Indonesia’s Rising Regional and Global Profile: Does Size Really Matter?
- Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 33, Number 2, August 2011
- pp. 157-182
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This paper seeks to challenge the view that Indonesia’s geographical and population size account for its rising regional and global profile. Instead, it makes three inter-related arguments. First, the manifestations of Indonesia’s foreign policy and global profile have always been based on its ability to harness the country’s normative and moral voice. Second, while democratization since 1998 has allowed Indonesia to restore its reputation in world affairs and provided it with a new source of “soft power”, it has also complicated foreign policy-making. Third, Indonesia’s large geographical size and population have been a source of persistent internal security threats, and because the government has been unable to meet national defence requirements, the growth in its defence diplomacy activities reflect the country’s continuing strategic weakness rather than its strength.