AGREEMENT ON INDONESIA POLICY
I agree with Theodore Friend’s analysis and recommendations for U.S. policy toward Indonesia [Indonesia: Confronting the Political and Economic Crisis, Spring 2000]. I look forward to reading his forthcoming book.
I was also very impressed by Ambassador Palmer’s bringing me up to date on events [From Repression to Reform? Indonesian Politics and the Military, 1997-1999, Spring 2000]. I served as a private consultant in Indonesia 1977-87, and I traveled over much of the country. My language tutor was a guerilla against the Dutch and later a high official. I was a friend of Gen. and Mrs. Nasution, and I have a shelf of books about Indonesia, but I learned much about what has been happening in Indonesia from my reading today.
Indonesia was one of favorite places to work and live. One slight difference between this life and the [usual] Foreign Service life: every day I found myself in situations where everyone else was Indonesian. I found all of the people friendly, I had many Indonesian friends, and we got along well together. One slight exception was the rapping on my car window by youths on the backs of trucks during election campaigning. They wanted me to stick my thumb up to register approval of their party!
I wrote of Ambassador Palmer’s knowledge when he earlier wrote about East Asia’s economic problems. I must confess that he also shows great knowledge of Indonesia.
Carl R. Fritz
Chapel Hill, NC
The writer is a former USAID official and a member of the governing board of this journal. ~Ed.
SAM HUNTINGTON’S VIEW OF THE COSMOS
I just finished reading Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996). I was wondering what sort of reception Huntington’s analysis of the new world order has received in subsequent years among the diplomatic community. Could you point me to any publications that provide a serious counterpoint to Huntington’s views? Have the ideas presented in his work led to a general shift in the thinking of American foreign policy operatives?
I must confess I haven’t read the book myself and so wouldn’t presume to comment on how it’s been received by others in the diplomatic community. Maybe it’s time I did so! Meanwhile, let’s put your letter in the “Letters from Readers” department and see whether our other readers have an opinion. ~Ed.
AFSA: FOREIGN AFFAIRS FUNDING CRISIS
As we pass the second anniversary of the east African embassy bombings and move into both the campaign and budget seasons, AFSA would like to ask once again for your help in alerting the public and our elected representatives to the growing crisis in foreign affairs funding. [See William C. Harrop’s The Infrastructure of American Diplomacy elsewhere in this issue of the Journal. ~Ed.]
While the foreign affairs funding process is not over, we can already see serious problems if the Congressional levels are not increased this year. For FY2001 which begins on October 1, 2000, the Administration requested $22.8 billion for the foreign affairs account. The House passed bills that would provide $20.3 billion, and the Senate bills would come to $20.7 billion. It is not just the total levels that present the problem, but where reductions from the request would be made. There are major cuts being proposed in our contributions to international peacekeeping, assistance to the nations of the former Soviet Union, non-proliferation, anti-terrorism and demining funds, and the Senate Appropriations Committee would reduce funding for embassy security by $420 million or by about 40 percent. While sufficient funding does not guarantee a sound foreign policy, there can be no sound foreign policy without sufficient funding.
We believe the foreign affairs budget must be substantially increased. The important thing is to educate the public, get people involved, and urge them to communicate with their Senators and Representatives.
If I may be of assistance to you or your readers in this endeavor, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Marshall P. Adair
The writer is president of the American Foreign Service Association. ~Ed.