Category Archives: Indonesia

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Challenges and Prospects of India’s Leadership in South Asia and Asia-Pacific

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 21, 2011, No Comments

One of the infrequently mentioned features of U.S. foreign policy is that it wants it allies to emulate its behavior as a leader and as a trailblazer.  America's emergence as the global leader of the so-called "free world" during the Cold War years was an example of trailblazing and original thinking.  It took full advantage of that occasion and presided over the creation of world-class economic institutions and trade regimes, a number of which proved to be quite enduring. It established a number of military alliances in different regions of the world to contain the Soviet Union.  One such alliance, NATO, is not only still around today but is also directly involved in helping the U.S. fight the war in Afghanistan. The very notion of "containment" was highly imaginative and steadily became highly nuanced during the Cold War–even though its founding father, George F. Kennan, remained critical of the fact that it became overly militarized in its dealings with the Soviet Union.  (mo
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Western Military Intervention as a Death-knell for the Arab Awakening

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 9, 2011, No Comments

The natural American interventionist impulse is surging once again.  This time the pretext is to save the Libyans from Muammar Qaddafi.  The United States and the U.K. are reportedly positioning their military assets to impose no-fly zones in Libya.  At least superficially, that sounds like a good measure, which would scare Qaddafi into submission.  But one has to be apprehensive about such "good measures."  Past American interventionism in the Muslim world has established that there is no such thing as intervention to improve the lot of the populace.  That did not happen in 1953, when the CIA and the British intelligence service colluded to bring Mohammad Reza Pahlevi to power.  The post-Saddam Iraq is tenuous at best.  Afghanistan continues to teeter at the brink of disaster.  The CIA-backed intervention that ousted Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965 brought to power a military dictator, Suharto, who ruled that country with an iron fist for several decades.  (more…)
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The Obama Factor and the World of Islam

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 16, 2009, No Comments

President Barack H. Obama spoke to the Muslim world from Cairo on June 4, 2009.  Symbolically, that day will always be remembered every time someone raises the issue of the United States' relations toward the world of Islam.  The following statement he made that day will go down in history as a memorable one:  The United States is "not and never will be, at war with Islam."  He made the same statement for the first time in Turkey two months prior.   (more…)
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Looking at Indonesia from Abroad and Within

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 23, 2008, No Comments

Reading about Indonesia from the United States in the post-9/11 era creates a picture of that country that has little to do with realities inside its borders.  One of the reasons is the obsession of the American media and even OpEd writing intellectuals with Jemah Islamiya (JI) at the expense of everything else.  As much as the "informed public" (defined as people who are interested in substantive news coverage in the print and electronic media) wants to know about Southeast Asia, somehow their interest in and about Indonesia has been reduced to reading or hearing reports that discuss how dynamic the JI still is, and about how many Indonesians are sympathetic to that entity.   (more…)
HOT GLOBAL ISSUES FROM OTHER SOURCES INDONESIA ISLAM PAKISTAN

A Case for Optimism for Indonesia

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 20, 2008, 1 Comment

As extremist forces are intensifying their endeavors to make Pakistan an obscurantist Muslim country, the example of Indonesia is both inspiring and heartening.  The country is well on its way to democracy, something that is quite rare in the world of Islam.  To be sure, Indonesia has problems of its own.  Extemist forces have shown their ugly faces in the past and terrorist attacks have taken place.  Even today, when democracy is thriving in Indonesia, the global economic crisis gives one great concern that Indonesia might suffer from its deleterious spillover effect.  However, considering the significance of Indonesia as the largest Muslim country, in all likelihood, forces of regional stability and global order are likely to come to its rescue.  In the meantime, one has to watch with rapt attention that there is no resurgence of religious extremism, since the forces of extremism are weak, but are  very much on the mend.   Kishore Mahbubani's essay makes the case for optimis