Indonesia Abandons Confrontation: An Inquiry into the Functions of Indonesian Foreign Policy

Indonesia Abandons Confrontation: An Inquiry into the Functions of Indonesian Foreign Policy

Indonesia Abandons Confrontation: An Inquiry into the Functions of Indonesian Foreign Policy

Indonesia Abandons Confrontation: An Inquiry into the Functions of Indonesian Foreign Policy

Excerpt

Among close observers of Indonesian politics, there is a consensus that, at its inception in 1963, the policy of confrontation against Malaysia found wide support in Indonesia. As Robert Curtis put it: “[Confrontation] reflects pressures from almost every section, whether Right or Left, of the political spectrum in Djakarta… there is practically no important group in Indonesia which, for reasons of its own, does not support the anti-Malaysian campaign.” Although the aftermath of the events of September 30, 1965 brought a dramatic change in the power balance within Indonesia, many of the new wielders of power had been prominent, if not dominant, in the politics of the Guided Democracy years. Almost all of them had given strong public support to confrontation. How is it, then, that by the middle of 1966 confrontation had ended? Who brought about the termination of confrontation, and what were the motive forces impelling the reversal of a policy which had commanded such nearly universal obeisance?

Those questions about the end of confrontation are of more than historical interest. For the study of such a critical period of policy adjustment holds special promise of bringing to light some of the

1 On the breadth of support for confrontation during the Guided Democracy period and the multiplicity of motives underlying that support, see George McT. Kahin,” Malaysia and Indonesia,” Pacific Affairs, 37 (Fall 1964), pp. 253–270; Donald Hindley,” Indonesia’s Confrontation with Malaysia: A Search for Motives,” Asian Survey, 4 (June 1964), pp. 904–913; Frederick P. Bunnell,” Guided Democracy Foreign Policy, 1960–1965: President Sukarno Moves from NonAlignment to Confrontation,” Indonesia, No. 2 (October 1966), pp. 37–76; Robert Curtis,” Malaysia and Indonesia,” New Left Review, 28 (November-December 1964), pp. 5–32; Bernard K. Gordon, The Dimensions of Conflict in Southeast Asia (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 19 66); and Arnold C. Brackman, Southeast Asia’s Second Front: The Power Struggle in the Malay Archipelago (New York: Praeger, 1966).

2 Curtis,” Malaysia and Indonesia,” p. 32.

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