March 17, 2009


US gives a long overdue nod to Indonesia
(Ann Marie Murphy , 3/18/09, Asia Times)

Hillary Clinton deserves credit for making Indonesia the second country she visited as secretary of state. Indonesia may be the world's fourth most populous country, third largest democracy, and home to the world's largest community of Muslims, but it is also the most important country Americans know virtually nothing about. [...]

The US and Indonesia both signaled a desire to forge a "comprehensive partnership" that would expand and deepen all aspects of the bilateral relationship and create a framework to advance common interests, such as environmental protection, climate change, trade and investment, democracy, health, education, counter-terrorism, and regional security issues. Precisely how this might evolve is unclear. Despite strong Indonesian opposition to the Bush administration's military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, relations improved dramatically during Bush's second term. Washington lifted the military embargo against Indonesia, extended US$157 million of educational aid, rescinded its travel ban, and supported the Aceh Peace Process. Officials on both sides agree that US-Indonesian relations are the best they have been in decades.

In a December 2008 speech in Washington, President Yudhoyono called for a "strategic partnership" with the US, but Indonesian officials have backed away from this term in favor of "comprehensive partnership". Indonesians remember with gratitude US relief efforts in the wake of the devastating 2004 tsunami. US restrictions on military-to-military relations and on sales of equipment in earlier years, however, have created a perception among Indonesian defense officials that the US is unreliable and made them wary of over-dependence on the US as a supplier of military equipment.

Watching the current administration try to shaft our Eastern European friends is enough to make you wary of the US.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 17, 2009 7:05 AM
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