IBRAHIM ISA – Focus On
INDONESIA'S FOREIGN RELATION
Monday, 10 January 2011
– A critical reading of ‘Natalegawa doctrine’
– Challenges for Indonesia as ASEAN chair
– Building ASEAN anew
– True, key facts in RI tourism
A critical reading of ‘Natalegawa doctrine’
Ahmad Rizky Mardhatillah Umar, Yogyakarta | Fri, 01/07/2011
Indonesian foreign policy in the era of Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has embraced a new perspective – the so-called Natalegawa doctrine. This perspective sees Indonesia in a position of “dynamic equilibrium” in world politics.
There is currently a fragmented distribution of political power, and there are many challenges for inter-governmental cooperation that lie ahead. The foreign minister’s new doctrine is therefore interesting to examine in light of these issues.
The Jakarta Post spoke with Marty on Dec. 29, 2010, and many important points in Indonesian foreign policy nowadays were discussed. First, international politics is understood in the new doctrine as a state of “dynamic equilibrium” and “cold peace”. The polarities in post-Cold War international politics have shifted, opening up opportunities for strategic cooperation. Therefore, there are many economic and political changes within international politics that can no longer be understood as unipolar.
The dynamic equilibrium concept indicates that there are more possibilities for nations to become new powers in international relations. For Indonesia, this idea allows us to improve our economic and political strength and begin an era of cooperation among the Global South.
Second, dynamic equilibrium is a position of equality among countries in the Global South to cooperate peacefully without having to depend on any forms of hegemony in international politics. As a consequence, Indonesian foreign policy must harness the potential power of developing countries without denying the existence of powers in the “north”. This was reflected in the directions Indonesia’s foreign policy have taken, as formulated by Marty at the beginning of his term.
Third, this doctrine also views the world through the experience of the Cold War and current “cold peace”. Residual forces from the Cold War still exist, but we cannot deny that new forces have arisen in its aftermath. For example, China and India dominate Asian markets and have become emerging forces in regional — and even international — economies. Relations between these forces are not hostile like in the Cold War era, but more competitive, dynamic and non-political.
Fourth, the paradigm of international security nowadays has also shifted in line with the pluralism of the actors. Thus, opportunities for cooperation are wide open. Marty has responded to this situation by increasing economic cooperation within ASEAN member countries and in Asia and the Pacific.
But, the “Natalegawa Doctrine” is not free of criticism. Indonesian foreign policy perspectives lead to a critical question: How can Indonesia compete among the new powers in this post-Cold War era?
The inclusion of Indonesia in the G20, an exclusive group of developed countries, is an achievement of its own. But, this exclusive position must take into account public interests. It is not only about our national interests and acceptance in the international arena, but also in the domestic sphere. The government must also balance its foreign policy with the interests of the wider community.
The government’s vow of all-out diplomacy by involving all stakeholders has come under criticism. But, the realization of this promise is important to make sure that the public pays attention to diplomatic practices and propaganda.
In addition, criticism has also been directed at the government’s style of dealing with international problems. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono insists on adhering to the tenet “zero enemies, a million friends” when responding, for example, to the border conflict with Malaysia. Some have considered this pragmatic approach unclear.
The “Yudhoyono doctrine” is quite ambiguous. Dynamic equilibrium is established through the strengthening of regional cooperation. It means that foreign policy decision-making emphasizes regionalism — especially in ASEAN. It implies that we should make friends in strategic positions, not with all countries. The criticism of this policy is that it is too fixated on the imagery and spirit of “zero enemies, a million friends”. It is also unclear what Indonesia’s strategic position is at the regional level.
It would be extremely premature to critique the foreign minister’s new foreign policy doctrine. However, constructive criticism should be allowed and public oversight needs to be strengthened in order to match the government’s “all-out diplomacy”. It would be better if the public could observe and control the execution of diplomacy and foreign policy practice, and criticize together if there are any mistakes.
Hopefully, the Natalegawa doctrine can help to offer a new way for Indonesia to achieve power in international politics.
The writer works at the Institute of International Studies at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta.
Challenges for Indonesia as ASEAN chair
Bambang Hartadi Nugroho, Jakarta | Thu, 01/06/2011
A portentous opportunity for the nation to bolster its diplomatic achievements and standing in Southeast Asia has emerged as Indonesia readies itself to take over ASEAN’s rotating chair in 2011.
In 1976, when Indonesia chaired ASEAN, member states produced the Bali Concord I, which was based on the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). It laid out the rules of the game for ASEAN and also for other powers that wanted to engage in any form of cooperation with ASEAN.
The recent signing and ratification of this treaty by Japan, China, and the United States further emphasized its importance to ASEAN as well as to the three nations.
Similarly, in 2003, ASEAN produced the Bali Concord II, which initiated the ASEAN Economic Community. Therefore, it is understandable if we expect another breakthrough from Indonesia this time around, probably in the form of a third Bali Concord.
The government of Indonesia under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono seems enthusiastic and prepared to play a huge role, at least from what we can see on the surface.
If we examine the slogan that Indonesia chose for its chairmanship, ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations”, it can be inferred that Indonesia’s leadership over the next 12 months will be more outward-looking.
In the words of government officials, Indonesia will focus on carving a bigger role for ASEAN in international society, using the nation’s advantages as the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and the only Southeast Asian nation in the G20.
Nevertheless, when we talk about regional cooperation, especially in the form of an organization, we will always face the question of “deepening” versus “widening”.
Deepening means the organization will focus more on internal improvements, such as strengthening its dispute settlement mechanism. Widening usually refers to enlarging membership, organizational roles
or issues covered. These options are not necessarily contradictory, yet priorities have to be set.
For ASEAN, executing both deepening and widening strategies will be very hard, considering the short period of the chairmanship. This means that Indonesia must choose which option to focus on. For those who believe that ASEAN still needs many organizational improvements, then, it will be considerably naïve for ASEAN to widen its role and seek influence externally while not devoting attention and energy to internal development.
If Indonesia focuses on deepening, it will find many unresolved challenges that need to be taken care of very seriously.
To begin with, Indonesia will be faced with the jargon of “people-centered association”, which needs to be translated into real action. Arranging events in which the ASEAN public will be involved is insufficient. Instead, within the aforementioned expression lies a mandate for any form of cooperation made within the framework of ASEAN to done for the benefit of the people.
ASEAN is often criticized for being too elitist. Such criticism is not entirely wrong, because people might feel that the cooperation or negotiations that have been happened inside ASEAN have not necessarily brought advantages to them.
For Indonesia, one immediate regional and national interest should be the protection of migrant workers.
As one of the largest sources of migrant workers, protection and promotion of their rights is Indonesia’s vital interest and needs to be one of the focuses of Indonesian foreign policy in ASEAN. This is also in line with voices from domestic constituents, who have urged the Indonesian government to step up efforts to protect its citizens abroad, including migrant workers.
The Declaration on the Protection and the Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers made in Cebu in 2007 is a good start, yet it needs to be closely monitored in execution.
If we look at the implementation of an ASEAN single market, which also includes the free flow of workers, then this issue will not only be the interest of Indonesia, but also of most of ASEAN’s member states. Therefore, as the incoming chair of ASEAN, Indonesia should promote this as one of the most important items on the agenda during its tenure.
Another goal that Indonesia needs to achieve is promotion of democracy and human rights. It is understood that some ASEAN states are, as some say, “in the process of transitioning towards democracy”. Those countries, which are relatively young in terms of ASEAN membership, are looking at other members for examples as to how democracy and human rights can be practiced.
Indonesia is a reference for those young members. Indonesia as one of the founding fathers and the incoming chair of ASEAN must be able to set a good example as to how to practice democracy and how to enforce human rights.
By the end of its tenure as ASEAN chair, Indonesia must be able to report not only to its citizens, but also to all citizens of ASEAN that it has done its best to convert ASEAN’s slogan of a “people-centered association” into people-centered policies.
The time for rhetoric in ASEAN is over. It is time for real action to benefit of the people. Hopefully Indonesia will be able to maximize its role as the chair of ASEAN in 2011.
The writer is an assistant lecturer in International Relations at the University of Indonesia in Depok, West Java.
Building ASEAN anew
C.P.F. Luhulima, Jakarta | Fri, 01/07/2011
Indonesia’s three foremost priorities for its tenure as ASEAN’s chair have been lucidly articulated by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.
The nation must assure that during 2011 substantial progress is made towards realizing the ASEAN Community in 2015; assure ASEAN’s leadership in regional architecture building, specifically to give crucial significance to the East Asia Summit, which has been expanded to include Russia and the US and develop a vision for an ASEAN Community and Global Community of Nations after 2015.
This article will limit itself to Indonesia’s leadership in regional architecture building with ASEAN as a center for such a structural design. “Our capability of including Russia and the United States in the process of thrashing out that regional architecture means creating a dynamic equilibrium,” Marty said.
What will be the major challenges of producing a regional architecture? All sovereign countries will at all times defend their independence and their uniqueness. The pursuit of national interests in a globalized world and particularly within ASEAN should no longer be founded on the concepts of Machiavelli nor of Lord Palmerston, who said nations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests. ASEAN has been built on compromises.
To continue to pursue member states’ national interests is no longer in line with the method of consensus building in ASEAN. What has changed in ASEAN is how people define their interests, and, in particular, the configurations by which they pursue them.
We are not eliminating national interests in ASEAN. But we have agreed that the best way to safeguard our interests is by cooperating with one another. Cooperation has contributed immensely to identifying and realizing ASEAN’s interests.
To avoid misunderstandings, interests have to be put on an equal footing with values and norms. Any foreign policy that is not based on common values and norms as enunciated in the ASEAN Communities Blueprints and the ASEAN Charter should be set aside. The values and norms that we have sanctioned in the charter and its constitutive documents should form the fundamentals of foreign policy.
The foreign policy of every member country should be based on those norms. These values and norms should become the core of our diplomacy and external actions and express our common identity. They should shape Indonesia’s and ASEAN’s stance in its relations with the world, in finding common solutions and in making commitments to create effective multilateral institutions to face new challenges in a globalized world.
To build an ASEAN-centered regional architecture defies simple approaches. An ASEAN architecture that can accommodate larger powers such as India, China, Russia and the US requires a strong Indonesia in a strong ASEAN.
Indonesia can offer only a relatively small counterbalance to India, China, Russia and the US in the game of maintaining a “dynamic equilibrium” in the new architecture.
However, those powers have already committed themselves to ASEAN values and norms by becoming party to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia as a requirement to join the East Asia Summit.
Recognition of ASEAN, and of Indonesia as primus inter pares, should be capitalized upon in initiating and constructing that visualized ASEAN-led regional architecture. As in the case of building ASEAN, such a regional architecture should also acknowledge cooperation among equals as a fundamental safeguard for their members’ interests.
Indonesia will initiate and shape that architecture during its chairmanship, as Marty specified, but the nation must realize that its leadership will only last one year.
Other smaller member countries will have to take over the venture in the years following Indonesia’s chairmanship. They will also have to manage ASEAN’s internal affairs and timelines to accomplish ASEAN’s community building by 2015 to sustain and further develop that architecture.
This means ASEAN must at the same time be supported by a strong regional institution to tackle regional issues and necessitate national adaptations to regional requirements, regional norms.
Managing and fulfilling ASEAN’s objectives with clearly set timelines requires a dedicated and autonomous regional institution. Thus ASEAN member states energies will be free to embark upon the bigger task of structuring a huge regional architecture. An ASEAN Secretariat will no longer be able to handle those tasks because of its inherent institutional character.
It is, thus, to set free the energy of ASEAN member countries to build that regional architecture that the ASEAN Secretariat must be developed into a more autonomous institution.
The secretariat must enable ASEAN to focus its energies more on the strategic importance of constructing that new Asia Pacific architecture and delegating non-strategic issues and decisions in ASEAN’s agenda of community building to the ASEAN Commission.
ASEAN’s current secretary-general, because of his prominence, can be designated as the commission’s chairman or president.
A redesign of the ASEAN Secretariat into an ASEAN Commission will reflect ASEAN’s shift from a regional forum for ministerial diplomacy into one of summit diplomacy and summit decisions.
This shift has, since 1992, with the initiation of AFTA and later agreements, taken authority away from the ASEAN Ministerial Meetings.
It is this transformation into a redesigned organizational structure that will enable ASEAN to sustain the efforts of structuring a regional architecture for the greatest benefit to the region, Southeast Asia and East Asia.
The writer is a senior researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences’ Center for Political Studies.
True, key facts in RI tourism
Turman Siagian, Jakarta | Tue, 02/16/2010
Taking notice of an opinion by Anak Agung Gde Agung entitled: Indonesia’s tourism — a national tragedy, published in Jan. 21, 2010, we would like to clarify some points.
First, we would like to provide a summary of key statistics on total tourist arrivals in Indonesia. It was shown that between 1995 and 2007 tourist arrivals in Indonesia fluctuated from between 4.4 to 5.3 million. The figure was seriously impacted by a series of tragedies, such as terrorism, earthquakes, tsunamis and epidemic diseases.
In 1997 we recorded the arrival of 5.18 million tourists. A year later, the economic crisis that was followed by a multidimensional crisis that contributed to the decline of visitor arrivals to 4.6 million.
The figure, however, gradually increased in the next three years, booking significant growth in 1999 (4.72 million), in 2000 (5.06 million) and in 2001 (5.15 million).
However, the number of foreign tourists decreased after the World Trade Center attacks in September 2001, which recorded a significant decline in visitor arrivals in Indonesia as well as in other countries. In 2002, 5.03 million tourists visited the country.
In the years following, the tourism industry in Indonesia has faced several major threats. Since 2002, travel warnings have been issued by a number of countries over terrorist threats and incidents in some areas in Indonesia that significantly reduced the number of foreign visitors. The bombing in Bali in 2002 was a major blow to the tourism sector, reducing visitor arrivals to 4.46 million in 2003.
Government and stakeholders have since then worked hand in hand, along with the support of other countries and NGOs to recover Indonesia’s tourism sector. A year later, in 2004, tourist arrivals increased to 5.32 million, marking the highest number of tourist arrivals in Indonesia.
But bombing incidents have occurred almost every year since then, again worsening the Indonesian tourism sector. The 2004 Australian Embassy bombing and the second Bali bombing in October 2005,
along with the December 2004 tsunami the Yogyakarta earthquake and the bird flu outbreak in 2005, caused tourist arrivals to decrease to 5.02 million in 2005 and 4.87 million in 2006.
Through various campaigns, the number of foreign tourist arrivals bounced back in 2007, booking an influx of 5.5 million tourists. The Visit Indonesian Year (VIY) 2008 campaign contributed to the increase of tourist arrivals to 6.42 million in 2008 — the highest ever in the country — contributing US$7.3 billion in tourism revenue. The VIY campaign also stimulated the growth of domestic tourists, at 225 million, who spent around Rp 123.17 trillion. The 2008 performance shows the significant growth of 16.4 percent from the previous year, the best result within ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific, which recorded growth of 10.26 percent and 3.48 percent, respectively.
In 2009, despite the global economic crisis, with the general elections at home and the July 2009 JW Marriott-Ritz Carlton bombing, Indonesia’s tourism managed to show resistance, recording 6.4 million tourist arrivals.
Second, there was the government’s policy to develop Bali as a tourism icon. The government issued in 1972 a master plan for the Development of Tourism in Bali, making Bali the model for future tourism development for the rest of the country. This policy was also meant to attract international visitors to other destinations in regions from Sabang to Merauke. Programs, such as “Bali and Beyond” in 1990 and “Bali + 10”, were drawn up to support the development of other tourist destinations.
The government issued a ministerial regulation in 2007, determining 10 leading destinations, namely North Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, West Sumatra, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, North Sumatra, South Sumatra, Riau Islands, East Kalimantan and West Papua. The 10 destinations, with diverse characteristics and resources, were stimulated to develop their tourism potential.
Third, in the development of destinations outside Bali and Java, there are important matters to be considered: infrastructure, budget limitations and human resources.
Indonesia with a vast region and diverse ethnic group and culture — in other words, with the abundance of tourism potential — needs more effort and budget to promote and manage its tourism potential.
Fourth, it needs a brand image. We have to admit that neighboring Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore have succeeded in promoting their tourism by means of their international brandings, with the support of an adequate budget.
We have the “Indonesia Ultimate in Diversity”, and the strategy to promote our potential, but our promotional budget has been limited. In 2007 for example, Malaysia’s tourism promotional budget was $100 million, Singapore allocated $90 million, while we only had $15 million.
The government has introduced the 2010–2014 Tourism Development Plan, which no longer focuses on the number of foreign tourist arrivals, but more on the priorities below:
The development of tourism-human resources, quantitatively and qualitatively.
Tourism contribution on national revenue.
New investment quantities in the tourism industry.
Domestic tourism expenditure.
Revenue/foreign exchange earnings.
Based on the above facts and figures, we would like to inform that Indonesia’s tourism should not be compared with other countries for we face different situations that need special responses, policies and strategies.
The writer is a chief spokesman at the Culture and Tourism Ministry.