Welcome back to the working week!
Last week, my colleague Benjamin Schreer argued that Indonesia will side with the US, despite its (long-standing) non-alignment policy. I have a different view: I think it’s too early to tell, unless something dramatically changes in the strategic environment that causes a fundamental rethink in Jakarta. Relations with China are far more complicated than Ben describes (and in fairness, can describe in a blog post). In particular, I don’t see Indonesia’s bilateral relations with China and the US as zero sum as Ben suggests here:
However, should China continue to push the strategic envelope in Southeast Asia, it’s very likely that Indonesia will not only push back but will also increase its strategic cooperation with the US.
For another perspective on the bilateral relationship with the US and Indonesia, CSIS has a new-ish report that includes a chapter on security cooperation. Too busy to read a report? Here’s some CSIS audio-video material that overviews key aspects of the US–Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership.
Zachary Keck over at The Diplomat looks at why Indonesia is courting North Korea. Apart from economic imperatives, Zach notes that there’s been long-standing public sentiment that’s favourable to the regime.
Lastly, ICYMI, Austalia has a new Indonesian Defence Attaché. Pictured above are outgoing Attaché Air First Marshal Benedictus Widjanarko (L) and incoming Air First Marshal Wieko Syofyan (R) at the handover ceremony officiated by Indonesian Ambassador HE Nadjib Riphat Keseoma.
Image source: IKAHAN.