The Indo-Pacific Region 3: Copyright R. James Ferguson 2000, 2001

INTR13-305 & INTR71/72-305, The Department of International Relations, SHSS, Bond University, Queensland, Australia

3. Nationalism and Identity: Indonesia, Australia and East Timor


Topics: -

1. Indonesia: From Ancient Civilisations to Modern Republic

2. The Indonesian Crises of 1997-1998

3. The New Indonesian Democracy 1998-2001

4. Australia-Indonesian Relations (Seminar)

5. The East Timor Crisis (Seminar)

6. Conclusion

7. Bibliography and Further Reading


1. Indonesia: From Ancient Civilisations to Modern Republic

It will not be possible to go into detail in this lecture on Javanese, Malay, Balinese culture, nor to give a detailed account of the early history of Indonesia (see Koentjaraningrat 1990; Moejanto 1986; Cribb & Brown 1995; Aveling 1979; Church 1995). It is possible to drew out a few key points, however, which can show the unique features of Indonesian historical experience. First, however, a general timeline might give some sense of history of the islands which we now call Indonesia.

Table I: Timeline - General Outline of Indonesian History (updated from Church 1995): -

6-8th centuries: Borobudur and Prambanan temples build

13th century: Islam spreads throughout islands

16th century: Portuguese first to establish trading posts

1602: Netherlands East India Company (VOC) formed, attacks Jakarta in 1619

1796: VOC bankrupt, control assumed by Dutch government

1942-45: Japanese occupation

1945: Independence unilaterally declared on 17 August

1946-49: Dutch try to resume control and guerrilla war starts

1950: President Sukarno elected

1959-65: Period of Guided Democracy

1965: Unsuccessful coup attempt by some army officers, period of crisis

1965: New Order government under President Suharto

Late 1980s: Non-oil exports exceed oil exports, Indonesian economy undergoes steady liberalisation and internationalisation.

1998: President Suharto resigns in the face of economic crisis and political opposition

1998: Caretaker Habibie government contains crisis and prepares for elections

1999, 20 October: Democratic elections result in Wahid government


The first historical fact of importance is that continuous ancient civilisations have existed in the Indonesia islands for over two thousand years, including extended kingdoms creating widespread spheres of influence (called mandalas) such as Majapahit (focused on Java in the 14th century; see Wolters 1982; Hall 1981, pp47-104) and Srivijaya (7-13 century, Sumatra based). Later on, major royal courts existed in Yogyakarta in Java, as well as major trading centres in Aceh and also in Malaysia (Malacca, powerful from 1400-1511). None of these kingdoms, however, ever embraced all of modern Indonesia, and none created a unified nation-state. They did, however, provide a rich and deep cultural system, embracing Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim elements.


Barong Dance: Part of a Complex musical drama performed in Bali, Indonesia

(Photo copyright: R. James Ferguson 1998)

Nor was the region culturally or linguistically unified. Dozens of different languages and culture systems existed, with the very diverse Javanese courts, Aceh and Minangkabau societies (both in Sumatra), the Buginese people (originally of the north Celebes) giving a small sample of the different cultures of the region (see Kumar 1979). We can sense something of this complexity when we note, for example, that though Java is the most populous island of Indonesia, houses its capital, and is the most influential politically, the official language of Indonesia (Bahasa Indonesian) is in fact a variant of the Malay found originally in Sumatra. Malay, however, was used as a widespread trading language at least from the 17th century and therefore was effective as a shared language, which was actively promoted by the Dutch in the early 20th century (Kumar 1979, p17; Van Niel 1979, p146). It had also been preferred by some of the pro-Dutch Javanese administrators in the nineteenth century (a fact disapproved of by the 19th century Javanese rebel leader Dipanagara, see Carey 1979, p77). The choice of this language rather than Javanese as the national language was in fact a wise diplomatic move by the modern Indonesian government, since it emphasised a national identity transcending that of Java alone.

The region is also pluralist religiously. Although Islam first began to strongly spread throughout the region from the 13th century, Indonesia had already been profoundly influenced by indigenous animistic beliefs, as well as Hinduism and Buddhism. Furthermore, Islam in Indonesia has also been culturally transformed by these earlier beliefs, so that village religion in parts of rural Java is sometimes termed Kejawen, i.e. a mixture of Islam with Hindu and animistic conceptions. Likewise, in parts of Java Islam has been historically influenced by Sufism, leading to a highly individualistic form of religious belief. Both these traditions stand apart from more Orthodox forms of Islam. Bali, of course, is largely Hindu. It is for these reasons that Islam is not the official religion of Indonesia, even though Islam has had a profound effect on the region, and was one of the main elements of the resistance to the West in the 19th century.

Instead, five religions have official status (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism and Buddhism). However, the state emphasises instead the notion of Pancasila, a set of principles designed to allow cultural diversity but promote national unity. The five principles of Pancasila include Belief in God, National Unity, Humanitarianism, People's Sovereignty, Social Justice and Prosperity, and under the Suharto government these principles had become a central commitment compulsory for all political organisations, and strongly emphasised in all formal educational settings, and from 1985 required for all non-Government organisations (Robinson 1993, p44). Although sometimes dismissed as a mere political fabrication of the Indonesian government, it is interesting that Indonesian academics down to the 1990s still explored and debated Pancasila issues at international conferences, stressing the usefulness of this arrangement as a way of avoiding both Javanese and Islamic dominance of what needs to be a more diverse and yet inclusive Indonesian society. It can thus be viewed as an integrationist strategy.

Indonesia (map courtesy PCL Map Library)

It should also be remembered that Indonesia was not in any sense a backwater before the Europeans arrived. On the contrary, Indonesia and Malaysia were in the centre of a complex trading network which stretched from China to India, and then beyond into the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and even to the east coast of Africa (see Chaudhuri 1990; Frank 1994). This Indian Ocean trading complex was also partially linked into the Eurasia trading system of the Silk Road, and the Incense Road (from Arabia). This ocean going trading system was largely disrupted by the intervention of the Europeans, and when the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch suppressed local kingdoms they indirectly aided an increase of regional piracy. This was a very cosmopolitan world, trading with India and China, connected to religious and intellectual systems in Arabia, Persia, India and China (see Ferguson 1997).

The question we can ask, then, is how did Indonesian nationalism, and sense of identity, emerge? Here, ironically, the Dutch colonial power (which controlled the region increasingly from the 17th century down to 1942) left an important experience. The legacy of the struggle to overthrow Dutch control left 5 important influences: -

1) The Netherlands East Indies in the late 19th century expanded to the limits approximating those of current Indonesia, thus setting the scope for the Indonesian nation. Indonesian nationalists intentionally set about incorporating this entire region into their new state, including the exclusion of the Dutch from Irian Jaya (West New Guinea, which had been separated out from the first independence agreement). To this would be added the region of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, leaving a controversial legacy which has been fiercely debated over the last two decades.

2) Indonesian nationalism, as distinct from loyalty to particular courts, their rajas and sultans, or to local regions, emerged largely out of resistance to Dutch rule and European exploitation. Although some humanitarian elements were found in certain Dutch administrations, even by the 1930s the Dutch had no intention of leaving the islands and were firmly in control of most of the region. This sense of shared grievance was augmented by Islamic resistance to Westernisation, but this was only one element among many. Although the term 'Indonesian' had some earlier usage, 'by 1928 the idea of being Indonesian and the determination to create a modern Indonesian nation free from Dutch colonial rule was widely held' (Church 1995, p44). This trend was given a concrete focus in 1928 during a national Youth Congress in Batavia (now Jakarta), in which a large crowd 'witnessed the ceremonial raising of the red and white flag, recited a National Pledge and sang a newly composed national song. This was a public expression of their determination to create an independent Indonesia with a common flag, language (Indonesian, which was derived from Malay) and national identity which transcended regional and ethnic loyalties.' (Church 1995, p44).

3) As well as providing the main motive for nationalism, the Dutch indirectly provided many of the tools needed for a national revolution. They educated a small middle and upper class of Indonesians, whose education now opened them to the entire range of European historical experience, including modern notions of the nation-state, methods of European economics, military systems and statecraft, and various strands of socialism, Marxism and communism, which attracted a sizeable minority of the nationalist movement. Although the PKI (Indonesia Communist Party) failed in its attempts at revolution in the revolts of 1926 and 1927, they formed one of the elements which supported the national platform developed by Sukarno, who declared the Republic of Indonesia born on 17 August 1945.

4) Dutch control had been swept from the islands in 1942 by the Japanese, who at first were welcomed as Asian liberators. At least, they demonstrated that the British and the Europeans were not invincible. Japanese rule, though more sympathetic to indigenous nationalism, turned out to be harsh, with forced labour programmes (the romusha programme) and enormous food shortages causing incredible suffering towards the end of the war. At the same time, the Japanese were willing to train an Indonesia militia and army units, and allowed nationalist leaders to begin discussing a constitutional framework (Church 1995, pp46-7; Legge 1988). This training proved invaluable in the struggle against the Dutch.

5) Neither the Dutch nor the victorious allies were at first willing to recognise Indonesia independence. The Netherlands East Indies administration spent the war years in Brisbane, planning their return (Church 1995, p47). The Netherlands reoccupied many of the cities and towns in 1946, with the Republic of Indonesia government holding control of Yogyakarta and parts of Central Java. For the next three years there was an intense phase of guerrilla warfare, which was a revolutionary war in which many future leaders, and the Indonesian army, established their political credentials. This warfare was combined with an effective 'diplomatic offensive' which resulted in the U.S. and the UN pressuring the Dutch to leave the region (Church 1995, p47). It was this period of war that is particularly celebrated in national monuments and historical accounts today, and provides the main foci for national unity. In fact Indonesian politics were dynamic, and quickly moved from a parliamentary democratic system (1949-1959) to a period of 'Guided Democracy' emphasising the powers of the President, the role of the army, and limits on opposition parties (for an overview, see Quiko 1977). Even this arrangement, which seemed to allow too much power to the Communist Party, did not last. In 1965 an unsuccessful coup demonstrated the instability of the accord established by Sukarno, and in 1965-66 a massive wave of violence rolled through much of Indonesia, eliminating most of the leftist parties, as well as attacking Chinese minorities. From 1965 onwards, a New Order government was imposed under President Suharto, focusing on economic development, law and order, and national unity, but strongly limiting opposition groups. It is this experience which has also conditioned a limited tolerance to opposition groups under former President Suharto, as well as sensitising Indonesian opposition to the possibility in the 1970s of a Communist government on its doorstep, i.e. in East Timor. Such facts do not excuse the excesses committed in the invasion and occupation of East Timor, but show some of the reasons why such an iron hand was used.

This has meant that the Indonesian Republic has charted a very different path to other Republican states, e.g. compared to the U.S. These differences include: -

1. A strong traditional of an organic, integral state system (Robison 1993, p42), which should transcend particular vested interests. This means that 'democracy' was largely interpreted as mobilising popular and mass support, rather than the liberal democratic ideology of democracy as a contending forum for adversarial interests and parties. The New Order government under Suharto, in particular, emphasised a corporatist state, based on a 'common national good', with organisation of political activity 'into functional units rather than competing interests' (Robison 1993, p45). From this point of view, some have viewed the Suharto system as 'authoritarian corporatism' (Robison 1993, p46) or 'soft authoritarianism'. In such a system the main political issue remains is 'who shall be the next leader', not the constitution of the parliament. Suharto would probably have preferred elite consensus between the main groups in the state, with no major disagreements. Yet it is exactly this issue of the succession of leadership which is highly controversial, both within and without Indonesia. Although the children of Suharto (Sigit, Bambang, Tommy, Siti Rukmana) remained influential down to 1998, none were suitable for the future post of President. Until late 1998 another major player was Major-General Prabowo Subianto, then chief of Indonesia's elite special forces, and Suharto's son in law (involved in the hostage-release strike in Irian Jaya, Williams 1997, but then implicated in anti-Chinese activities in the turmoil of 1998, and dismissed). Suharto associate B.J. Habibie was President for a short time, but seems to have been viewed as too close to the Suharto administration to win elections in 1999. In any case, the scandal behind the bail out of Bank Bali, and the national humiliation over the East Timor referendum made him an unsuitable candidate. Indeed, by 1999, this notion of an integral, organic state had begun to wain, though current leading figures including President Abdurrahman Wahid (head of National Awakening Party), Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri (leader of the Indonesian Democracy Party of Struggle, PDIP) and Amien Rais (head of the National Mandate Party) seem reached a working arrangement for the year 2000. For a time it seemed that Commander in Chief Wiranto, in particular, might have wished to step forward in a leadership role, but by early 2000 he was cut off from much of his support base, and the government has sought to control the army rather than be directly controlled by it.

2. The political system which emerged in Indonesia tended to support elite leadership and a strong presidentially based government, guaranteed by the support of the army (Robison 1993, p43). The President, constitutionally, chooses the cabinet and is generally a stronger source of authority than the parliament. Former President Suharto also had a major role in choosing candidates and official in the Golkar Party (Robison 1993, p48). Beyond this, the Presidency has enormous informal prestige and influence through various government agencies, through charity and activities organisations (the Yayasans, see Robison 1993, p48), through his business connections, and some sectors in the military (though some sectors in the military have been critical of his power base and also seek political and or military reform, e.g. F-ABRI, Robison 1993, p52). Whether the parliament in Indonesia can gain more real power in following years is a crucial area of possible reform. Through 1999-2000 this seems to have begun, with the Parliament at times being unwilling to follow the lead of President Wahid, e.g. rejecting President Wahid's suggestion of a independence referendum in the province of Aceh.

3. Likewise, the country until 1999 was not run by permanent party systems, i.e. a government and a permanent opposition (Robison 1993, p44). Instead (until 1998), three parties were officially allowed a major role in contesting parliamentary elections, but most electoral activity was only allowed free reign in the few weeks for elections. Golkar, the party of 'the government', the PPP (United Development Party), and the PDI (People's Democratic Party) are the three parties active in the 1990s and allowed to publicly campaign. Yet this system could not meet all the needs of the entire population: frustration was often expressed during elections periods, resulting in some rioting and demonstrations in city areas in 1996 and 1997, e.g. clashes in May 1997 (Sim 1997). Other refused to vote as an act of protest. It was during 1996 that the ousting of chairperson Megawati Sukarnoputri (daughter of former President Sukarno) from the Parti Demokrasi Indonesia (PDI) caused severe political turmoil. With massive street marches in support of her in Jakarta, and than 1,000 of her supporters occupying the PDI headquarters in Jakarta surrounded by police and the military during July 1996, her cause has attracted international attention. Violence erupted in late July, with reports of street skirmishing and riots near the compound. Many young people supporting Megawati saw her as one of the few reformist options for Indonesia. Megawati at that time received support from the Independent Election Monitoring Committee (KIPP), from the independent SBSI trade union, from the Indonesian Student Solidarity for Democracy, from a group of retired military officers around Lieutenant-General Bambang, and from other reformist elements, none of whom were recognised by the government (Jacob 1996). Through early 1997, Megawati's claims to have a right to stand for elections were still being heard before Indonesian courts. In April 1997 Suharto's daughter, Mrs Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, also became involved in electioneering (Sim 1997), providing a curious balance, with one daughter of Sukarno and one daughter of Suharto prominent in public life. Once again, the role of popular leaders remains very important in the political process. Furthermore, one might need to speak of a fourth invisible 'party' of those who refused to vote and abstained from political activity because they find none of the alternatives credible. In late 1998 the authorities reluctantly allowed Megawati to hold major rallies of her reformed democratic party in Bali, suggesting that some limited opening of the political system had begun. With the retirement of Suharto, the political situation has seriously opened up. New parties were formed, and it is clear that both Megawati and Amien Rais wished to play a major role in political life. In the 20 October 1999 presidential elections, Abdurrahman Wahid took office, perhaps as a person able to represent compromise, and his government favoured 'gradual reform and reconciliation'. His support for Megawati as Vice-President indicates his effort to create a 'consensus' government. Bearing in mind the poor health and the age of President Wahid, it is likely that a new circle of leaders will emerge over the next five years. From early 2001 the political credentials of President Wahid began to decline due to corruptions scandals among some of his associates, as well as due to his ill health.

4. Elections were hotly contested, and other groups engage in critical debates outside the main political groups, e.g. Forum Demokrasi (Robison 1993, p63), students groups, groups monitoring elections etc. In 1998, the most outspoken group demanding change were university students. Speaking out during a period of economic crises, they were a central catalyst in forcing change on the political system. Today, Indonesia is much more open and democratic, but not yet politically stable.

The history of the formation of the Indonesian Republic, however, remains central to Southeast Asian affairs today. It is clear that Indonesia is a modernising Asian Republic with many successes to its credit, but also many pressing problems to face.

2. The Indonesian Crises of 1997-1998

Many of these issues came to a head in late 1997 (See Cullen 1998; Ferguson 1998). The problems of the Suharto regime were partly counterbalanced by the authority and indirect power that Suharto had managed to build up through political and non-political means. Like many other modern states, conscious efforts have been made in Malaysia and Indonesia to lay claim to an enduring civilisational legacy and to be the protectors of a diverse culture. There had been improvements in some aspects of Indonesian life under the Suharto government, especially in real poverty alleviation and the emergence of a strong industrial sector (Sheridan 1997, pp91-92, pp108-109). There was also a modest increase in diplomatic strength through ASEAN initiatives that have also bolstered the country's international standing. In spite of problems in human rights, democratisation, and the treatment of East Timor, Indonesia was able to pursue a vigorous foreign policy, enhancing its role in ASEAN, increasing its importance to Australia, and until 1997 deepening its image as an emerging economic tiger.

However, Suharto's regime had not been truly inclusive, had not been able to peacefully nominate a genuine successor, and therefore did not survive the storm of recent failures in environmental and economic policies. The first of these crises was a major environmental problem sparked off by uncontrolled fires in Borneo and Sumatra which resulted in widespread pollution negatively affecting Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia for the last third of 1997. This crisis had the immediate affect of undermining the health and well-being of millions of residents in the region, curtailing tourism, and resulted in the closure of some air transit routes. Beneath this 'air pollution' story, however, lurked more serious series of problems. The intensity of the fires was increased by the cyclical weather pattern known as El Nino, linking these fires to cycles of drought possibly primed or increased in intensity by global warming. Rice harvests were severely affected in Indonesia, while droughts in Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea resulted in the need for increased Australian food aid. Beyond this, however, the fires were in part the outcome of poor land usage practices, used in part by impoverished Indonesian farmers (often 'truck farmers' who moved into virgin territory down logging roads), and in part by large companies engaged in the timbre industry in Indonesia. Many of these companies were suspected of breaking environmental codes, and temporarily had their licenses suspended. Within a short time, however, most were reinstated and conducting business as usual. Confused responses to the crisis began in Indonesia itself (Dellios 1997). The head of Indonesia's state-owned electricity company, PLN, complained to parliament of 'mismanagement' because of interference by 'outsiders' - a thinly veiled reference to close business associates of then President Suharto. In a short time 45 of the 144 companies which had their timber clearing permits revoked in October had them reinstated. Thirty-six were timber companies and nine were plantation businesses. Three of these reinstated operations were linked to 'timber baron' Bob Hasan, close friend of Suharto (Dauvergne 1998; Dellios 1997). These trends have suggested deeply rooted problems within Indonesian forestry, land and resource management, as well as pointing towards cronyism in the Suharto regime.

The second crisis was a financial and economic collapse that stripped away the image of Indonesia as a thriving success story of Asian capitalism. A serious regional crisis was signalled by an 18% depreciation of the Thai baht on 2 July (it dropped 32% by September 1997) but this was only the tip of the iceberg. As many currencies in the region begun to drop, people spoke of a contagion or 'Asian flu'. Indonesia soon followed. Indonesia from 1995 had allowed the floating of its currency with certain levels of change, some 4-5% per year (Rosenberger 1997, p236). On the 11 July 1997, this band was widened to 12%. On 21 July, investor confidence began to drop, with the rupiah dropping to 2,510 to the US dollar. This cushioned some of the impact, but in late 1997 to early 1998 serious drops in value against the US dollar occurred. After September 1997, there were serious falls in the Jakarta stock market, and the rupiah continued to fall, by 27 October it was near 3,600 to the U.S. dollar (losing 30% of its value).

There are many reasons for the sudden reversal in fortune for Indonesia. The Indonesian economic situation was worse than people thought, with Indonesian conglomerates much more exposed to private foreign debt than publicly known. Indeed, the Indonesian government itself had no real idea of how heavily exposed its private corporations and banks were to foreign debt. This was based on a lack of transparent accounting in Indonesian banks and companies. These debts were much worse once the rupiah dropped against the value of the dollar, i.e. many of these debts were unhedged. Panic occurred, with Indonesian banks then trying to sell the rupiah, weakening it further. This added to the problem of capital flight from the national economy.

These conditions forced Indonesia to approach the IMF and World bank on 8 October 1997, in spite of fears that such intervention would interfere with the sovereignty of Indonesia, and in fact open up a whole range of problems concealed within the Indonesian economy. The initial IMF plan was for US$23 billion from IMF, World Bank and ADB (Asian Development Bank), plus $11 billion from Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Australia (under somewhat softer conditions). The total package as of April 1998 was targeted at $36.6 billion. By 1999, total IMF and World Bank packages would amount to US$43 billion. The aim was to restore confidence, restructure the entire financial sector, further deregulate the banks, trade reforms, increase accountability and transparency, reduce some tariffs, reduction of some monopolies in food, and some reduction of subsidies, e.g. on kerosene. At first it was hoped that growth for 1998 could be held to 4-5%, with expected job losses. However, in reality, growth estimates for 1998 soon dropped to 0-1%, and then were projected at -5% (or less). In fact, industrial output may have dropped as much as 20-30% as many firms are forced to close.

The stringent conditions imposed by the IMF package, based on cutting imports and government spending, opening up financial systems, and de-regulating the economy, produced considerable problems for the Suharto government, which at first hoped for an 'IMF Plus' deal, whereby the social impact of reform could be moderated. There was intense disagreement within the Suharto cabinet over which projects should be cut, e.g. Habibie's projects were at first protected (aircraft, shipyards). There were also problems in cutting subsidies, e.g. on kerosene, staple foods. Rioting among the poor in many cities throughout Indonesia was partly sparked by rapidly rising costs for rice, cooking oil and kerosene. The government managed to import rice and make it available in adequate quantities in remote areas, thereby holding the increase in rice costs to less than twice the early 1997 cost. However, the IMF plan, based on notions of economic rationalism and free markets, was not really sensitive to the need to delay some of these reforms to avoid social chaos. In late 1997, the Australian government intervened to ask the IMF to slow and restructure some of these reforms to avoid social collapse. The IMF agreed to a partial rescheduling of some economic reforms, with extra humanitarian aid being offered by Australia and Japan in 1998 to ensure social stability. However, it was too late to avoid serious rioting in urban areas, and intensified demands by student bodies.

By April 1998, the Suharto government was in crisis. The President and his cabinets had not been able to avoid economic collapse, had not been able to reshape the international financial climate to their advantage, and by early 1998 were not strong enough to avoid violence overflowing onto the streets. Though not often spoken of openly, many people remembered the violence of 1965-1966, and were afraid that social and political tensions might seriously escalate.

However, it was not just the facts of these crises which spelled the end of the Suharto government. Rather, the image of the Suharto as a 'man of power' able to control events and crush opposition had to be undermined as well. On this basis, Suharto's implicit cultural claims to pre-eminence and rightful leadership had been in doubt for some time. The poor handling of the economic crisis and the IMF implementation package, combined with continued and vigorous student and elite criticism, stripped the mask from the regime during the crises of 1997 and 1998. An extension of the Suharto presidency in March 1998 only deepened opposition. Many in Indonesia had suspected the problems of the Suharto regime and the inefficiencies and corruption of its economic policies. They knew what the masque of cultural legitimacy covered. However, the authority and support for the regime (via the Golkar political party, the army, and Suharto's connections to rich business elements) had to be publicly revealed and fragmented before Suharto could be forced to stand down. To this day, it is not certain what role other political figures may have played in events during the crucial period of 12-21 May, 1998 (Berfield & Loveard 1998). Furthermore, in spite of his own aspirations, Suharto was found not to be the dalang, not the puppet master who orders the events in the shadow-puppet play and mediates between the human and spiritual worlds. The poor performance of many of his family, ministers, and colleagues, and their total inability to stabilise the Indonesian currency underlined the real limits of their power. The riots, deaths, rapes, and burnings of May 1998, combined with an ambiguous military and police response, spelled the end of any confidence that the situation could be contained by the Suharto government. Such failures, and a lack of credible follow up by the Habibie government, also further hardened the international community and the attitudes of particular groups overseas (Kynge & Thoenes 1998; Glave 1998). Confidence by overseas business groups continued to decline, combined with largely negative international media images which probably reinforced the negative financial and investment trends.

President Suharto, so long as he claimed to promote the general interests of a nation and was strong enough to control its main power groups, could partly contain resentment of the role of his family in public life and widespread elite corruption. This facade of competence was cracked by the economic crisis into which Indonesia was plunged in 1997. When the full fragility of the supposed economic miracle was revealed by the realities of company closures, bank crashes, a dropping currency (Rosenberger 1997), job losses, and the rising cost of basic goods, the image of a strong, authoritarian leadership was shattered. Any residual claims to either Javanese royal symbology (Stange 1984) or to Indonesian Republican embodiment failed. In this setting, even the army and police forces, though dominant in terms of the brute force at their disposal, soon recoiled from excessively repressive actions against an increasingly vocal student and opposition movement. Repeated attempts to appeal to public calm and national unity (Williams 1997), combined with threats of severe repression by military commanders, failed to restore any sense of a resilient regime. Nor did the public continue to believe that only Suharto could hold the diversity of Indonesia together in one Republic (Scott 1998). It was not only that the government had failed to deal with the crises, but that the entire performance of Suharto and his various cabinets failed to create a source of legitimate order. At the deepest level, those not directly tied to Suharto's clique were not satisfied at any level, materially, economically, psychological or emotionally.

This sense of outrage and betrayed hopes were particularly strong among members of the university population, most of whom were aware of the political nuances of Javanese, Indonesian and Western politics. It was this deeper sense of dissatisfaction which boiled over into the streets, and mobilised such a wide range of opposition to the continuation of the Suharto presidency. This anger and frustration, of course, also expressed itself in mob violence, arson, and racially motivated attacks. In spite of the brave aspirations of the young Republic for 'unity in diversity', it was precisely the problems of internal factions, relations with the Chinese ethnic minority, and with East Timor, that would be intensified through 1998.

Suharto did manage to retain some residual gracefulness in his public resignation on 21 May 1998, an event broadcast on national and international television. If there is something tragic about the failure of Suharto, the appointment of his colleague B.J. Habibie as vice-President and then President did not inspire confidence. Habibie's earlier style of economic management seemed totally at odds with IMF expectations. These events also resurrected the fear that Suharto might still hope to hold the strings, acting in the background. Taken as a whole, Suharto's performance moved from a competent beginning to a growing sense of ambivalence and duplicity which undermined much of the confidence that might have been derived from earlier economic successes. He neither sensed the real mood of the nation, nor presented a face which suggested that he could resolve Indonesia's multiplying problems.

Diverse groups and leaders soon increased their opposition to Suharto and his followers, e.g. public opposition from figures as diverse as Amien Rais, head of the Islamic organisation Muhammadiyah, and Goenawan Mohamad, intellectual and journalist (Scott 1998). National and international confidence, at heart a psychological as well as rational assessment, were shattered. Some estimates suggest that the current economic turmoil if sustained over the next year might return poverty in Indonesia back to 1976 levels, i.e. some half of the population (Scott 1998). It is not surprising that the Indonesian public is now keenly interested in the status of Suharto's personal fortune, and in investigating claims of nepotism and administrative corruption. His public disclaimers have not been widely convincing. Any sense of cultural or political legitimation seems to have slipped beyond Suharto's reach. With predictions of at best a slow economic recovery for Indonesia, economic gains will be an insufficient means to secure solid support for governments in the short and medium term.

3. The New Indonesian Democracy 1998-2001

Indonesia had gone through considerable suffering in the 1998-1999 period. However, it is clear that the political system of the country is now more open and pluralist than before. The elections of October 1999 led to something of a surprise comprise with the emerge of a unified government led by President Abdurrahman Wahid, a respected moderate leader of one of the main Muslim organisations (Nahdlatul Ulama, with 35 million members), but supported by Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri and to some degree by Amien Rais, the Speaker of the Consultative Assembly.

However, in many ways the situation in Indonesia remains extremely fluid. Certain key challenges have emerged or remain in the 1999-2001 period including: -

4. Australia-Indonesian Relations (Seminar)

Australia has had a complex relationship with Indonesia ever since the formation of the Republic. This has ranged from active support, to mutual threat perceptions, to active international support, and then back to a period of tensions. A timeline will help set this in perspective: -

Table II: Australia-Indonesia Relations: Selected Timeline till 1988

Pre 1788: Visits of Buginese fishermen to north Australian coasts to collect sea cucumber or trepang.

17-18th Centuries: Dutch vessels contact west Coast of Australia

1827-29: British concerned about Dutch threat to north coast of Australia

1941: Oil and Petroleum exports from Netherlands East Indies to Japan curtailed as part of allied war effort.

1941-42: Australia and allies regard Netherlands East Indies as a vital part of its defence line.

1942: Japanese forces secure control of most of Indonesia

1942-1945: Netherlands East Indies administration located in Brisbane

1945: Australian troops as part of allied forces aid return of Dutch control of Netherlands East Indies

1947-1949: Australia one of the first nations to recognise the Republic of Indonesia. Australia asked to represent Australia's interests in the UN during negotiations with the Dutch (these policies were largely established under the leadership of Dr. H.V. Evatt, then Minister of External Affairs. At this time, Australian trade unions also embargoed Dutch cargoes and personnel.

1950: Australia co-sponsored Indonesia's entry to the UN (also supported by India)

1950: First Australian ambassador presents credentials to President Sukarno

1950-62: Australia supports Dutch control of West New Guinea

1962: Dutch forced out of West New Guinea, which become Irian Jaya, 26th province of Indonesia

1963-1966: Australia supports Malaysia against Indonesia in 'Konfrontasi', with some Australian forces used in Sarawak (Borneo).

1967: ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) formed

1975: Indonesia invades East Timor which becomes it 27th province in 1976. Five Australian journalists die during invasion.

1978: De facto recognition of Indonesian control of East Timor by Australia's Foreign Minister, Andrew Peacock.

1979: Australia gives de jure (formal, legal) recognition of Indonesian control of East Timor

1980s: Low level conflicts along Irian-Jaya-Papua New Guinea border

1986: Australian media criticises President Suharto's family

1988-1994: Close ministerial contact between Indonesian and Australian governments

1989-1993: APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group) establishes itself, with strong Australian involvement

December 1989-February 1991 Timor Gap Treaty between Australia and Indonesia established (establishes boundary of sea resource usage, i.e. oil reserves that Portugal claims should belong to an independent East Timor. This has led to disputes before the International Court of Justice)

November 1991: Dili massacre in East Timor by Indonesian military forces. Australia issues mild protests.

1992: Trade between two countries reaches $A3 billion (Indonesia 10th larges export market for Australia)

April 1992 Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum established

1992-1994: Prime Minister Paul Keating visits Indonesia three times

1992-1995: Indonesia chairs the Non-Aligned Movement

1994: ASEAN Regional Forum engages ASEAN nations plus dialogue partners, including Australia, debate security issues

December 1995: Australia-Indonesia security agreement.

March 1996: Asia-Europe (ASEM) Meeting - Australia excluded

April 1996: New Australian Foreign Minister visits Indonesia, close links reiterated (part of his Asian tour)

April-May 1998: Turmoil in Indonesia sparks Australian concern and exodus of Australian business groups

1997-1998: Australia supports help soften structure of IMF package for Indonesia

Early 1999: Reversal of Australian policy on East Timor

September 1999: INTERFET military mission to East Timor to be led by Australia

1999: Mirage of 'Howard Doctrine' (Australia as regional sheriff) undermines relations with Indonesia

1999-2000 Human Right abuses in Indonesian control of East Timor revealed

December 2000 Ministerial Meeting to improve Australia-Indonesia relations

2000-2001 President Wahid does not visit Australia, in spite of early plans to do so


We can see, then, that the experience of war and nationalism was very different in Indonesia and Australia. Indonesia was born in opposition to a colonial power. Nor could the Indonesians rely on any outside protectors. Instead, they had to cope with a turbulent internal play for power between different political groups and cultural groups, all complicated by certain regional tensions, e.g. in Aceh, East Timor, and Irian Jaya. The result was a certain sense of vulnerability, of fragility in the political system.

In this setting, it was the Indonesian army which soon established itself as the final protector of social order, first under Sukarno, and then under Suharto. The role of the army was never just professional in the Western sense: as a revolutionary army it also claimed a dual function (dwifungsi), with army officers often taking up civil, business and administrative positions, including a prominent place in parliament (Sidell 1996; Cribb & Brown 1995, pp140-141, pp151-3), and with ex-officers becoming judges and ambassadors. This policy was also combined with the defence conception called hankamrata (the formal title is Pertahanan dan Keamanan Rakyat Semesta = Total People's Defence and Security), which argued that since any invasion would need to be fought on Indonesian soil, the armed forces need to keep positive links with the Indonesian people in order to ensure both their loyalty and an adequate resource based (Cribb & Brown 1995, p7). This is not a doctrine of people's war (as used in Chinese and Vietnamese strategic thought), but rather a broad justification for a strong political and social role for the army. Although some elements within the Indonesian armed forces are beginning to question the dual function concept in favour of a modernised professional army of the Western sort (Cribb & Brown 1995, p152), this policy remains part of Indonesian law and part of the system of governance of the state. We can see that the army, and other security elements in Indonesia (e.g. the police), have taken a very active role in politics, and in controlling anti-government elements in society. One of the big challenges for the government of Indonesia remains the management of its relations with the military.

We can sense something of how different this is to the role of the Australian army, which is professionalised and so de-politicised that ordinary rank and file members are not usually allowed to speak out on political issues (even ones which affect defence issues). This leaves open a wide range of misunderstandings between the two countries. When General Herman Mantiri was to about to be appointed ambassador to Australia in 1995, this in fact probably signalled a heightening of the importance of relations between the two countries. Within Australia, of course, the General's earlier comments, which condoned the role of the military in East Timor, roused a fury of opposition in the media and the public at large. This reaction genuinely surprised the Indonesian government, which changed the nominated ambassador, but it was some time before this dent in relations was smoothed over. Likewise, Australia also made an error in June 1996 when it attempted to appoint Mr Miles Kupa, who had in the past been a controversial critic of Suharto family corruption (Lague 1996). The Indonesian government politely suggested another choice, a view which was accepted by Foreign Minister Downer. Relatively small issues have caused friction within the relationship. Media Images of Australian troops forcefully arresting Indonesians at gun point in East Timor have also fuelled a sense of resentment.

These tensions are part of a larger aspect of a very different experience in the two countries. In post-1900 Australia, the armed forced were always conceived of as being for use against external threats, or to fight on behalf of allies overseas. Aside from a few cases where specialised military personnel were used to break strikes (something which was covertly attempted again on the Australian waterfront in 1998 with serving army officers being trained as 'strike-breakers'), and their use in disaster relief, there was almost no internal function for the Australia military. Indonesia, on the other hand, has recently fought a revolutionary war on its own soil, and has since been involved in smaller military actions in several parts of Indonesia. Alongside the dual function concept, the Indonesian military have, and will continue to have, a major internal role.

This means, ironically, that the Indonesian armed forces, in spite of relatively high numbers of troops, at present have almost no ability to project power beyond their own region, and in fact lack the air and sea power to fully patrol their own sea and air space (see Buszynski 1992-3; Mak 1993). Australian perceptions of the Indonesian threat during the 1960s and 70s were largely overrated. This structure of the Indonesian forces is also a significant issue today, since from March 1996 Indonesia, under the provisions of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS), desires to restrict international shipping to set north-south routes through its waters, with express permission needed for other routes (Walters 1996). This will have direct implications for U.S. naval vessels, and both Australia and the U.S. have protested this move. Although Indonesia has been modernising and expanding its navy since the early 1990s (Mak 1993), it remains to be seen whether its air and naval power will be sufficient for the task of full sea lane and maritime resource surveillance.

A large number of other areas of possible misunderstanding could be listed. These include an over-assessment of the role of radical Islam in Indonesia, and a glib assessment that Indonesia belongs with some Islamic bloc in the future of world affairs (such simplistic views can be found in Huntington 1993). Although there are small militant Islamic groups in Indonesia (e.g. in the 1980s groups like Komando Jihad, see Cribb & Brown 1995, p157), we have already seen that Islam plays an important and complex role in Indonesia society, while as a state Indonesia remains secular. Islamic militancy has increased among some groups in the crisis period of 1998-2000, especially over conflicts in Ambon, but is not a dominant factor nationally.

Likewise, there is often conflict between the Australian media and the Indonesia government about how 'problem' areas are represented, e.g. East Timor, treatment of opposition groups, suggested corruption in those around for President Suharto and his family (see Byrnes 1994). In the adversarial and public approach of Australian politics, everything is open to scrutiny, media coverage and debate. In recent years the Australian government has decided to avoid a confrontationist approach: discrete criticism only have been made of the handling of affairs in East Timor, and the Australia-Indonesia security agreement was secretly negotiated in 1995 to avoid the glare of excessive media publicity. This general stance in turn has been strongly criticised by Australian human rights groups, trade union, churches, and refugee support groups. Likewise, Australia's de facto and later legal recognition of Indonesia's control of East Timor (and thereby control of oil resources in the Timor Gap) has also resulted in strong international criticism, not least from Portugal (for this controversial issue, see Ismail 1995; Dunn 1983). The reversal of Australian and Indonesian policies in relation to East Timor, however, has opened up another area whether tensions can arise between the two countries. The Howard government in December 1999 for a time signalled that the East Timor peacekeeping operation indicated that strength of Australia in the region, and even suggested some kind of regional power role (Kelly 1999). This not only caused resentment within Indonesia, but also sparked concerns within the ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) group as a whole. 

5. The East Timor Crisis (Seminar)

The East Timor issue is complex and will be looked at in a little more detail in the seminars. A few brief comments will set the scene for this current crisis in Southeast Asian affairs. East Timor, is spite of being a relatively small territory with a population of only around 800,000, has emerged as a major test case for Australia-Indonesia relations, and for the issue of when and how the international community should intervene in humanitarian crises and self-determination conflicts (for one view, see Singh 1996).

In many ways the East Timor problem is a legacy from the colonial period, when the Portuguese controlled East Timor, whereas most of the rest of Indonesia came to controlled by the Dutch. When the Dutch were eventually forced to leave Indonesia and then Irian Jaya, this left a small Portuguese, largely Christian community, sitting at the end of the main southern island chain of Indonesia. The Portuguese were slow to give up their colonial holdings, and the desire to do so came with the sudden change of government in 1974 after a bloodless overthrow of the fascist Cataeno government there. However, the Portuguese left a political vacuum which the Indonesians felt they needed to fill.

There are numerous reasons why Indonesia felt that it needed to incorporate East Timor. These include: -

The Indonesian forces began with a programme of covert destabilisation in East Timor, (Operation Komodo), followed by a direct military intervention, including a massed sea and air campaign that closed in on Dili in December 1974 (Salla 1999, pp163-164). After this time, anti-insurgency campaigns, and efforts to seal off Timorese guerillas from food and other supplies lead to severe suffering from malnutrition and disease in segment of the population. Total estimates for deaths due directly or indirectly to this conflict have varied, but in 1979 the Indonesian Foreign Minister himself suggested a total of 120,000 deaths (Cotton 1999, p8). Total estimates, which must remain largely unconfirmed, for deaths have ranged as high as 200,000.

However, the grip of Indonesia on the island was never secure. In spite of some in-migration and the presence of strong army units, many East Timorese were disgruntled with Indonesian rule. Some resisted passively, often through Church communities (especially through the solidarity provided by the Roman Catholic Church, Cotton 1999, p17), others engaged in a long, drawn out guerrilla war that did not stop until 1999. Likewise, international pressure was felt from a number of sources, including the UN General Assembly which repeatedly down till 1982 had passed motions supporting self-determination for East Timor. Likewise, Portugal initiated proceedings against Australia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for its Timor Gap 'Zone of Cooperation' Agreement to control oil and gas resources, since this infringed upon East Timor's right of self-determination. However, no final resolution could be received because one of the parties, Indonesia, refused to become party to the Court's activities (Cotton 1999, pp9-10). Likewise, the fact that the Bishop of East Timor, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, and political activist Jose Ramos Horta (see Horta 1997) won the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize put the international spotlight once again on the humanitarian record of Indonesia. By 1998, Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Downer had also begun to turn towards the possibility of a resolution (Downer 2000), with contingency plans for possible international peace keeping being formulated within the Australian Department of Defence (Cotton 1999, p13).

Key factors in Australian policy have included: -

* A small force of 400 Australiana and Dutch troops went into East Timor to harass Japanese forces totalling 20,000 men during World War II. They received strong support from the local Timorese, who suffered some 40-60,000 deaths, leaving a legacy of loyalty and fellow-feeling among returning veterans.

* The Australian government under Gough Whitlam in 1974 was against the colonialist influence of Portugal, and argued that peaceful union with Indonesia was the only viable path for East Timor. This may have been read as a 'green light' by some leaders in the Indonesian armed forces, especially to General Ali Moertopo (Salla 1999, p163).

* From 1975 the new Liberal-National Party government for a time took a critical view of Indonesian actions, but in the end the foreign-policy relationship with Indonesia was viewed as more important than supporting East Timorese self-determination (Salla 1999, pp164-166).

* From 1976-1993 Australia's policies for East Timor moved from self-determination issues to humanitarian aid and 'human rights diplomacy', while at the same time trying to build more positive ties with Indonesia (Salla 1999, pp166-170).

* The 1991 massacre of civilians at the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili did provoke a response in Canberra, but efforts were made to ensure that the military commanders were tried, though final sentences were in fact comparatively light.

* From 1993-1996 the Labour government engaged Indonesia under the concept of 'cooperative security', trying to engage the region in preemptive diplomacy and reducing threat perceptions (Ball & Kerr 1996; Salla 1999, pp171-172). This meant that the East Timor issue could only be raised within the context of accepted Indonesian control.

* With the collapse of the Suharto government, and widespread efforts at political reform, the opportunity was ripe for self-determinism efforts in East Timor. This was sustained from 1998 through 2000.

* At the same time, Foreign Affairs Minister Downer and Prime Minister of Howard rapidly moved to support an autonomy and/or independence plan partly put together by Australia's Department of Defence, by governance think-tanks, and by East Timorese conferences which began to meet in Australia in 1998-1999.

* Through 2000-2001, though Australia has reduced its military involvement in East Timor, it is clear that the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) will need to extend its mandate into next year to stabilise the island. Furthermore, Australia will remain one of the main suppliers of aid for years to come as East Timor slowly builds a viable economy. Furthermore, the East Timor experience, as well shall see, has forced a serious reappraisal of Australia's defence policies and her engagement in Southeast Asia. It also placed severe strains on defence budgets, with one estimate suggesting that the total cost of the East Timor relationship could be as much as $4 billion over a four year period (Garran 2000).

Opportunities for independence began to converge from 1998 after the fall of the Suharto government. The caretaker Habibie was keen to improve its international profile, and in any case had major problems at home to deal with. Indeed, some dialogue with the rebel movement, and with the arrested Xanana Gusmao (captured in 1992) had begun since early 1995. A surprising statement was made in late January 1999 by the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister, Ali Alatas, that the East Timorese might have to choose between a privileged autonomy within Indonesia, or choose complete independence without any help from Jakarta. The then President Habibie seems to have viewed the problematic province as a net drain on Indonesian resources. By this time, Australia had already begun to suggest after a period of autonomy East Timor should be allowed to vote on self-determination (Cotton 1999, pp13-14). This lead to a referendum on this issue on the 30th of August 1999.

Run-up campaigning to the referendum, however, lead to extreme violence between pro- and anti-independence factions, with the killing of civilians and the burning of some churches. Pro-Indonesian militias, estimating to total some 20,000 irregulars, conducted a campaign of political terror which was not effectively halted by the Indonesian armed forces. Indeed, claims were made that these militias were often covertly armed and supported by local army units, or perhaps by Interior Ministry policies (Cotton 1999, p15). It also seems likely that some training and agitation has been conducted by Indonesian Kopassus units, elite military forces trained for special operations.

After the referendum emerged with a strong 'independence' vote. The elections were supervised with difficulty by the UN Assistance Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) on 30 August 1999. The result was a 78.5% 'yes' for complete independence, a result which immediately led to increased violence by militias, including thousands of deaths and destruction of much of the infrastructure of the region, especially large-scale burning in Dili. A reinforced peace-keeping mission was then sent into East Timor, the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET), a total force of 7,500 men. It included a 4,500 strong force from Australia, and the mission as a whole was commanded by Major General Peter Cosgrove. These numbers were soon increased. Other units were contributed from Thailand, Britain, and U.S. naval and supply support. These units slowly began disarming militias and forced many of them over the border into East Timor (for peace-making and Australian policy, see Cotton 1999b). As October 1999, some 230,000 refugees were also registered as refugees in West Timor, and limited returns to East Timor occurring during late 1999.

Key issues for consideration in the future include the economic viability of East Timor, the aid required from Australia, Portugal and other countries, the issue of political conciliation within the country, the question of whether Human Rights tribunals should be convened for East Timor, and East Timor's future relations with Indonesia and ASEAN as a whole.

6. Conclusion

What is surprising, however, is how far Australian-Indonesian relations have shifted from 1945 to 2001. From an ally of the imperial powers which were deeply suspicious of Indonesian Independence, Australia shifted to be one of the first nations recognising the new state soon after World War II. However, Indonesia, with its high population and non-aligned status, soon appeared to the Australian government as a potential enemy and threat to Australia's interests in the north, especially in New Guinea, and in Australia's defence arrangements with Malaysia. It is only in the early 1990s that the numerous differences between the two governments had been overcome sufficiently for leading ministers of both nations to speak of the two countries as being 'friends', a noteworthy term to use in international relations. This friendship seemed to stall in 1999, in spite of the progress towards a more open political system in Indonesia at that time.

This radical change opens up the disputed issue of what relations really can be between states. Are such relations based on nothing more than shared interests, which may radically change in the future? Is this accord based on the desire to share the oil wealth of the Timor Gap, a shared desire for economic growth, and a covert desire for both to retain highly levels of international leverage in the region? What would be the implication of continued fragmentation within Indonesia for the region as a whole? If Indonesia passes through these crises and emerges as a regional great power in the next fifty years, will this once again spark Australian fears of being an 'odd man out' in the region? What this really means, and how stable this relationship will be, remains to be seen. Its importance to Australian foreign policy has probably increased with the economic and political crises of 1997-2001. We will investigate in later lectures whether Australia, too, has a natural role in the region. Any such role, however, is not likely to be based on outmoded ideas of 'alliances'. Australia, by its very complementarity and very different history, is one important element (among others) in the region, and has a major role to play in relation both to Indonesia and Southeast Asia has whole. It remains to be seen, however, how well Indonesia will cope with ongoing separatist tensions in regions such as Aceh, and whether improved relations between Australia and Indonesia will be sustained. What is clear is that Indonesia is one of the most important states in the Indo-Pacific region.


7. Bibliography and Further Resources


1. " A Subtle Compromise in Indonesia: Forming a Grand Coalition", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 9, November 1999.

2. "Megawati Supporters to Continue With Protests", Straits Times, 14 July 1996 [Interactive Internet Access].

3. "A Subtle Compromise in Indonesia: Forming a Grand Coalition", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 9, November 1999.

4. Fears concerning succession have dominated Indonesian politics since the mid-1990s, RAMAGE, Douglas E. Politics in Indonesia: Democracy, Islam and the Ideology of Tolerance, London, Routledge, 1995, pp194-198.

5. The IMF's Response to the Asian Crisis, April 1998, IMF Internet Homepage.

6. "A Subtle Compromise in Indonesia: Forming a Grand Coalition", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 9, November 1999.

7. "Indonesia is Aiming to Boost Exports, says Tunky", Straits Times, 14 January 1998 [Internet Access].

8. Lt.-Gen. Prabowo was removed from command of the Army Strategic Reserves (Kostrad) shortly after these events, on May 28 1998, and appointed as head of an army staff college in Bandung, thereby removing his direct command of battle-ready forces. Then in late August he was sacked by a closed-door military honour board, presumably due to complicity in the kidnapping of political activists, WILLIAMS, Louise "Jakarta Sacks Army Top Brass Over Kidnappings", Sydney Morning Herald, 25 August 1998 [Internet Access]. It is hard to know at this stage whether the rumours of Prabowo's involvement in the violent events of May are valid, or whether his actions merely reflect competition with General Wiranto for the position of Commander of the Armed Forces. As a son-in-law of Suharto and an ambitious young commander, Prabowo is a likely political target during this period of change. Without further hard evidence, the exact machinations of May 1998 will remain open to dispute and speculation. Prabowo's claims of continued loyalty to Suharto will be found in SCOTT, Margaret "Indonesia Reborn?", The New York Review of Books, 13 August 1998 [Internet Access].

9. For the sarcasm and distain of many of the students towards Suharto, openly expressed through 1998, see SCOTT, Margaret "Indonesia Reborn?", The New York Review of Books, 13 August 1998 [Internet Access].

10. "Wahid 'Preparing to Sack Wiranto'", Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 2000 [Internet Access].

11. "Megawati Behind Me, Says Wahid", Sydney Morning Herald, 1 February 2001 [Internet Access].

12. " The Prospects for East Timor", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 5, June 1999.

13. Salla 1999, p159; " The Prospects for East Timor", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 5, June 1999.

14. "The Prospects for East Timor", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 5, June 1999.

15. " The Prospects for East Timor", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 5, June 1999.

16. "The East Timor Crisis: A Disaster for Indonesia", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 8, October 1999.

17. "The East Timor Crisis: A Disaster for Indonesia", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 8, October 1999.

18. "The East Timor Crisis: A Disaster for Indonesia", Strategic Comments, 5 no. 8, October 1999.


A general view of the history of East Timor, from a Portuguese source (written in English), will be found at

The Australian role in the INTERFET United Nations mission is presented by the Australian Army webpage at

Voluntary Further Reading

These issues can be further explored in: -

COTTON, James "'Peacekeeping' in East Timor: An Australian Policy Departure", Australian Journal of International Affairs, 53 no. 3, November 1999, pp237-246 (Vertical File)

CRIBB, Robert & BROWN, Colin Modern Indonesia: A History Since 1945, London, Longman, 1995

HEFNER, Robert Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2000

SELDEN, Mark et al. East Timor, Indonesia and the World Community: Resistance, Repression and Responsibility, Cedar, MI, Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 2000.


ANDERSON, Benedict "The Idea of Power in Javanese Culture", in Holt, Claire et al (eds.) Culture and Politics in Indonesia, Cornell University Press, 1972

"Australia to Honour Treaty with Indonesia", Straits Times Interactive, 22 April 1996 [Interactive Internet Access]

Australia. Parliament. Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Australia's Relations with Indonesia, Canberra, Australian Govt. Pub. Service, 1993

AVELING, HarRy (ed.) The Development of Indonesian Society: From the Coming of Islam to the Present Day, Brisbane, University of Queensland Press, 1979

BALL, Desmond & KERR, Pauline Presumptive Engagement: Australia's Asia-Pacific Security Policy in the 1990s, St. Leonards, Allen & Unwin, 1996

BARLOW, Alex The Land and the Dreaming: Aboriginal Religions, South Melbourne, Macmillan, 1987

BEARMAN, Sidney (ed.) Strategic Survey 1995-6, London, IISS, 1996

BELLWOOD, Peter Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago, N.Y., Academic Press, 1985

BRAUDEL, Fernand The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, 2 vols., London, Fontana, 1973

BUSZYNSKI, Lesek "ASEAN Security Dilemmas", Survival, 34 no. 4, Winter 1992-93, pp90-107

BYRNES, Michael Australia and the Asia Game, London, Allen & Unwin, 1994

CAREY, P.B.R. "Aspects of Javanese History in the Nineteenth Century", in AVELING, Harry (ed.) The Development of Indonesian Society: From the Coming of Islam to the Present Day, Brisbane, University of Queensland Press, 1979, pp45-105

Chaudhuri, K. N. Asia Before Europe: Economy and Civilisation of the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1990

Chiddick, J.P. and Teichmann, M. Australia and the World: A Political Handbook, Melbourne, Macmillan, 1977

CHIPMAN, John (Dir.) The Military Balance 1995-1996, London, IISS, 1995

CHURCH, Peter (ed.) Focus on Southeast Asia, Sydney Allen & Unwin, (ASEAN Focus Group), 1995

CLARKE, F.G. Australia: A Concise Political and Social History, Sydney, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992

COTTON, James (ed.) East Timor and Australia: AIIA Contributions to the Policy Debate, Canberra, Australian Defence Studies Centre, 1999

COTTON, James "'Peacekeeping' in East Timor: An Australian Policy Departure", Australian Journal of International Affairs, 53 no. 3, November 1999, pp237-246 (Vertical File)

CRIBB, Robert & BROWN, Colin Modern Indonesia: A History Since 1945, London, Longman, 1995

CULLEN, Anne "The Role of Governance in the 1998 Indonesian Crisis", The Culture Mandala, 3 no. 1, November 1998, pp1-17

DAUVERGNE, Peter "The Political Economy of Indonesia's 1997 Forest Fires", Australian Journal of International Affairs, 52 no. 1, April 1998, pp13-18

DELLIOS, Rosita "Living in a Haze", The Culture Mandala, 2 no. 2, 1997, pp34-37

DOBBS-HIGGINSON, Michael S. Asia Pacific: Its Role in the New World Disorder, Melbourne, William Heinemann, 1993

DODD, Desmond "IMF Cautious on Outlook for Asia", Asia Times, 24 April 1997 [Internet Access]

DOWNER, Alexander "East Timor - Looking Back on 1999", Australian Journal of International Affairs, 54 no. 1, April 2000, pp5-10

DUNN, James Timor: A People Betrayed, Milton, Jacaranda, 1983

EDWARDS, W.H. (ed.) Traditional Aboriginal Society: A Reader, South Melbourne, Macmillan, 1987

EVANS, Gareth Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s and Beyond, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1993

EVANS, Gareth & GRANT, Bruce Australia's Foreign Relations: In the World of the 1990's, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1995

FAKHRY, Majid A History of Islamic Philosophy, N.Y., Columbia University Press, 1983

FERGUSON, R. James "Trading Cultures: Regional and Global Interactions in the Indo-Pacific Region", Paper presented at The Fourth International Conference on Development and Future Studies,: Economic and Social Development Issues of the 21st Century, Bangi, Malaysia, 2-4 September 1997 (In Vertical File)

FERGUSON, R. James "The Dynamics of Culture in Contemporary Asia: Politics and Performance During' Uneven Globalisation'", Paper Presented at the Asian Cultures At the Crossroads: An East-West Dialogue in the New World Order Conference, November 16-18 1998, Hong Kong Baptist University (Co-sponsored by Ohio University).

FIRDAUS, Irwan "Indonesia Powerless in Face of Islands At War", Sydney Morning Herald, 5 January 2000a [Internet Access]

FIRDAUS, Irwan "Troops Fan Across East Indonesia", Infobeat, 7 January 2000b [Internet Access]

FIRDAUS, Irwan "Refugees Claim Spice Islands Deaths", Infobeat, 5 January 2000c [Internet Access]

FRANK, Andre G. "The World Economic System in Asia before European Hegemony", The Historian, 56 no. 2, Winter 1994

FUKUYAMA, Francis "Democratization and International Security", Adelphi Paper 266, London, IISS, Winter 1991-92, pp14-24

GARDINER, Geoff "The Security Treaty with Indonesia", Research and Analysis: Newsletter of the Directorate of Army Research and Analysis, no. 6, April 1996, pp1-3

GARRAN, Robert "Asia Rebounds as Historic Capitalist Hub", The Weekend Australian, 6-7 April, 1996, p9

GARRAN, Robert "Growing Costs Muzzle Firepower", The Australia Defence Review 2000, p1

GEERTZ, Clifford Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-century Bali, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1980

GESICK, Lorraine (ed.) Centers, Symbols and Hierarchies: Essays on the Classical States of Southeast Asia, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1983

GLAVE, James "Cyber 'Vandals' Target Indonesia", Wired News, 18 August 1998 [Internet Access].

GREENLEES, Don & CHAN, Gabrielle "Envoy Rebukes Hayden on Nuclear Indonesia", Australian, 11 April 1996, p2

HALL, D.G.E. A History of South-East Asia, 4th edition, Basingstoke, Macmillan Education, 1981

HEWISON, Kevin et al. (ed.) Southeast Asia in the 1990s: Authoritarianism, Democracy and Capitalism, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1993

HIATT, L.R. (ed.) Australian Aboriginal Concepts, Canberra, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 1978

HORTA, Jose Ramos "Self-Determination for East Timor: Implications for the Region", Australian Journal of International Affairs, 51 no. 1, April 1997, pp97-102 (Vertical File)

Hudson, W.J. 'The Australian People and Foreign Policy', in F. A Mediansky (ed.), Australia in a Changing World: New Foreign Policy Directions, Maxwell Macmillan Publishing, Botany, NSW, 1992

HUNTINGTON, Samuel P. "The Clash of Civilizations?", Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993, pp22-49

ISMAEL, Budi East Timor: An International Affair, Research Paper no. 3, The Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies, Bond University, 1995

KELLY, Paul "Delusion of Grandeur", Weekend Australian, 11-12th December 1999, p25

KING, Dwight "Indonesia's Foreign Policy" in WURFEL, David & BURTON, Bruce (eds) The Political Economy of Foreign Policy in Southeast Asia, N.Y., St. Martin's Press, 1990, pp74-100

KINGSTON, Margo "Wik Not Moral Issue, Says PM", Sydney Morning Herald, 9 December 1997 [Internet Access]

KOBUS, Edwina "Australia's Part in Indonesia's Struggle", Asian Business Review, February 1994, p92

KOENTJARANINGRAT Javanese Culture, Singapore, OUP, 1990

KUMAR, Ann "Developments in Four Societies Over the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries", in AVELING, Harry (ed.) The Development of Indonesian Society: From the Coming of Islam to the Present Day, Brisbane, University of Queensland Press, 1979

KYNGE, James & THOENES, Sander "China Assails Habibie Over Persecution of Chinese", Financial Times, 5 September 1998 [Internet Access]

LAGUE, David "Down Orders Extra Checks on Diplomats", Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June, 1996 [Internet Access]

LEAVER, Richard Restructuring in the Global Economy: From Pax Americana to Pax Nipponia? Canberra, Australian National University Peace Research Centre, Working Paper no. 16, February 1989

LEGGE, J.D. Intellectuals and Nationalism in Indonesia, Cornell Modern Indonesia Project, 1988

MACKERRAS, Colin Eastern Asia: An Introductory History, Melbourne, Longman Cheshire, 1992

MAK, J.N. ASEAN Defence Reorientation 1975-1992: The Dynamics of Modernisation and Structural Change, Canberra, ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence, no. 102, 1993

MANSURNOOR, Iik Arifin Islam in An Indonesia World: Ulama of Madura, Yogyakarta, Gadjah Mada University Press, 1990

MOEDJANTO, G. The Concept of Power in Javanese Culture, Yogyakarta, Gadjah Mada University Press, 1986

MUTALIB, Hussin "Islamic Revivalism in ASEAN States: Political Implications", Asian Survey, XXX No. 9, September 1990

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION OFFICE Indonesia: Source Book 1993, Jakarta, NDIO, 1993

NEEDHAM, Joseph Science in Traditional China, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, 1981

PEREIRA, Derwin "Gus Dur's Position Safe - For Now", The Straits Times Interactive, 8 February 2001 [Internet Access]

QADIR, C.A. Philosophy and Science in the Islamic World, London, Croom Helm, 1988

QUIKO, Edo "The Rise and Fall of Sukarno: A Brief Analysis of Indonesia's Political Development, 1949-1965", Asian Profile, 5 no. 5,

RAMAGE, Douglas E. Politics in Indonesia: Democracy, Islam and the Ideology of Tolerance, London, Routledge, 1995

REYNOLDS, Henry "An Aboriginal Republic", Independent Monthly, March 1992

Robertson, David The Penguin Dictionary of Politics, 3rd ed., Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1988

ROBISON, Richard "Indonesia: Tensions in State and Regime", in HEWISON, Kevin et al. (ed.) Southeast Asia in the 1990s: Authoritarianism, Democracy and Capitalism, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1993, pp39-74

ROSE, Deborah Bird "The Saga of Captain Cook: Morality in Aboriginal and European Law", Australian Aboriginal Strategies, 2 no. 3, 1994

ROSENBERGER, Leif Roderick "Southeast Asia's Currency Crisis: Diagnosis and Prescription", Contemporary Southeast Asia, 19 no. 3, December 1997, pp223-252

SALLA, Michael E. "Australian Foreign Policy and East Timor", in COTTON, James (ed.) East Timor and Australia: AIIA Contributions to the Policy Debate, Canberra, Australian Defence Studies Centre, 1999, pp159-180

SARDESAI, D.R. Southeast Asia: Past and Present, Boulder, Westview, 1994

SAUNDER, Cheryl et al. "The Constitutional Case for Change", The Australian Special Edition, Wed April 1, 1992, pp13-16

SCOTT, Margaret "Indonesia Reborn?", The New York Review of Books, 13 August 1998 [Internet Access]

SHERIDAN, Greg Tigers: Leaders of the New Asia-Pacific, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1997

SIDELL, Thomas E. "The Indonesian Military: Dwi Fungsi and Territorial Operations", For Leavenworth, Foreign Military Studies Office, 1996 [Internet Access]

SIM, Susan "Rioters Clash with Troops in Jakarta", Straits Times Interactive, 24 May 1997 [Internet Access]

SINGE, Udai Bhanu "East Timor: Pebble in Indonesia's Shoe", Strategic Analysis, 19 no. 9, December 1996, pp1319-1330 (Vertical File)

STANGE, Paul "The Logic of Rasa in Java", Indonesia, 38, October 1984, pp113-134

STEVENSON, Richard "Clinton, Congress Shape up for Duel over China WTO Bid", Sydney Morning Herald, 17 November 1999 [Internet Access]

STEWART, Cameron "Indonesia 'Shocked' by Reaction to Timor Move", The Australian, 4 April 1993, p5

STEWART, Cameron "Menzies Feared War Over Indonesia", The Weekend Australian, January 1-2, 1994a, p1, p6

TEO, Anne "South-east Asian Economies to Grow 7.6%: UN Agency", BT Online, 17 April 1996 [Internet Access]

VAN NIEL, Robert "Netherlands East Indies to Republic of Indonesia, 1900-1945", in AVELING, Harry (ed.) The Development of Indonesian Society: From the Coming of Islam to the Present Day, Brisbane, University of Queensland Press, 1979, pp106-165

WALTERS, Patrick "Indonesia Defends Union of Land and Water", The Australian, 29 March 1996, p7

WANANDI, Jusuf "The Australia-Indonesia Security Relationship", in BALL, Desmond & HORNER, David (eds.) Strategic Studies in A Changing World: Global, Regional and Australian Perspectives, Canberra, Strategic and Defense Studies Centre, Research School of Pacific Studies, ANU, 1992, pp320-337

WILLIAMS, Louise "Jakarta Sacks Army Top Brass Over Kidnappings", Sydney Morning Herald, 25 August 1998 [Internet Access]

WILLIAMS, Louise "Soeharto Ready to Crush Protest", Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 1997 [Internet Access].

Williams, Marc (ed.), International Relations in the Twentieth Century: A Reader, London, Macmillan, 1989

WOLF, E.R. Europe and the People Without History, Berkeley, 1982

WILLIAMS, Louise "Indonesia's Rising Strongman", Sydney Morning Herald, 24 May 1997 [Internet Access]

WILLIS, Anne-Marie Illusions of Identity, Sydney, Hale & Iremonger, 1993

WINTERTON, George "Formula For A Presidency", Independent Monthly, 18 March 1992

WOLTERS, O.W. History, Culture, and Region in Southeast Asian Perspectives, Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1982

WURFEL, David & BURTON, Bruce (eds) The Political Economy of Foreign Policy in Southeast Asia, N.Y., St. Martin's Press, 1990


Copyright R. James Ferguson 2000, 2001
To return to select Homepage, or BACK