Friday, May 8, 2015

1) Indonesia told to end attacks on freedom of expression in Papua

2) Rights activists slam Indonesia's security approach to Papua
3) Indonesia-PNG relations continue to grow
4) Australia-Indonesia Relations After the Executions
5) Poll: Australians cautious about damaging relations with Indonesia
6) We don't have the luxury of enduring a poisonous relationship with Indonesia
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1) Indonesia told to end attacks  on freedom of expression  in Papua 
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Fri, May 08 2015, 11:03 AM - Amnesty International is calling on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to take immediate steps to end the Indonesian security forces’ increasing attacks on freedom of expression in the country’s Papuan region.
On the eve of the president’s visit to Papua, at least 264 political activists there have been arbitrarily arrested and detained by the Indonesian police over the last week, as part of a systematic clampdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said in statement on Friday.
Political activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the People’s Regional Parliament (PRD) had planned peaceful protests around the 52nd anniversary of the handover of Papua to the Indonesian government by the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) on May 1, 1963.
In the West Papua province, the Manokwari district police arrested 12 KNPB activists on April 30 while they were distributing flyers about the planned demonstration in Manokwari city.
The following day, the police arrested more than 200 protesters who were on their way to a demonstration near the office of the Manokwari Papua Customary Council. Security forces, both police and military, also used excessive force to disperse a peaceful demonstration in Kaimana city on May 1 and arrested two KNPB activists.
In the Papua province, police arrested at least 15 KNPB and one PRD activist in Merauke on May 1 to prevent them from organizing a demonstration. Meanwhile, in Jayapura, the local district police arrested 30 KNPB activists on the same day as they were walking to the Papua Parliament’s office, the site of a planned demonstration. According to the police, the arrests took place as these groups did not have permission to undertake the protest.
While most activists have been released without charge, these arbitrary arrests highlight the on-going repressive environment faced by political activists in the Papuan region.
Amnesty International said it recognizes that the Indonesian government has the duty and the right to maintain public order on its territory. However, it added that the government must ensure that any restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are no more stringent than are permitted under international human rights law, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Indonesia is a party.
Furthermore, Amnesty pointed out, under Indonesian law groups organizing public protests are only required to inform the police, but these regulations are consistently ignored by the security forces in Papua who continue to unnecessarily restrict various form of protest against the state by students, political groups and non-governmental human rights organizations. In some cases, Amnesty said, security forces have used excessive force against peaceful protesters. (her)
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2) Rights activists slam Indonesia's security approach to Papua
Say police, government use false premises to justify gross abuses
Ryan Dagur, Jakarta Indonesia May 8, 2015


The security situation cited by police to justify violent action in Papua is little more than a guise, rights activists warned this week, after calling on Indonesia’s government to rethink its policy.
“Their freedom to express political aspirations is tackled by officers who a priori believe that Papuans are separatists, so there’s no freedom for them,” said Poengky Indarti, executive director of the Jakarta-based watchdog Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (Imparsial).
Speaking at a workshop held in Jakarta on Wednesday, Indarti and other rights monitors highlighted a troubling attitude among officials.
“There is a kind of tendency where murder or violence against Papuans is [seen as] something banal,” she said.
Among the recent cases highlighted was last week’s arrest of 264 Papuans who attempted to hold a rally marking the integration of West Papua with Indonesia. In December, police opened fire on protesters after clashes broke out, killing at least four teenagers.
“Things like this don’t happen in any other area in Indonesia, just in Papua,” noted Indarti.
West Papua was integrated with Indonesia in 1969, and remains under heavy police and military occupation. Over the past half-century, an estimated 500,000 Papuans have been killed in what the government claims is an attempt to stamp out separatism. Foreign and local media access is heavily restricted, as are rights groups attempting to monitor the situation.
Nur Kholis, who heads the National Commission on Human Rights, said police have failed to respect or integrate the local culture.
“The government approach used so far can’t accommodate the interest of Papuans any longer,” he said.
Responding to the activists’ criticisms, Insp-Gen Tito Karnavian, a former Papua police chief, acknowledged that human rights violations happening in the region sometimes involved the police.
But he insisted such violations were punished, and claimed that “principally, [we] treat [people] equally before the law”.
Much of the problems, he argued, stemmed from economic disparity.
Improving social services, he said, would likely lead to “the disappearance of separatism”.
But for Papuans, decades of gross human rights violations cannot be easily undone.
Ones Sahuniap, secretary-general of the National Committee for West Papua, said that he sees Indonesia as colonial occupiers.
“Not to mention how the police and military personnel treat us. We could be arrested only for shouting in the streets,” he told ucanews.com.
Marthen Goo, a Papuan activist, stressed that Papuans were only fighting the government’s many injustices. “Inhumane acts, showed by the state and its security personnel like the police, are shameful,” he told ucanews.com.
“There is no right to life, democracy and law enforcement for Papuans. Papuans’ right to life is on the edge of [the police and military personnel’s] weapons,” he said.
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3) Indonesia-PNG relations continue to grow

umat, 8 Mei 2015 21:21 WIB | 616 Views

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The relationship between Indonesia and PNG continues to improve, especially after the establishment of a comprehensive partnership, Indonesian Ambassador to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Republic of Solomon Islands (2010-2014) Andreas Sitepu stated.

"The relations between both nations, which were initiated almost 40 years ago, are very sound. At least this is what was said by the PNG officials," Ambassador Sitepu noted here Friday.

According to Sitepu, the relationship between the two countries was not at its best due to poor communication between the governments and communities of Indonesia and PNG.

"Majority of the Indonesian community is not interested in knowing about PNG and other small island countries located in the South Pacific region. So, Indonesians have less knowledge about PNG," Sitepu revealed.

He added that the citizens of PNG also lack knowledge about Indonesians. They are of the viewpoint that Indonesians were deceitful as they had abandoned their Melanesian families.

Moreover, negative propaganda has been spread by third parties, who did not want Indonesia and PNG to share good relations.

Therefore, Indonesia and PNG should continue to strengthen relations between their communities by promoting people-to-people contacts.

However, the relationship between both countries has been heading in a positive direction since the visit of Indonesian former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to PNG.

"This relationship is very important and too significant to be ignored as they are connected by two crucial issues: border-sharing areas and handling of separatist groups," Sitepu pointed out.

He affirmed that the relations between Indonesia and PNG have drastically evolved since the visit of PNG Prime Minister Peter ONeil to Indonesia and the inking of eleven memoranda of understanding between the two nations.

"The foundation of bilateral relationship has been built on the action plan on comprehensive partnership between the Republic of Indonesia and PNG," Sitepu added.
(Uu.KR-LWA/INE/KR-BSR/F001)
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4) Australia-Indonesia Relations After the Executions
Public outrage at the execution of the Bali Nine ringleaders runs into political, diplomatic and economic reality.
By Jarrad Harvey
May 07, 2015

On April 29, 2015, Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad in Indonesia following a decade of legal challenges, intense Australian government and diplomatic pressure, and impassioned public opinion on both sides of the Timor Sea. As Australia continues to mourn this loss of life, and as Indonesia continues to justify its decision, attention now turns to the future of bilateral relations.
In the wake of the executions, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made it clear that bilateral relations will not simply continue in a “business as usual” fashion, while Foreign Minister Julie Bishop took a similar position, stating that the executions would “have consequences.” Speculation on the possible repercussions has followed, with some commentators specifically turning to the question of a potential reduction in Australian foreign aid to Indonesia as part of the upcoming May budget.
At a highly publicized press conference in the wake of the executions, Abbott and Bishop announced that Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson would be recalled. Other countries had already taken the same step in the wake of earlier executions in Indonesia, but this was a first for Australia. Still, while the seriousness of the recall should not be understated, there is little indication that it will be the harbinger of a more permanent freeze in relations. Indeed, shortly after the announcement, Indonesian Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo reportedly dismissed the withdrawal as a “temporary reaction.”
Close Neighbor
Indonesia is one of Australia’s closest neighbors, the two countries sharing robust political, security, economic, aid, and people-to-people ties. While resuming standard, cordial relations with Indonesia so soon after Chan and Sukumaran’s executions would certainly invoke the ire of many Australians, a long-term rupture in relations would hardly be in Australia’s interests.
Politically, Indonesia is important to Australia for the role the former plays in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). A stable relationship with Indonesia is needed for a cooperative and productive working relationship with ASEAN.
Indonesia is also the most populous country in the region and boasts one of the largest military forces in Southeast Asia. It is little wonder that Indonesia already dominates and wishes to increase its influence over ASEAN, given the country’s interests in having a stable, rules-based regional forum (headquartered in Jakarta, no less) in which it can project significant influence.
Indonesian aspirations for enlarging its role as regional steward have been reflected in recent comments by the head of the country’s armed forces, General TNI Dr. Moeldoko, who foreshadowed Indonesian aspirations of playing a “big brother” role in ASEAN and in the region, especially in the realm of security.
Increasingly, Australia has realized the importance of ASEAN in guaranteeing regional stability and thus Australia’s domestic security. This has predominately been via ASEAN-led security institutions; namely, the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
In recent years, Australia has worked vigorously to guarantee its security, foreign aid, and development interests by fostering a close relationship with the EAS. This is most evident in Australia’s role in steering the EAS’s policy agenda towards topics like the Korean Peninsula, maritime security, and developmental issues relating to education, health disaster management, and water resources. The EAS has not only helped guarantee regional security, it has facilitated cooperation among its members. For example, Australia and Indonesia jointly hosted the successful rapid disaster response workshops for EAS members in September 2013 and June 2014.
Canberra has also enjoyed a productive working relationship with the ARF to guard against, and adequately respond to, unexpected ruptures in regional security. Australia has made real contributions to the ARF security agenda, as exemplified in its co-chairing with the Philippines of the Second ASEAN Regional Forum Seminar on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in May 2014. This and other efforts have proved helpful in containing regional threats directly affecting Australia, such as the flow of illegal arms, drug-trafficking, and people-smuggling.
Given the depth of the political and security relationship between Australia and ASEAN, a move that would see Canberra dismantling its Indonesian relations in the long-term, and simultaneously ties with ASEAN, would have a debilitating effect on Australia’s wider political and security interests in the region.
While relations with Indonesia connect Australia to ASEAN, on a bilateral political level, cordial dealings with Jakarta are crucial if the Australian government is to achieve its domestic security objectives.
People-Smuggling
Of all the issues where Australia-Indonesia cooperation is essential, there is perhaps no greater policy challenge than people-smuggling. Australian diplomatic officials have long appealed to Jakarta for its support in stemming the flow of illegal maritime asylum seekers from Indonesia – a common transit point on the sea route to Australia. And historically cooperation between the two countries on this issue has been considerable. Further, Australia and Indonesia are both co-chairs of the important Bali Process – an international forum seeking to foster greater cooperation between states to prevent people-smuggling, human-trafficking, and transnational crime. Australia has also been able to use its position within the Bali Process to promote greater capacity-buildingto in the criminalization, detection, arrest, and enforcement of people-smuggling crimes in member countries, like Indonesia.
Jakarta recognizes the importance of this bargaining-chip; that is, Canberra’s interest in containing people-smuggling. This has been clear in comments made by Indonesian officials pointing to the potential loss of goodwill on people-smuggling cooperation should Australia continue to ruffle too many feathers in Indonesia. Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno was recently quoted as saying his country would  create a “human tsunami” of illegal maritime asylum seekers to Australia if Canberra continued to “displease” its northern neighbor.
Economics
Australia is also unlikely to forsake its Indonesian relations for economic reasons. Indonesia is Australia’s twelfth largest trading partner, with two-way trade in 2013 amounting to almost A$15 billion ($11.9 billion). In recent years, considerable effort has been expended by both Canberra and Jakarta to bolster the trade relationship. This has manifested itself in numerous high-level ministerial visits to promote business and investment in both countries.
Economic and trade advisers in Canberra would also hesitate to recommend trade bans, which would trigger significant financial losses redolent of those experienced by Australian graziers during the 2011 ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia following allegations of animal cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs. While Indonesia simply sourced meat products from other markets, it is estimated that the month-long ban resulted in losses in excess of A$600 million for the Australian cattle industry.
Although two-way trade has now returned to a healthier level, the conclusion of a comprehensive free trade agreement would further stimulate trade by providing a swathe of the usual FTA benefits to both countries. Negotiations on the Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement commenced in September 2012, though have since stalled following the conclusion of the second round of negotiations nearly two years ago. Without a doubt, the last thing Canberra needs is for Jakarta to use this latest incident as a reason to delay its wider free trade objectives.
Foreign aid and people-to-people considerations may also prevent a more permanent Australian departure from its Indonesian relations. Currently, Indonesia is one of the largest recipients of Australian development assistance. More than just raising living standards, Australia’s recently reformed aid delivery program is focused on improving health, education, food security, and governance to create stability and prosperity, and thus reduce the incidence of human and natural risks that could potentially threaten Australia.
Further, with almost one million Australian tourists flocking to Bali annually, as well as the high numbers of Indonesian students and expatriates in Australia, a move that would sour relations with Indonesia and unfairly victimize everyday Indonesians seems unlikely for the Abbott government.
Attitudes
What can be said, however, is that while Canberra may be reluctant to close its doors to Indonesia in the long term, widespread outrage in the Australian community in response to the pair’s executions casts a grimmer picture for the enduring attitudes of the Australian people towards Indonesia.
Perhaps with the exception of the Bali Bombings in 2005, never has Australia been so united in such collective compassion and grief as it has been in the weeks and days preceding the executions of Chan and Sukumaran.
But just as the pair’s execution sparked widespread outrage in Australia, the majority of Indonesians remained steadfast in their support for the death penalty and the need to uphold Indonesian sovereignty. In early March, one of Indonesia’s largest newspapers, Kompas, published an opinion poll revealing that 86 percent of Indonesian respondents agreed that Chan and Sukumaran should be executed irrespective of Canberra’s petitions, while 57.8 percent supported the severing of diplomatic relations with countries that did not respect Indonesia’s sovereignty, including Australia.
To many Australians the protracted saga has shown that, despite the rhetoric of the Asian Century, which blithely extols overtures of prosperity and harmony, cleavages will always exist, just beneath the surface, between the people and values of Asia and Australia. Indeed, while the beloved values of justice and “a fair go” dictated to many Australians that the pair be reprieved, just as many Indonesians, including the government, justified the execution on the reasonable communitarian basis that drugs represent one of the greatest threats to Indonesia’s social fabric. This latter position is widely shared within the region; indeed, Singapore’s late founder Lee Kuan Yew often spoke about the virtue of communitarian Asian values, while criticizing Western countries for the proliferation of social ills like drug addiction.
So whilst Canberra and Jakarta are undoubtedly “facing their most serious rift since the East Timor crisis,” necessary work on politics, security, economics, and foreign aid will demand an eventual resuscitation of relations. The real work will be repairing the idea of Indonesia in the minds of everyday Australians. That is a task that could take some time.
Jarrad Harvey is currently a postgraduate in the Department of Government & International Relations at the University of Sydney. The views expressed here are his own.
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http://www.dw.de/poll-australians-cautious-about-damaging-relations-with-indonesia/a-18436472

5) Poll: Australians cautious about damaging relations with Indonesia

Following the execution of two Australian drug convicts despite repeated pleas to Jakarta for clemency, a new poll reveals that Australians have a strong preference for a restrained diplomatic response from Canberra.
"Despite strong opposition to the death penalty for drug trafficking, it seems that Australians are cautious about taking strong actions against Indonesia in response to the executions of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan," commented Dr Michael Fullilove, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute, on the poll results released on Thursday, May 7.
After a decade in prison for their role in masterminding the so-called "Bali 9" plot to bring heroin to Australia from the Indonesian resort island of Bali, Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 34, were killed by firing squad in the early morning hours of April 29. They were among seven foreign and one Indonesian drug convicts executed on that day after Jakarta rejected last-ditch pleas for clemency from around the world.
Despite the controversial punishment that sparked highly emotive debates around the world, most Australian adults (59 percent) say that private diplomatic protests are the course of action they would prefer their government to take following the incident, according to the nationally representative telephone survey commissioned by the Sydney-based think tank.
Calls for restraint
As a direct reaction to the executions, Canberra withdrew its ambassador to Jakarta - a step it had never taken with regard to Indonesia. But the poll also reveals that only a minority (42 percent) agreed with the move. Moreover, the predominant view is that normal diplomatic relations with Indonesia should be suspended for only a few months.
When presented with a range of possible time periods and asked "for how long should Australia suspend normal diplomatic relations with Indonesia," only a third of Australians (34 percent) advocated a period longer than four months.
There is also scant support for suspending Australian aid projects (28 percent agreeing) or suspending military and law enforcement cooperation (27 percent). The least supported action is for applying trade sanctions, with only 24 percent of those surveyed agreeing.
Further poll results suggest that the executions will have little impact on Australians' travel plans, buying habits or business dealings with Indonesia. When asked whether they would be more or less likely to "travel to Bali or anywhere else in Indonesia" or "buy Indonesian products," significant majorities of the population (63 percent and 71 percent respectively) said it would make no difference.
Nor do the majority of Australians (76 percent) think that Australian companies should be less willing to do business with Indonesia following these executions.
Almost three-quarters of Australians continue to oppose the death penalty for drug trafficking. Despite the strong opposition, however, attitudes to the idea that the Australian government should lead an international drive to abolish the death penalty worldwide are less clear cut.
A slight majority say Canberra should play an active role in pushing for the abolition of the death penalty internationally (51 percent, compared with 45 percent saying it should not).
No mercy
In the meantime, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has continued to defend his tough stance against convicted drug traffickers, saying they would not receive a presidential pardon since Indonesia is facing an "emergency" over drug use.
Yohanes Sulaiman, a political expert from the Indonesian Defense University, told DW he believes President Widodo, who was often viewed as weak compared to his presidential rival during last year's election, is trying to convey the image of being a decisive leader in a country where there seems to be public support for the death penalty.
Some 60 convicts are believed to be on death row in Indonesia for drug-related crimes. Around half of them are foreigners. Jakarta had an unofficial four-year moratorium on executions until 2013, and there were no executions in 2014.
Aaron Connelly, an Indonesia expert at the Lowy Institute, told DW that the executions have made President Widodo a manifestly unpopular figure in Australia and that it is difficult to tell how long that feeling will linger.
Nevertheless, he pointed out that while Australians are genuinely anguished at the executions of their compatriots and offended by the manner in which the process that led to their deaths was conducted, their leaders also understand the importance of the relationship for geopolitical and security reasons, and will hesitate before withdrawing cooperation that benefits both countries.
"At a lower level, it seems likely that police cooperation between Australia and Indonesia may suffer, because Australian police provided the intelligence that led to the arrests of the so-called Bali 9. Beyond those immediate steps, it is hard to say how Australia will react."
Crucial relationship
That said, the partnership with Jakarta remains important to Australia for reasons of security, and it is in Australian interests to ensure the relationship gets back on firmer footing in the medium to long term, Connelly added.
Despite the political irritants of the past two years, including the spat over reports that Australia may have spied on high-level Indonesian politicians, there is a great deal of ongoing intergovernmental cooperation in many areas of public administration, including police and customs, as Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific Chief Economist at the analytics firm IHS, told DW.
"In addition to police and military co-operation, Australia is one of Indonesia's key economic partners, with bilateral trade and investment reaching 15 billion AUD in 2013," said Biswas. "There is also an estimated cumulative investment of 11 billion AUD in Indonesia by Australian companies in mining, manufacturing and infrastructure projects."
Bilateral trade in services is also growing in importance, as Biswas pointed out. "Thousands of Indonesians study at Australian universities and institutes each year and there is also a large flow of Australian tourists to Indonesia," said the economist.
In fact, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently stated he was confident Australia could restore its relationship with Indonesia despite anger over the executions. "I am confident that we will be able to rebuild the relationship," Abbott told reporters in Sydney. "It's important to Australia, it's important to Indonesia and it's important to the wider world that Australia and Indonesia's friendship is strong and growing in the months and years ahead," the prime minister added.
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6) We don't have the luxury of enduring a poisonous relationship with Indonesia
Michael Wesley Friday 8 May 2015 12.03 AEST
Last modified on Friday 8 May 2015 12.06 AEST
 We’ve been here before: a major disagreement between Australia and Indonesia. Dismay in Canberra at what looks like an opaque and irrational approach to a problem from Indonesia. Irritation in Jakarta about what it sees as an overbearing, hectoring Australian attitude. Public anger that resurrects and burnishes old stereotypes. An Indonesian president becomes inaccessible to the Australian prime minister, refusing to take calls, leaving letters unanswered. All of the rhetoric about the closeness of bilateral ties is laid bare.
A 'fortress Australia' approach won't help relations with Indonesia
Hamish McDonald

This is where we were in 2001. Australia’s policy on asylum seekers had deepened anger in Indonesia. Then president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, refused to receive calls from then-prime minister John Howard. There were demonstrations on the streets of Jakarta and awkward moments at regional leaders meetings.
Then three unforeseen events intervened to rehabilitate the relationship. The Bali bombings, which killed 88 Australians among their 202 victims, deeply shocked Australia and Indonesia. A pragmatic former general, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was elected Indonesian president, and a massive tsunami on Boxing Day in 2004 devastated large parts of Sumatra and evoked an emotional response from Australians.
None were events of our making, but Australia responded creatively to all of them. The result was a decade of arguably the closest ever relations between Australia and Indonesia: intimate defence, police and intelligence cooperation, expanding trade and the first ever address by an Indonesian president to the Australian parliament.
How different the last decade could have been without this trilogy of intervening events. Indonesia in 2001 had undergone three traumas: the Asian financial crisis; the secession of East Timor; and the collapse of the long-standing new order regime of Suharto. The first two had left Indonesians bruised and suspicious of the outside world. The arrival of democracy had unleashed a range of social forces: labour activism, media freedom, religious fundamentalism, communal enmities – and a prickly nationalism. Australia, seen as a key architect of East Timor’s detachment and therefore Indonesia’s dismemberment, had little foreign policy purchase in Jakarta. Indonesia’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) neighbours, which had invested for decades in ties with the Suharto regime, had little more entree than Canberra.
Indonesia could well have turned inwards. Anger and suspicion towards the outside world could have festered and spread, fanned by an isolated and embattled president. Nationalism and a wounded sense of entitlement could have come to define Indonesia’s regional diplomacy. This was plausible because it had actually happened in the recent past. Between the mid-1950s and mid-1960s, Sukarno presided over increasingly fractious relations with Indonesia’s neighbours, while trying to strike a balance between more and more extreme interests domestically.
Australia is right to be angry about Indonesia’s executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukamaran. The whole saga has illustrated the inconsistent and arbitrary nature of Indonesia’s political and judicial systems – not to mention the persistent problems of corruption in the police and judiciary. Sending unambiguous signals of our displeasure at this particular case and our absolute opposition to the death penalty is entirely appropriate for a country that bases its foreign policy on our fundamental values.
But Australia does not have the luxury of letting our anger and condemnation dominate our relationship with Indonesia. We are too isolated to disregard the longer term consequences of our relations with our largest neighbour, and not remote enough to remain virtuously wedded to our principles on this issue.
Indonesia, whatever its style of government, social dynamics or economic profile, will remain our largest and most important neighbour in perpetuity. An awareness of just how completely a poisonous relationship with Jakarta could dominate Australia’s every policy anxiety should be the bedrock of our Indonesia policy. If you don’t think it would be that big a deal, just ask the soldiers our government sent to defend the region against Sukarno’s Konfrontasi (confrontation) policy in January 1965.
We shouldn’t ignore the similarities between Indonesia today and in 2001. It has seen a strong surge of nationalism, based around beliefs that foreign interests are out to exploit Indonesia, and that countries like Malaysia are appropriating Indonesia’s cultural heritage. It is beginning to develop a fractious and difficult relationship with its Asean neighbours, based on a concern about the centrifugal effects of Asean economic integration on the Indonesian economy.
And its new president, Joko Widodo, has little interest in foreign policy, has been stymied by complex domestic politics in prosecuting his policy agenda, and is seeking to bolster his flagging popularity by pandering to an uncompromising nationalism.
An Indonesia that is isolated, frustrated and suspicious would be an all-consuming problem for Canberra. But relying on another set of unforeseen events to shift these dynamics would be naïve. While foreign policy is the realm of the unexpected, banking on unknowns always falling your way is the height of folly. Australia needs to recognise the larger risks the current situation holds, and draw the lessons of the history of its relationship with Indonesia to move the longer term bilateral relationship back in a more positive direction.
The hard truth for Australia is that proximity alone won’t build the sort of bilateral relationship we need. Left to its own devices, Indonesia won’t prioritise or even much notice its relationship with Australia. The key lesson from the 70 years of our foreign policy with an independent Indonesia is that bilateral relations are at their most positive when Canberra and Jakarta collaborate around shared interests that go beyond the day-to-day management of bilateral ties. That’s what happened when we collaborated to bring an end to the war in Cambodia in the 1980s, over the Apec leaders summits in the 1990s, and over terrorism and the Bali process on people smuggling in the 2000s.
Jokowi, we voted for a humble man. Now you've taught a new generation about killing
Laksmi Pamuntjak
 The Australian government needs to find the next issue or issues that will revitalise our bilateral ties and break through Indonesia’s mood of introspection and suspicion under Jokowi. Being transactional isn’t enough; what’s needed is a transformational approach. We need to identify issues on which we share interests, and which will engage a sense of purpose and leadership in Jakarta. There’s no shortage of candidates: the crisis in the South China Sea; the threat of radicalisation and attraction to the Islamic State (Isis); and growing rivalry around maritime rights and navigation.
As tragic as the executions of Chan and Sukamaran are, Australia must be hard-headed about its relationship to Indonesia. The dangers of an enduring poisonous relationship are real and compelling.
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