1967.
Marshall Green, was US Ambassador in Indonesia July 26, 1965 - March 25, 1969

After President Suharto took office US-Indonesia relations improved tremendously and US investment grew as never before.
Almost overnight the Indonesian government went from being a fierce voice for cold war neutrality and anti-imperialism to a quiet, compliant partner of the U.S. world order.


The US secretly supported Indonesia in East Timor whilst blaming Inonesia through the media

History cannot be rewritten but is an excellent Learning tool

We are now in a new phase of US Relations.

President Obama announced a New Beginning in relations with the Islamic Word

Indonesia is somewhere on the priority list of President Obama although he has twice cancelled an announced visit to Indonesia.

After President SBY announced his inability to attend the Obama sponsored ASEAN summit in New York September 2010, Obama announced that he will visit Indonesia in November 2010 and will attend the next ASEAN summit in Jakarta 2011.

Minister of State Hillary Clinton visited Indonesia February 2009



NOVEMBER 9, 2010

The President's Indonesia Opportunity
It isn't enough to declare that we aren't at war with Islam, as true as that is.


President Obama arrives today in Indonesia, a country he knows well, where he lived for part of his childhood and is extremely popular. Indonesia is on the other side of the world, 12,000 miles from Washington, and most Americans know little about it. So they may not appreciate the importance of the president's visit as an opportunity to cement a closer relationship with an ally in the fight against Islamist extremism.

The world's fourth most populous country, Indonesia is a major emerging economy and potential trading partner. It also exemplifies a successful transition from dictatorship to democracy, and it has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world.
Indonesia is one of the very few Muslim-majority countries where Islam is not the state religion. Reflecting its tradition of religious tolerance, the country officially recognizes six religions, of which Islam is only one. Indonesia's national motto—"Unity in Diversity," so similar to our own—reflects the common values that our two countries share.

We also share a common enemy: Islamist extremism. In combating such extremism, Muslims themselves are our most important allies. The extremists recognize this, which is why they particularly target Muslims. They have targeted Indonesia with preaching and with violence—but so far with limited success.
Al Qaeda attacks on Indonesia, starting with the 2002 bombing in Bali that killed over 200 people, most of them foreign tourists, have proved self-defeating. They have stimulated highly effective counterterrorism efforts by the Indonesian police and have turned ordinary citizens strongly against the terrorists. When several terrorists were killed after attacking foreigners in two Jakarta hotels last year, some Muslim villages refused to accept their bodies for burial. Attempts to exploit Islam in democratic politics have also been largely unsuccessful, at least so far.

Not all is well, however. Supremacist Wahhabi doctrine, imported from the Middle East, has made inroads. A group called the Islamic Defenders Front has attacked some Christian churches and mosques of a minority sect. And some local officials have banned the building of churches.
But there is opposition to this intolerance. Two months ago, thousands of protestors demonstrated against anti-Christian violence. Among them was Inayah Wahid, a daughter of the late Indonesian president and Muslim spiritual leader Abdurrahman Wahid. "We are all one nation and we struggle for the unity of the nation," she said. Indonesian authorities are now considering legal and other reforms to protect churches and remove obstacles to their construction.

President Obama can use his prestige in Indonesia to express strong, unapologetic support for religious freedom. There is no comparison, for example, between an insignificant American preacher who talks about burning the Koran and an Indonesian cabinet minister who calls for banning a minority Muslim sect. But he also needn't be openly critical. By expressing support for Indonesia's traditions of openness, tolerance and the rights of women, he can embolden Indonesians who fight for those values.
He can also clear up some of the confusion about American military actions in Muslim countries. It isn't enough to declare that we aren't at war with Islam, as true as that is.

The president could point out that we are fighting in Afghanistan not only to protect ourselves but also to protect the mostly Muslim population from the tyranny of the Taliban. An opponent of the war in Iraq, Mr. Obama can credibly point out that, whatever that war's wisdom, it is al Qaeda that has been deliberately killing innocent Muslims, and the Iraqi army and police that have been U.S. allies. This follows on earlier U.S. military action to protect Muslims in Kuwait, Northern Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo—and in Aceh, Indonesia, where prompt U.S. action saved thousands after the tsunami six years ago. Many Indonesians—like so many others—are unaware of these facts.

During his visit, President Obama and his Indonesian counterpart, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will launch a "Comprehensive Partnership Initiative" to deepen bilateral relations, especially economic and educational cooperation. But the most immediate result of the visit will be what impression Mr. Obama leaves with Indonesians about his convictions and Indonesia's traditions concerning religious tolerance.

Mr. Wolfowitz, a former U.S. ambassador to Indonesia and deputy secretary of defense, is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.




CRS Report for Congress

Indonesia: Domestic Politics, Strategic Dynamics and American interests
Updated June 20, 2007
Analyst in Southeast and South Asian Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division

Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress

Indonesia: Domestic Politics, Strategic Dynamics, and American Interests

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country and the most populous Muslim nation. It is also a moderate Muslim state which is strategically positioned astride key sea lanes which link East Asia with the energy resources of the Middle
East. Indonesia is also seen by many as a valuable partner in the war against radical Islamist militants in Southeast Asia. Jakarta is continuing to democratize and develop its civil society and rule of law under the leadership of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who many view as effective and reform minded. However, a legacy of abuse of human rights by the military which stems from the era of former President Suharto remains unresolved.

United States foreign policy concerns have focused on building relations with Indonesia to more effectively counter the rise of militant Islamist extremists as well as develop relations with a geopolitically important state through which strategic sea
lanes link the Middle East and Northeast Asia. The United States has also sought to promote democracy, the rule of law, and human rights in Indonesia in addition to promoting American trade and investment interests there. There have been several cases of avian flu in humans reported in Indonesia, and there have been concerns that Indonesia does not have the resources sufficient to contain a large scale outbreak should one occur.

This report surveys key aspects of Indonesia’s domestic politics and strategic dynamics in addition to providing general background information on Indonesia. It also provides an overview of the bilateral relationship between the United States and
Indonesia. The report examines issues of ongoing congressional interest, including Indonesia’s role in the war against violent Islamist extremists, international military education and training (IMET), human rights, religious freedom, promotion of
democracy and good governance, trade, foreign assistance, and regional geopolitical and strategic interests. The report seeks to provide a broader context for understanding the complex interrelated nature of many of these issues, several of
which are explored in greater detail in other CRS reports.

The Role of the Military (CRS-8)

The Indonesian National Defense Force (TNI) is generally regarded as the strongest institution in Indonesia.
Its origins date to the struggle for independence.
The TNI traditionally has been internally focused, playing a key role in Indonesian politics and preserving the territorial integrity of the nation — largely from internal threats — rather than focusing on external security concerns. Its strong tradition of secular nationalism has acted to help integrate the nation.

Government expenditures on the military in 2003 totaled only 1.3% of GDP.29 The key elements of the military in Indonesia are the Army Strategic Reserve Command, the Army Special Forces Command, other special forces, and the Military Regional Commands. There are also Air Force and Naval commands. While the military now has a less formal role in the
politics of the nation than it had in the Suharto era, it remains a key actor behind the scenes.30 That said, some observers are concerned about its indirect influence over politics. The Indonesian military has attracted negative attention through reports of involvement with human rights abuses in East Timor, Aceh, Papua, and Maluku, although current problems seem associated mostly with Papua.

Efforts to reform the military that were begun in the post-Suharto reformasi period now appear to be moving forward once again. Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono is reported to have estimated that the defense budget must be
doubled to achieve a professional military and modernized armed force that does not have to look to businesses and other ventures for alternative sources of income.31

The government is currently reviewing military-run businesses. Those deemed inefficient are being turned over to the government.32

President Yudhoyono has nominated Air Force Head Air Marshal Djoko Suyanto to lead the Armed Forces of Indonesia.
The Air Force is the least powerful branch of the Indonesian Armed Forces.
This position traditionally has been held by an Indonesian Army general.
During his “fit and proper” hearing before the House Commission I on Security and Defense, Suyanto vowed to keep the military out of politics and move forward with internal reform but stated that he did not see a need to dismantle the territorial command structure, a move viewed by many as seeking to gain favor with the relatively powerful army.33
During the period of reform, the TNI officially abandoned the doctrine of dwifungsi, or dual function, which gave it an official role in the politics of the nation.34 Appointed members to the legislative bodies from the military were removed while the police were separated from the TNI. Efforts were also begun to more firmly establish civilian control of the armed forces. Supporters of the reform agenda in Indonesia would like to see additional measures taken, including reform of the army’s territorial structure, a full withdrawal of the military from independent business activities, improving the military’s sensitivity
to human rights, and eliminating links to extremist elements.35

Some analysts of the TNI see it as having regained much of the power that it lost with the fall of Suharto. In this view, what has changed is that this power is less formalized. The TNI budget is estimated by some to be 50% self-generated. This part
of the TNI budget is thought to be largely outside governmental control. The TNI has emerged from the reformasi period with its territorial command structure intact, even as it lost its military representatives in parliament.36 The TNI will likely continue to play a central role in the evolution of the Indonesian polity in the years ahead. It could continue to play a largely constructive role supporting democratic change, or at least not obstructing it, or it could act to slow change. It also will continue to play a key role in attempting to suppress autonomous and secessionist movements in Indonesia and it will likely seek to preserve its prominent place in Indonesian society.37command structure, a move viewed by many as seeking to gain favor with the relatively powerful army.33

During the period of reform, the TNI officially abandoned the doctrine of dwifungsi, or dual function, which gave it an official role in the politics of the nation.34 Appointed members to the legislative bodies from the military were removed while the police were separated from the TNI. Efforts were also begun to more firmly establish civilian control of the armed forces. Supporters of the reform agenda in Indonesia would like to see additional measures taken, including reform of the army’s territorial structure, a full withdrawal of the military from independent business activities, improving the military’s sensitivity to human rights, and eliminating links to extremist elements.35

Some analysts of the TNI see it as having regained much of the power that it lost with the fall of Suharto. In this view, what has changed is that this power is less formalized. The TNI budget is estimated by some to be 50% self-generated. This part
of the TNI budget is thought to be largely outside governmental control. The TNI has emerged from the reformasi period with its territorial command structure intact, even as it lost its military representatives in parliament.36 The TNI will likely continue to play a central role in the evolution of the Indonesian polity in the years ahead. It could continue to play a largely constructive role supporting democratic change, or at least not obstructing it, or it could act to slow change. It also will continue to play a key role in attempting to suppress autonomous and secessionist movements in Indonesia and it will likely seek to preserve its prominent place in Indonesian society.37


Foreign Policy (CRS-18)

President Sukarno

President Suharto

Indonesian foreign policy has been shaped largely by two men, Presidents Sukarno and Suharto. Once a leading force in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of the early Cold War era, Indonesia has traditionally sought to remain largely independent from great power conflict and entangling alliances. Sukarno’s world view divided the world into new emerging forces and old established forces. Sukarno sought to fight the forces of neo-colonialism, colonialism, and imperialism, which brought his government closer to China in 1964-65. Suharto’s New Order lessened Sukarno’s anti-western rhetoric and focused on better relations with the region.

Under Suharto, Indonesia was one of the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) in 1967 and played a key leadership role in the organization. Indonesia’s internal problems since 1998 have kept it largely internally
focused. As a result, it has not played as active a role in the organization as in past years. Indonesia exerts a moderate voice in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping.

Under President Megawati
the emphasis
of Indonesian foreign policy
shifted to focus on trade.

Indonesia’s strategic interests are largely regional. Indonesia signed the Timor Gap Treaty with Australia in 1991. This provided for a mutual sharing of resources located in the seabed between Australia and the then-Indonesian province of East Timor.
This lapsed with the independence of East Timor. Australia and Indonesia also signed a security agreement in 1995 which fell short of an alliance but called for mutual consultations on security matters. Indonesian displeasure with Australia’s
support of East Timor independence in 1999 led Indonesia to renounce the agreement.

Indonesian ties with the West have at times been strained over alleged human rights abuses by the TNI. In 1990 Indonesia and China normalized ties, which had been strained since the alleged abortive coup by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in1965. Sino-Indonesian tensions remain over disputes related to the South China sea, particularly near the Natuna Islands at the southern end of the South China Sea, though in recent years ties have warmed.

In recent years, Indonesia has apparently embarked on a major foreign policy initiative with China which marks a significant departure from past tensions in their bilateral relationship. In April 2005, President Yudhoyono and Chinese President Hu
Jintao signed a series of trade, investment and maritime deals which have been described as a ‘strategic partnership.’75 President Yudhoyono has speculated that trade between Indonesia and China could triple to $20 billion in three years.76
The developing relationship will also reportedly include arms sales and assistance.

Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono has reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding on defense technology which includes arms sales and bilateral military cooperation.77

It is also reported that China will work with Indonesia to develop short range missiles.78

In April and May of 2005, tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia mounted over a maritime territorial dispute in the Ambalat area of the Sulawezi Sea. Both Indonesia and Malaysia reportedly have awarded offshore exploration contracts in the Ambalat area.79 Indonesian Kostrad units were placed on full alert as a result of the tensions.80 Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to resolve the dispute peacefully after a Malaysian patrol boat and a Indonesian Navy ship collided in the disputed area.81






 Indonesia Digest

 Global Digest