1) A promising new generation of TNI leaders
2) Border markers missing: PNG Official3) Indonesia's democracy at a crossroads4) Comments on the Original article by Gary Hogan in Lowy Institute's, The Interpreter
1) A promising new generation of TNI leaders
By Gary Hogan - 6 March 2013 10:48AM
Gary Hogan was the first foreigner to graduate from Indonesia's Institute of National Governance (Lemhannas) and was Australia's Defence Attaché to Indonesia from 2009 to 2012.
The leaders now in the process of assuming command of Indonesia's defence forces (TNI) are a different kind of officer: more sophisticated, worldly, and conscious of the wider implications of military actions for Indonesia's international image and reputation. A generational transition appears to be underway as command of TNI passes from the New Order academy graduates of the 1970s to 1980s-trained senior officers who have spent as much of their careers under Reformasi as under Suharto.
This is good news for Australia. The ability of Australia's senior military leaders to communicate effectively with their TNI counterparts is the key determinant of a constructive defence relationship. It is important to rounding out whole-of-government engagement and important too when discussing sensitive issues like Papua.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and retired general Bambang Darmono, who played an important role in the successful Aceh peace process and is SBY's senior envoy in troubled Papua province, are symbolic of the '70s generation' of TNI leaders.
They graduated from Indonesia's military academy in the early years of General Suharto's New Order, in the classes of '73 and '74 respectively. As teenagers, they lived through the tumult of Indonesia's bloody 1965 anti-communist pogrom. Many of their military peers still recall the widespread atrocities committed in the name of suppressing a coup d'etat.
In the early 1970s, the idea of free-thinking military officers with a Westernised world view was anachronistic. Only over time did Yudhoyono become one of Indonesia's great reformist generals. Others might include Agus Widjojo and the late Agus Wirahadikusumah. The three were treated as pariahs by many of their TNI peers. Rumours persist that Wirahadikusumah, a classmate of Yudhoyono, was assassinated by forces loyal to a powerful general who viewed him as treacherous. It is no coincidence that all three reformers spent part of their professional training and education in the US.
But for all their merit, Yudhoyono, Darmono and their peers belong to an era where TNI felt it was the ultimate guardian of Indonesia's territorial integrity (from internal rather than external threats) and the custodian of the spirit of the 1945 anti-colonial revolution. It was an organisation that distrusted civilians and their ability to run the country. Although more enlightened, perhaps, Yudhoyono and Darmono are still the product of a military culture that was wary of liberal democratic rights, the motives of foreign powers and anything that hinted at a challenge to a unitary republic of Indonesia, stretching from Sabang in Aceh to Merauke in Papua.
Today, TNI is facing a decisive break with the past. As Yudhoyono prepares to leave office next year, changes at the top of the military are paving the way for a new era of TNI commander. In August this year, the current military chief, Admiral Agus Suhartono, will retire. He will be the last TNI commander to have completed his cadet training in the 1970s.
In a shift to a new style of commander, Suhartono will almost certainly be replaced by General Moeldoko, who graduated from the military academy in 1981. Moeldoko is currently deputy chief of the Indonesian army. While his overseas training (in New Zealand) has been minimal, he is described by academy classmates as an 'ideas man'. His record of academic achievement is impressive, having come first in every career course he has attended, starting with the military academy.
The current army commander is the president's brother-in-law, Pramono Edhie Wibowo, the son of one of Indonesia's most distinguished generals. Despite speculation that Pramono could be extended past his retirement date to become TNI chief, parliamentary approval would be needed and parliament appears in no mood to do Yudhoyono family members any favours. When Pramono reaches the retirement age of 58 in June, Moeldoko will likely replace him for just two months as army commander before his elevation to the top post of TNI commander. This will be one of the fastest promotions ever to TNI chief.
Meanwhile, the chief of the Indonesian navy, Admiral Marsetio, and the chief of the air force, Air Marshal I Bagus Putu Dunia, are also 1981 graduates of the academy. Like Moeldoko, they represent a new breed. Marsetio is the product of extensive professional experience outside Indonesia, including in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. This is reflected in his acute appreciation of the need for TNI to project and engage internationally. Dunia too is a product of senior-level military education in Canberra, which augurs well for continuing the close cooperation between the air forces of Indonesia and Australia.
There are many reasons for this generational transition. The violence of the 1965 counter-revolution does not exist in the living memory of TNI's current leaders. Indonesian officers increasingly embrace the study of English, seen as both the language of the internet and as a prerequisite for overseas training.
Globalisation and the influence of technology have brought the world closer to all Indonesians over the last ten years. Extensive TNI involvement in UN peacekeeping operations and other interaction with armed forces like Australia's have enhanced the process of TNI professionalisation. Indonesia's free press has made the military more accountable for its conduct than under the New Order, just as other democratic institutions in Indonesia continue to take root and mature. Finally, the 2002 de-linking of TNI from the Indonesian National Police has seen public opprobrium directed less at the army and more at the constabulary, particularly its paramilitary mobile brigades.
Admittedly, Indonesia's current crop of senior commanders shares some of the TNI bloodline. The new leadership does have memories of East Timor. Although fading as a source of contention in the relationship with Australia, passions over East Timor can still be easily stirred. Like their predecessors, TNI's leaders remain vigilant against separatism and any signs that outside powers have designs on undermining Indonesian unity and integrity.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
2) Border markers missing: PNG Official
PORT MORESBY, PNG --- Monuments along the country’s international land border with Indonesia are deteriorating, Department of Western national agency coordinator Richard Aria says.
He said the national government had ignored the international border monuments by not funding for their maintenances.
“We have more than 50 monuments, some still remain as cement markers and it is hard to locate them without the use of GPS devices,” he said.
Aria said the border posts run from Wutung in West Sepik on the meridian 141 and alter at the Fly River bulge then across the remote mountains and down the swamplands to the mouth of Torasi River in Western.
“The monuments on the border are deteriorating, nobody knows the divide,” he said.
“It’s very confusing because we have the local villagers on the border, and the monuments will signal to them to be officially recognised as Papua New Guineans.
“When the monuments deteriorated at Torasi area, the Indonesians built a new sign board and put their flags 30m east into the PNG side.”
Aria said the monuments are the national icons of the country, and they played a vital role in identifying the two countries’ border.
“We have a couple of concerns, in the Fly Bulge, high flooding and sedimentation have covered the two monuments – MM10 and MM11,” he said.
He praised the Western government for its support in maintaining the monuments.
The National questioned the acting secretary of Foreign Affairs Lucy Bogari during a media briefing on Tuesday in Daru about the government’s ignorance in maintaining the monuments. Bogari responded: “We’ve got plans in place to be approved by the NEC.”
“I want to reaffirm that we have officials from the provincial affairs here to ensure that the monuments are visible.”
She added that the government would replace the monuments that had disappeared or were barely visible.
“You can be assured, the monuments will be developed with PNG flags flying high on them,” Bogari said.
3) Indonesia's democracy at a crossroads
March 5, 2013
Sydney Morning Herald political and international editor
Illustration: John Shakespeare
Indonesia is hailed as an outstanding success story of the modern world. Suharto's military dictatorship transformed into a vibrant democracy; it's a Muslim-majority country where the extremists are losing; where the economy booms and poverty falls. But for how long?
One of Indonesia's best-known statesmen worries that the country could face mass unrest in the future unless it improves its democratic structures.
The previous Indonesian minister for foreign affairs, now a member of the president's council of advisers, Hassan Wirajuda, said that the country of 240 million people needed ''a second wave of democratic reforms''.
Indonesia goes to the polls to elect a new president next year, with the first round of voting in July. The 10-year tenure of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the former general universally known as SBY, will come to an end as he reaches his constitutional term limit.
His first term was widely regarded as outstanding; his second term is generally regarded a huge disappointment. Without Yusuf Kalla, the hard-driving, can-do vice-president he had by his side in the first term, SBY has been found to be timid and ineffectual.
''People don't feel urgency now, but when economic conditions are not so good, we will have a reaction on the street,'' Dr Wirajuda said.
''The danger is that if the government doesn't deal with it, there is dissatisfaction at a deeper level with the current state of democracy. People may take it in[to] their own hand[s].
''People now realise that this is not the final structure; it's not finished,'' he said in an interview in Sydney on Monday before attending the annual Indonesia-Australia Dialogue.
SBY himself promised a ''second wave'' of democratic reforms. Like many of his second-term promises and plans, however, they have come to naught.
''The announcement two years ago was not followed up because SBY became a lame duck too soon,'' Dr Wirajuda said. It's not that he sees any full regression to authoritarianism; democracy is too well entrenched.
''We've reached a point of no return - maybe 5 per cent want a return to authoritarian presidents, and 72 per cent of people want democracy, in a poll taken a few years ago.'' It is the terms of the democracy that worry him.
A leading scholar on Indonesia, the Australian National University's Greg Fealy, agrees that Dr Wirajuda is right to worry about the system. ''There has been some democratic regression in the last couple of years, largely driven by the parties in the parliament.
''None has been especially harmful so far, but they are small chips. Overall it's going backwards, not forwards,'' he said.
Dr Fealy's chief concern is the parliament's relentless assaults on the ferocious national anti-corruption commission, known by its Indonesian acronym KPK.
It has proved fearless of the powerful and hugely popular with the people. It has declared two potential presidential candidates to be suspects, for instance, destroying their careers. And the parliamentarians hate it.
''Everyone feels vulnerable; everyone feels at risk,'' Dr Fealy said, ''because they are all on the take, one way or another. Indonesian politics is expensive.''
And even though SBY himself is seen as clean, his son and wife recently have come under suspicion, threatening his legacy.
The parliament so far has had only limited successes in curbing the KPK, but it is not about to relent.
What to do? Dr Wirajuda prescribes more public funding for election campaigns. ''We need regular public contributions to political parties so there is less temptation to corruption,'' a proposal that Dr Fealy said was spot-on.
Dr Wirajuda also argues that the powers of the Parliament need to be crimped. ''We have a presidential system, but our members of Parliament behave as if they are in a parliamentary system.
''There has been a flow of power from the executive to the parliament. We have constitutional confusion; there is competing legitimacy here. There are power struggles. It makes governing much more difficult.''
He gives an example. SBY sensibly proposed curtailing the subsidy that the government pays to keep down the price of petrol.
It's tremendously costly, taking one-third of the national budget. But the Parliament refused and the proposal died. ''This is a very fundamental issue we need to address,'' Dr Wirajuda said. ''We need a strong president.'' Dr Fealy differs. It might be all right if you have SBY as president, or the current favourite to replace him, the vigorously reformist mayor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo, for instance.
''But what happens if you get Prabowo as president?'' Dr Fealy poses, referring to the former head of the Indonesian special forces and a son-in-law of the great dictator, Suharto. Prabowo is consistently one of the two top-rated candidates for the presidency.
''He has autocratic tendencies. At the moment we have a president who wouldn't chance his arm, but if Prabowo is president he may want very much to chance his muscular arm, and that would be a problem,'' Dr Fealy said.
If not a stronger presidency, then what? No serious reform seems likely in the remaining year-and-a-half of the SBY era, but Dr Wirajuda wants these issues to be on the table for debate, and he worries that they are not. Still, he counsels patience.
''We had to do a lot of things all at once - the country was virtually in collapse'' in 1998, when the three-decade Suharto era ended amid economic crisis and popular unrest.
''We had to do economic development, look after democracy, the rule of law, human rights, corruption, all at once.
''What we have is good. I held a roundtable last year and a German professor told us that we shouldn't be so negative. What we have done in 10 years took Germany 600. But we are aware of our weaknesses.''
Peter Hartcher is the international editor.
4) Comments on the Original article by Gary Hogan in Lowy Institute's, The Interpreter
Indonesia: Signs of new thinking on Papua
1 March 2013 2:03PM
Reader riposte: More on West Papua
6 March 2013 1:27PM