Category: Foreign Policy

Given that Australian leaders often describe the relationship with Indonesia as the country’s most important bilateral relationship, the newly released Foreign Policy White Paper is noticeably light on detail about Indonesia. The problem for Australia, writes Professor Tim Lindsey, is that Indonesia probably doesn’t care.

West Papuan independence activists surprised many in September when they delivered a petition to the UN signed by 1.8 million Papuans and Indonesian settlers. Dr Richard Chauvel writes that while this petition may not get far, so long as Indonesia fails to address rights abuses by the security forces, the issue will continue to be raised at the international level.

Hopes are high for Indonesia to play a greater role in responding to the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. But Diah Tricesaria and Randy Nandyatama write that if Indonesia is to be seen as a legitimate actor in brokering peace in Myanmar, it must show leadership in the management of refugees at the domestic and regional levels.

President Joko Widodo’s apparent lack of interest in ASEAN is a result of his short-term and pragmatic approach to policy making, writes Randy Nandyatama. Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have an important role to play in explaining ASEAN’s relevance and its connection to his political agenda.

What is the state of US-Indonesia relations, amid rising geopolitical competition in Indonesia’s region, and following the election of Donald Trump as US president? In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae speaks to Dr Dino Patti Djalal ahead of US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Indonesia on 20 April.

President Donald Trump has taken anti-Muslim prejudice to new levels in the United States. But opposition to Trump in Muslim-majority Indonesia has been strangely muted, especially compared to the criticism directed at his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush. Andrew Mantong explores the reasons why.

The recent visits of President Joko Widodo to Australia and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to Indonesia came in the wake of another tense period in the bilateral relationship, caused mainly by concerns over Papua. Why does this issue remain so sensitive and what is its history in the relationship? Dr Jemma Purdey explores these issues and more with Dr Richard Chauvel in Talking Indonesia.

Early in the term of President Joko Widodo it seemed unlikely that Australia and Indonesia would continue to enjoy the amicable relations they experienced under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. On the eve of Jokowi’s first bilateral visit to Australia, Dr Dave McRae writes that despite frequent tension, both countries share a strong belief that good relations must be maintained.

The exact details of what instigated the recent dispute between the Indonesian and Australian militaries remain unclear. But whatever the cause, Professor Tim Lindsey writes that the bilateral relationship is changing, and this kind of turbulence is likely to become more common.

In our final post for 2016, we send off this rather depressing year by taking a look back at some of the expert commentary and analysis published on Indonesia at Melbourne. Thanks again for your loyal readership and support, and we look forward to seeing you again in mid-January.

An Indonesian representative to the UN won praise last month for laying into Pacific countries that questioned Indonesia’s human rights record in Papua. Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge writes that defensive statements about sovereignty do nothing to address the humanitarian issues that are, in fact, the primary concerns of state and non-state actors in the Pacific.

President Joko Widodo made an appeal to Southeast Asian unity in the face of regional instability as the ASEAN Summit kicked off in Laos this week. Dr Avery Poole writes that this may bode well for Indonesia’s traditional leadership role in ASEAN but we are unlikely to see significant progress on key regional governance challenges.