Throughout the 1990s, resisting international pressures to democratize was one of the dominant features of Indonesia’s foreign policy. Together with Singapore, Malaysia, and China, Indonesia strongly resisted the democracy-promotion agenda present in the foreign policies of Western countries, arguing that democracy was unsuitable for Asian societies. That position came to an end with the collapse of authoritarian rule in 1998. As the dust of domestic turmoil resulting from transition began to settle, Indonesia began to incorporate its democratic identity into foreign policy. Indonesia’s desire to establish its credential as a regional proponent of democracy in Southeast Asia, however, is still sought within the limits imposed by the precarious nature of Indonesia’s own democracy and the reality of regional politics. It also still registers a gap between its progressive outlook at regional level and conservative attitude in the international arena. Consequently, democracy can hardly function beyond an instrument to construct a new international identity for post-authoritarian Indonesia. In that context, the inclusion of democracy agenda in Indonesia’s foreign policy is still best described as an exercise in democracy-projection rather than democracy-promotion.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 110-123
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.