Friday, March 16, 2012

China's Rise : Indonesia reassures Australia over security concerns

The present Indonesian leadership is more enlightened than some of the former post-Suharto governments that are "nationalistic" and discriminatory towards its own population. Apart from recovery from chaotic state and economic doldrums, Indonesia appears to generated a sophisticated vision and strategy in a more complex international environment.

In this respect, Indonesia is far more advanced and open-minded than the Australian government in seizing opportunities without allowing prejudices to colour its foreign policies. Ignorance breeds fear and contempt for another who has miraculously survived and prospered. The US and Australia are constrained when it chooses to transplant their values, colonial past and experience from the Cold War to fit a different world order.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hopes to steer an equal distance between China and US. He sees increase US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region at Australia's encouragement would only increase tensions.  The Indonesian leader obviously has a good understanding of Chinese intentions.

Indonesia now recognises that using force will not settle disputes and favours negotiations to settle conflicts and disputes in the region.  Nevertheless, in the longer term, Indonesia seeks to play a bigger role in Southeast Asia as Malaysia declines economically and exploits religion and racism for political ends.

Base on past history, culture, economics and pragmatism, the Chinese are careful not to stretch its resources, a stronger China will not take on the policeman role which US and NATO countries have been very enthusiastic. Chinese governments have always been contented to disseminate Chinese culture and language but are reluctant to commit or expand militarily beyond its territorial borders.

While the Australian foreign affairs and trade department is non-chalant in its written declaration, actions speak louder than words as the government moves towards closer strategic partnership with the US.

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