Security Scholar suggests: an Indonesian military primer

Hey folks, welcome back! In case you were wondering, I did not run away with a travelling cat circus (because there’s no travel right now) but it’s been a big month for me. So today is just a quick post on a resource that I found useful. Last month I was busy preparing for my big PhD presentation so I thought this Channel News Asia special on the Indonesian military in politics would be perfect light viewing over lunch.

Weeeeeeell, turns out it was a bit meatier than expected! Military in Politics: Indonesia was a solid 48-minute exploration of the Indonesian armed forces, covering in reasonable detail its origin story, darker New Order decades and 1998 fall from grace. It presented clear-eyed analysis of the army’s past, the ramifications for civil-military relations under President Jokowi and the ongoing maritime challenges from China. Not only did CNA draw from some of the best TNI scholars out there in Singapore (where the station is based) and in Indonesia, the team also interviewed former Indonesian government and military officials including Professor Dewi Fortuna Anwar and Lieutenant General (rtd) Agus Widjojo.

The doco was even-handed about the military’s strengths and weaknesses, particularly its background of human rights violations, and there were only a handful of minor points I would have quibbled with. Straight up: if you’re a seasoned scholar of the Indonesian military, this isn’t for you. But if you, a colleague or your students are keen to learn about the Tentara Nasional Indonesia aka Indonesian armed forces, and you’re looking for something to enjoy at the kitchen table in less than an hour, look no further. Hats off to you, CNA!

Speaking of light and fluffy (well, kind of), this week’s music is brought to you by Blink-182, thanks to El Diablo. Happy Friday Burgers and see you next week! —NS