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Southeast Asian Affairs 2005 INDONESIAN FOREIGN POLICY A Wounded Phoenix Donald E Weatherbee Introduction: Heightened Expectations On 16thAugust 2004, Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri gave the annual presidential state address to Indonesia's Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, its House of Representatives. As it was, this turned out to be her final appearance in that role since five weeks later she was decisively defeated in the run-offpresidential election by Susilo BambangYudhoyono. In her speech documenting the achievements ofher stewardship of the republic, little reference was made to foreign policy. This was understandable given the critical political and economic domestic crises facing the Indonesian leadership. The event that was singled out in her brief allusion to foreign affairs was telling, however, signalling as it did the assertion of a re-emergent regional leadership role for Indonesia. The touchstone for the claim was the 9th ASEAN Summit held in Bali in October 2003, where she said, In ASEAN, which constitutes a priority in the conduct of our foreign policy, Indonesia was once again able to show its leadership. The success of Indonesia, during the 9th Summit, in preparing the Bali Concord II has strengthened the role, commitment, and the leadership of Indonesia within ASEAN.1 This was not just posturing by Megawati. More neutral Indonesia-watchers picked up the theme. Anthony Smith wrote: "The Bali Summit witnessed Indonesia's re-emergence to the role of group leader, or at least demonstrated Jakarta's desire to begin to steer the direction of the grouping again."2 Megawati's celebration ofIndonesia's important role in formulating the heralded Bali Concord II (ASEAN Concord II) evoked memories of the 1976 Bali Summit Donald E. Weatherbee is the Donald S. Russell Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA. Indonesian Foreign Policy: A Wounded Phoenix151 hosted by President Suharto. That summit was the collective response of the five non-communist states of ASEAN to the change in the regional geostrategic environment following the 1975 communist victories in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. At this first ASEAN Summit, the leaders of the ASEAN-five proclaimed the politically path-breaking "Declaration ofASEAN Concord". This reflected then, as the ASEAN Concord II reflects now, the felt urgent need for greater political and economic cooperation among the ASEAN members faced by common external challenges. The first Bali Concord in its political programme called for the "strengthening of political solidarity by promoting the harmonization of views, coordinating positions and, where possible or desirable, taking common action".3 That Bali summit cemented Indonesia's position as the key local player in Southeast Asia's international relations. In a sense, at the ASEAN level, the 2003 Bali Summit and its formal documents signified a rededication to the goals expressed more than a quarter of a century earlier at Bali. The challenges for an ASEAN-ten, however, are different from those that faced the core five. Today's security agenda is topped by terrorism and transnational crime to be addressed through an ASEAN characterized by intramural political divergence and diminishing international relevance. The Bali Concord IFs objective is the creation of "a dynamic, cohesive, resilient and integrated ASEAN Community" by the year 2020.4 The rubric "ASEAN Community" is an umbrella vision sheltering three separate but, conceptually at least, integrative initiatives: an ASEAN Security Community (ASC), an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and an ASEAN Social and Cultural Community (ASCC). It fell to Indonesia, whose turn it was to chair ASEAN, to give content to the previous 8th ASEAN Summit's "Phnom PenhAgenda Towards A Community of Southeast Asian Nations".5 The outline of "community" that was developed by the "ASEAN-ocrats" between the 8th and 9th summits went well beyond the limited call at Phnom Penh. At the Indonesian national level, the Bali Summit was the first opportunity for a post-Suharto leadership to lay claim to an important role in shaping the region's future — a reassertion of Indonesian primacy in Southeast Asia. The Indonesian government, backstopped by Track II intellectual inputs, most vigorously promoted the idea of an ASEAN Security Community. The ASC was deemed Indonesia's "opportunity to reclaim its 'strategic centrality' withinASEAN, which in turn would enable the Association to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1793-9135
Print ISSN
0377-5437
Pages
pp. 150-170
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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