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Indonesia Rising

The Repositioning of Asia's Third Giant

Anthony J S Reid

Publication Year: 2012

There are reasons for thinking that this is at last Indonesia's moment on the world stage. Having successfully negotiated its difficult transition to democracy after 1998, Indonesia has held three popular elections with a low level of violence by the standards of southern Asia. Recently its economic growth rate has been high (above 6 per cent a year) and rising, where China's has been dropping and the developed world has been in crisis. Indonesia's admission in 2009 to the G20 club of the world's most influential states seemed to confirm a status implied by its size, as the world's fourth-largest country by population, and the largest with a Muslim majority. Some international pundits have been declaring that Indonesia is the new star to watch, and that its long-awaited moment in the sun may at last have arrived. Those who know Indonesia well, like the experts writing in this book, are less easy to convince. In this volume they weigh the economic evidence (Ross Garnaut and M. Chatib Basri); the political equation between democracy and the massive obstacles to progress in corruption, inefficiency and legal inadequacies (Rizal Sukma and Donald K. Emmerson); and Indonesia's unrealized potential as a leader in matters environmental (Frank Jotzo) and Islamic (Martin van Bruinessen). The volume is rounded out by Scott Guggenheim's analysis of the potential for better performance in education, and by the longer-term considerations of Anthony Reid and R.E. Elson. Overall, the conclusion is one of cautious optimism, well aware of past disappointments. "Perhaps, as the contributors to this eminently readable and thought-provoking volume suggest, Indonesia is finally emerging as the globally significant nation-state that it surely is. A timely and important publication that deserves to be widely read." - Hal Hill, H.W. Arndt Professor of Southeast Asian Economies, The Australian National University

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii


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pp. ix


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pp. xi-xiii

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pp. xv-xvii

I have always had a strong personal sense of engagement with and commitment to Indonesia. It started with visits long before I entered politics, but was much reinforced by the very warm professional and personal relationship I developed with Ali Alatas after we became the...

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pp. xix-xx

This book is the latest to appear in a long and distinguished lineage. The Australian National University’s Indonesia Update began in 1983, when the late Jamie Mackie and Peter McCawley conceived and implemented the idea of an annual public conference in Canberra to assess conditions...


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pp. xxi-xxiv

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1. Indonesia’s New Prominence in the World

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pp. 1-13

Surprising as it sounds to cynical Indonesians and disillusioned Indonesianists, there are reasons for thinking that this is at last Indonesia’s moment on the world stage. The world’s fourth-biggest country by population has an unenviable reputation for not living up to...

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2. Indonesia in the New World Balance

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pp. 14-27

The final quarter of the twentieth century saw modern economic growth firmly established in the populous countries of Asia for the first time: China from the late 1970s, Indonesia from the mid-1980s, India from the early 1990s and other Southeast Asian economies at various times...

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3. Indonesia’s Role in the World Economy: Sitting on the Fence

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pp. 28-48

A friend once told me that Indonesia is a ‘disappointing’ country: it disappoints optimists because it never reaches its full potential, and it disappoints pessimists because they expect it to collapse at any moment. I think there is some truth in this joke. Indonesia is indeed a country...

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4. Is Indonesia Rising? It Depends

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pp. 49-76

Increasingly since the mid to late 2000s, Indonesia has been chosen for inclusion in creative acronyms that shortlist countries with unusually bright prospects for material growth. In this upbeat genre, Indonesia has been seen both as a cat (a ‘tiger’, or one of the CIVETS) and as a bird...

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5. Domestic Politics and International Posture: Constraints and Possibilities

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pp. 77-92

There are few countries whose international image has undergone as radical a transformation as Indonesia’s within such a short period of time. In the mid-1990s, Indonesia was widely viewed as a major contributor to regional stability in Southeast Asia. Following the political turmoil...

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6. Can Indonesia Lead on Climate Change?

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pp. 93-116

Indonesia’s environment matters not only to the quality of life of its people, but also to its neighbours and the world. Indonesia is among the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide, but it has good opportunities to reduce those emissions to the benefit of future generations...

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7. Indonesian Muslims and Their Place in the Larger World of Islam

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pp. 117-140

With over 220 million Muslims, Indonesia has the largest community of Muslims in the world. Nevertheless, Indonesian Muslims do not play a role in global Muslim thought and action that is commensurate with their numbers. Indonesian Muslims have been eager to...

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8. Indonesia’s Quiet Springtime: Knowledge, Policy and Reform

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pp. 141-169

Indonesia’s recent emergence as a middle-income country carries with it significant implications for its overall development strategy and the role that knowledge and education play within it. Indonesia is increasingly operating in a highly competitive global economy, one that...

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9. Problems of Identity and Legitimacy for Indonesia’s Place in the World

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pp. 170-185

Over the last half-century or so, the Republic of Indonesia has enjoyed some notable diplomatic successes in its international dealings. Among them can be counted its feat in 1949 in securing formal recognition of the sovereignty it had proclaimed over the territory of the former...


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pp. 187-198

E-ISBN-13: 9789814380416
Print-ISBN-13: 9789814380409

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1