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by Ronald D. Palmer

BALANCE AND HARMONY ARE HIGHLY prized values in complex Indonesia, a state with more than 7,000 islands, 200 million people and hundreds of dialects and cultures where 87 percent of the population is Muslim, but where Christians have traditionally played important roles and where the Chinese are believed to own 74.5 percent or more of the national assets even though they constitute only 3.5 percent of the population. It is appropriate, therefore, that the effort to achieve regional, ethnic, and other balances can be perceived also in the effort to find the balance between repression and reform, particularly in this still-insecure post-Suharto era. The instruments of control — the military, the state party Golongan Karya (GOLKAR), and the presidency — have all been weakened. However, there is little compensating strength in the institutions of the new era. The strength of the new era rests in the possibility of hope and change and the building of democratic institutions. This will take time and the overcoming of many obstacles, but hope exists and change has begun.

There are many dazzling changes that merit optimism. The new leadership team of Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Sukarnoputri have brought a high degree of legitimacy to government that the government of President B.J. Habibie never possessed. The dark days of President Suharto seem far away. And yet, the shadow of the Suharto imperium still casts a long shadow across the land.

Giving credit where it is due, it is useful to remember that Habibie was president when the press was unmuzzled, when freedom of assembly was confirmed, along with freedom of political association resulting in the formation of about 148 political parties, when an extraordinarily free election was held, and when there was a peaceful transfer of executive power. Habibie’s impetuous decision to allow a referendum on autonomy or independence can be faulted in many ways, but the fact is that East Timor is free, Indonesian troops have been withdrawn, and the territory is now under UN protection. Ruthless anti-independence forces in Timor remain and will have to be overcome, but President Wahid has established a policy of conciliation that may ease this process.

Indonesia is a top-down society and changes initiated at the top have a fair chance of penetrating to those below. However, while Indonesia is nominally a democracy — indeed the third largest democracy in the world — it is still in the grip of forces of repression that will make the process of further far-ranging change very difficult. Certain factions of the Indonesian military demonstrated just how difficult change will be by their actions in supporting or directly participating in the destruction of the East Timor infrastructure. There is no accurate count yet of deaths that occurred in the process of this destruction, nor is there an accurate count of the East Timorese population that was herded as captives into West Timor, the Indonesian side of the island. But few doubt that both these numbers are large

East Timor was a military fiefdom controlled in a manner that can only be described as colonial. One of the last Dutch governors general in the 1930s, Bonifacius De Yong, reportedly said sometime during his 1931-1936 incumbency that the Kingdom of the Netherlands had held the East Indies for 300 years with the whip and the club and would hold the territory for another 300 years with the whip and the club. This colonial lesson was apparently learned all too well by the Indonesian occupiers of East Timor. Unfortunately, Timor was only one of the territories where the whip and club were applied. Aceh and West New Guinea are vivid examples of the attempted crushing of local desires for autonomy by military force.

Beneath surface reform, military control and repression are the reality that faces the nation. Uprooting this structure will be no easy task. The fact is that the military structure parallels the civil structure at every level of the society. Change at the top has occurred because the military at that level has been confused, uncertain, and factionalized. President Suharto had kept the army leadership off balance in his thirty-two years of rule by carefully cultivating an opportunistic dominant clique or faction which became beholden to him for the economic favors he could give them. This faction was loyal to him as a person, as a politician. Suharto had a great gift for knowing the personal weaknesses or vulnerabilities of those whose support he desired. Senior military officers were no exception. The pattern for present-day officers was established by Suharto’s peers in the Revolutionary Generation of 1945. Some of them like Suharto himself became wealthy in the 1950s by making arrangements with Chinese merchants, who were often smugglers. Suharto was relieved of duty for corruption in 1959. Other officers under his command were also relieved for this reason. Nevertheless, corruption seeped deeply into the military in this period. and many senior officers became extravagantly wealthy, especially after the military took over Dutch economic assets in 1957 during the 1957-1962 period of martial law. Army economic and political power grew in the 1950s and 1960s and President Sukarno’s declaration of “Guided Democracy” in 1959 was designed to balance military power with the growing militant power of the Indonesian Communist Party, the PKI.

Sukarno attempted to swing the allegiance of the senior military to him personally rather than the military chain of command. This effort led eventually to the confrontation between Sukarnoist and Communist forces against the institutional military. Maj. Gen. Suharto emerged as the head of the army. Those who supported him included a fiercely anti-political party faction that launched an anti-communist pogrom in 1965-68 and moved quickly to push other parties to the sidelines. Suharto worked through a junta or cohort of officers who had been with him since his days as a division commander in central Java. Some of these had been relieved of duty with him for corruption by the then-army chief of staff, the austere General Nasution.

In deposing Sukarno, Suharto became acting president in 1967 and president in 1968, whereupon his cronies urgently began the task of legitimating his rule. They did so by building on an army-developed political organization based on non-political groups, Golongan Karya, abbreviated as GOLKAR. This organization became the military instrument of political control. With military support, GOLKAR won the 1971 election for Suharto. Shortly afterwards the four Muslim political parties were forced to consolidate into one party, the Indonesian Development Party, PPP. The five secular parties, including the powerful Indonesian National Party, were forced to regroup into the Indonesian Democratic Party, PDI. They were kept under tight control by military authorities. GOLKAR became dominant at the national and local levels.

However, Suharto had his own agenda, which was to build his personal power. He used this power in 1971 to cover up a luxury automobile smuggling incident involving his family. The illegal activities of his family and his cronies shocked the army faction whose goal was to promote army professionalism, the institution of the army They were not opposed to Suharto’s money-making but were opposed to his becoming president-for-life. This opposition come from Suharto’s fellow officers in the “Generation of 1945,” men who considered they were Suharto’s peers. Their initial goal was to prevent Suharto from winning a second term in 1977. Suharto was able to siphon money from the National Oil Company, PERTAMINA, to win a crushing GOLKAR victory once again. In doing so, he had the assistance from 1974 of a dedicated forty-two-year-old intelligence specialist, Brigadier Gen. Benny Murdani, who was a member of the so-called “Bridging Generation” of officers graduated from the military academy after 1958. Ruthless, brave, devious, imaginative, and able, Murdani planned and led the invasion of East Timor in 1975 and set the tone for the initial brutalization of East Timor in the 1975-1988 period.

Suharto’s generation of 1945 peers had reached retirement age as the 1982 election approached and joined with a third “clean” faction of reformers in the military opposed to mounting corruption to attempt to deny Suharto a third term. They failed. By now, Suharto was beyond army control. Although Murdani was a Suharto protégé, he was above all dedicated to military professionalism and he became a four star general in 1983 when Suharto made him commander in chief of the armed forces and minister of defense and national security. Suharto treated him as a virtual son and a member of his family group. Murdani saw corruption at close hand and became identified with the Army effort to assert its power at the national level against the political dominance of Suharto. Murdani attempted to prevent further deterioration of army institutional strength and morale. He placed men loyal to himself in key positions throughout the military but, a Catholic and fearful of political Islam, Murdani favored non-Muslims and officers with an intelligence backgrounds similar to his own. This created deep resentment against him in the officer corps.

Murdani made the serious mistake in 1988 of confronting Suharto over the economic depredations of the latter’s children. He was fired as TNI commander in 1988, but permitted to retain his nominally powerless post as minister of defense and security. Though humiliated, Murdani held on to the position grimly until the 1993 presidential elections, when he was able to help engineer the appointment of his protégé Gen. Try Sutrisno as vice president. His activities led to his dismissal from this post as well. By 1993, the military was merely the auxiliary of Suharto and the GOLKAR politico-economic elite.

SUHARTO BEGAN AN URGENT program to eliminate the influence of Gen. Benny Murdani from the military in 1993 with two reshuffles of officers at the colonel level and above. There were two more similar moves in 1994, three in 1995, two in 1996, and two in 1997. Each involved 100 to 300 senior officers. From 1993 to 1998 the military, primarily the army, continued to be divided into its traditional reform and status quo factions; but an unorganized floating group of fence-sitters grew. The military was loosely tied to Suharto by the power and financial blandishments he was able to provide, but they generally regarded senior officers placed by Suharto at the head of the military as mere puppets at worst or peers at best.

Suharto groomed three officers in this period as possible TNT commanders. The winner of this competition was Gen. Wiranto, adjutant to the president in the 1989-93 period. Wiranto was a Jakarta-oriented staff man more familiar with the in-box than the machine gun pillbox. His rise to power after detaching himself from Suharto’s apron strings was through a fifteen-month command of the Jakarta Military District and a fifteen-month command of the Strategic Reserve. He became TNI commander in February 1998. He lacks field command experience and a network of loyal officers, but he has Suharto’s instinct for power and skill at political manipulation.

Wiranto’s friendly rival, Gen. Susilo Bambang Yuhudhoyono, a respected reformer, was also groomed for the top military post by Suharto. He became TNI chief of staff for social and economic affairs, where he has worked well with Wiranto in opening channels of communication to student groups, while cautioning them, however, to confine their activities to their campuses to avoid a crackdown by military hard liners.

The loser in the three-way competition was Gen. Prabowo Subianto, Suharto’s controversial son-in-law who apparently even Suharto did not trust. Nevertheless, Suharto used Prabowo and his other loyal janissaries to do whatever dirty work was necessary. Their motto was asal bapak senang (whatever the boss wants), but their freebooting extra-legal activities outside the chain of command and mounting appetite for violence sowed confusion in senior ranks. Meanwhile the professionalized reform-minded faction became increasingly estranged from Suharto. The president’s ruthless use of Prabowo and his military and militia thugs and gangsters in ousting Megawati from leadership of the PDI in 1996 deepened this estrangement. Five persons were killed and disturbances erupted throughout the nation: Ujung Panjang in South Sulawesi, Medan, Flores, Ambeno in East Timor, Tasikmalaya, Tanah Abang, West Kalimantan, Bandung, Lombok, Rengasdenklok. The lid of repression was blowing off. Election year 1997 came and the Suhartoist military faction missed few opportunities to strong arm GOLKAR to a highly questionable 74.5 percent victory. It was the most violent election in Indonesia’s history; at least 250 persons lost their lives.

The military did not have monolithic views on countering or cooperating with Suharto. The factions were characterized by age, regional, religious, and ethnic differences that cut across lines. Another set of cross-cutting differences arose from attitudes toward the traditional dwi-fungsi or dual-function mission of the military as having both classic security responsibilities and a socioeconomic role. The two missions largely overlapped because the military performed a basically internal security role with secret police functions, while simultaneously acting in tandem with or actually being appointed to the national administrative bureaucracy. This bureaucracy had the appearance of and manifested many of attitudes and values of the prewar Dutch bureaucratic model. It was part of the top-down hierarchical political and cultural system. Army officers and noncoms held positions which matched and dominated the administrative structure.

This territorial structure was and is the heart and soul of military political power. Territorial military officials monitored political and social counterparts and prodded them as needed. Military permission was required to travel, to organize meetings, to issue publications, and to deliver sermons in mosques and churches. The continuing reality is that a military Panglima heads each of the seventeen military regions or KODAMs. There are four in Sumatra, three in Java, three in Kalimantan (Borneo), two in Sulawesi, one based in Bali covering Timor, one in Ambon covering both Maluku and the Spice Trade Moluccas, and one in West Irian (West New Guinea) based at Jayapura. The provincial governors are subject to the authority of the KODAM. Military resort commands are the next level commanded by KOREMS. They correspond to the former position of resident in the Dutch bureaucracy. One tier further down are military district commanders or KODIM, whose counterparts are civilian Bupatis. At the subdistrict level are the KORAMIL, who are counterparts to the sub-district administrative officials. Below this structure down to the village are the BABINSA, who are noncommissioned officers with authority over villages and village headmen (lurah).

In the past, a military officer would normally rise in rank based on territorial performance, as well as military proficiency. Their initial assignment would be at the KORAMIL sub-district level, and they would move back and forth from such positions to other outright military commands and higher administrative levels. Territorial commands were prized for their economic potential. The best battalion commanders became KODIM or district officials. The best brigade commanders became KOREM, the equivalent of residents in the old Dutch system. Persons deemed to be on the fast-track for promotion were strenuously trained in “guidance operations” such as intelligence work in a pre-election period, the targeting of influential persons, the monitoring of political party activity, and the use of intimidation. Thus, authorities at the Jakarta level could target individuals at every level of society; military officers were able to issue orders to any officials. Since such officials were typically members of GOLKAR, the system normally ran smoothly. In any event, the military had the power to arrest or detain anyone who might threaten the “success” of a general election.

The elements that bound the faction together was a common view that the military was above the government and was the protector of the state, that it was the embodiment of Indonesian nationalism. This sense of purpose is a deeply shared value. The military is dedicated to the ideal of the unitary state and shares a common hatred for federalism, which has been an excuse in the past for regional rebellions and which could lead to the breakup of a great nation with a great purpose into meaningless powerless units. Thus, the military has felt justified in using whatever force was necessary to crush local autonomy in Timor, Aceh, or elsewhere.. The military retains a pervasive fear of communism, as well as a hatred of political Islam. Generally, the military remains dedicated also to its dual-function mission, although some senior officers have expressed concern that dwifungsi has impaired military efficiency and should be gradually ended.

As must be clear, changing this apparatus of control will not be an easy or quick task. Reform at the top will require cohesion that is currently lacking. Even if cohesion is achieved, it will trickle down only slowly to local, district, and provincial military satraps. Officers who are not on the fast track to national prominence tend to enjoy extended assignments at the territorial level where they are powerful and where opportunities for personal enrichment abound. This is in part the story of East Timor, which was not considered a career-enhancing assignment for the best officers or noncoms. However, power, long assignments, economic opportunity, and virtual colonial authority made East Timor assignments attractive to certain types of officers, especially since Jakarta paid little attention to the area. One such officer was Prabowo Subianto, son-in-law of President Suharto, a Special Forces officer who was eventually able to turn East Timor into a personal fief and a training ground for Special Forces black operations. He extended his protection to the notorious East Timor “NINJA” criminals and used them in extra-legal operations involving torture, extortion, murder, kidnapping, etc., in other regions of the nation before and after he become Special Forces commander in 1995. (See Douglas Kammen, “ Notes on the Transformation of the East Timor Military command and Implications for the U.S.,” Indonesia 67, April 1999, Cornell Modern Indonesia Project.)

By 1997, the regime of President Suharto began the inexorable loss of legitimacy that led to his resignation on May 15, 1998. The 1997 economic crisis removed Suharto’s most basic claim to legitimacy, which was successful economic development. At the beginning of 1997 the number of those beneath the poverty line was 10 percent; the number climbed to 50 percent by the end of 1997. As noted, the 1997 election led to nationwide violence. The military leadership was disorganized and confused. The hermetic world of Suharto’s Indonesia was forcibly opened by the 1997 economic and financial trauma which required IMF intervention. The IMF demanded reforms that caused Suharto to have to choose between his interests and those of his family, as against the interests of the nation. He chose to protect his personal interests in the October 1997 and January 1998 IMF agreements.

Suharto compounded his political and economic errors in the March 1998 Peoples Consultative Assembly elections for president and vice president by choosing his crony B.J. Habibie as vice president. Habibie was bitterly disliked by the military. With virtual contempt, Suharto chose an unseemly cabinet containing his toady golf partner, Sino-Indonesian timber magnate Bob Hassan, and his ambitious and distrusted daughter Tutut. Suharto’s normally adept political instincts faltered in this period as his contacts were by now limited to the sycophantic and opportunistic family and crony circle. He appears to have lost contact with the fast-changing external reality. He had little public support. In fact, public opinion was steadily mounting against him and his regime particularly among students, who mounted increasingly large demonstrations.

The military status quo hard liners were by now Suharto’s main support. Four of the eleven most influential military positions by 1998 were under the influence of his son-in-law Gen. Prabowo, a fifth member of this group, having been named commander of the Strategic Reserve in February, 1998. Prabowo had made his career in the Special Forces, largely in East Timor. He was assigned there in 1976, 1978, 1983, and 1988. He had been relieved of his command in 1988 by Benny Murdani for abuse of authority. Nevertheless, Suharto wangled an 1998 appointment for him as a battalion commander in the Strategic Reserve. By 1995, Prabowo was commander of the Special Forces. He succeeded Wiranto in 1998 as Strategic Reserve commander when Wiranto became TNI Commander.

BY 1998, THE MILITARY factions had become more clearly defined. There was a relatively small group of reformers led by Gen. Susilo Bambang Yuhudhoyono. There was a larger group of officers, including Prabowo, opposed to change and adamantly in favor of the status quo; these demanded a leading role for the military in the state. There was another balancing group of fence sitters, apparently including the enigmatic Wiranto. Prabowo was said also to be the leader of a Green Faction of Islamist officers. Wiranto was said to be the leader of a Red and White (colors of the national flag) professional faction dedicated to the secular supra religious state and a possibly diminished dwi-fungsi role. Wiranto insisted on an avuncular moderate policy in dealing with the spreading student demonstrations in the spring of 1998. Eventually, however, the demonstrators left their campuses and occupied the grounds of the Parliament. Wiranto’s forces handled the situation carefully and peaceably, but in giving the demonstrators relatively wide latitude, Wiranto indirectly played a role in the downfall of Suharto.

By contrast, Prabowo developed plans to use the demonstrations to advance his personal agenda, which was to show that Wiranto was incompetent to maintain order. Forces apparently under Prabowo’s control appear to have murdered six Prisakti University students on May 12 and that began a chain of events leading directly to the fall of the Suharto regime. The killings were followed on May 13 by thug-inspired rioting, looting, arson and the raping of perhaps hundreds of Chinese girls and women. Prabowo is believed to have orchestrated these events.

Wiranto’s forces coped with this anarchic situation as well as they could, remaining loyal to Suharto and the chain of command. Suharto summoned Wiranto on May 20 to ask if order could be restored. Wiranto responded positively, but said there would be unpredictable loss of life. Suharto trusted Witanto’s evaluation and resigned that day. Habibie was sworn in to replace him.

Prabowo made his move swiftly. On May 21 he met Habibie and demanded that Wiranto be replaced by his own man Gen. Subagiyo and that he (Wiranto) be made Army Chief of Staff. Habibie decided to side with Wiranto instead; indeed, he appointed Wiranto minister of defense and security, as well as TNI commander. Wiranto fired Prabowo as commander of the Strategic Reserve in the night of May 22. Frustrated, Prabowo took a detachment of Special Forces troops to Habibie’s home to repeat the demands he had made the previous day. He was turned away brusquely by Habibie’s head of personal security, Major Gen. Sintong Panjaitan, a Murdani man who had been disgraced by Prabowo in 1991. Prabowo wandered off into the night with his troops. He was summoned by Wiranto on May 23 and reassigned to Bandung. Prabowo faced a military court of honor in August and was drummed out of the army. He was initially in exile in Jordan, but was forced to leave and go to Germany; he was in Bangkok at last report. Prabowo undoubtedly continues to be in contact with military hard liners, his network of cronies, and his private organizations of thugs.

Backed by Generals Wiranto and Susilo Bambang Yuhudhoyono, Habibie responded to demands for democratization by promising to implement a four-step process, including:

  1. passage of new laws to enable free and fair elections;
  2. calling for a special People’s Consultative Assembly at the end of 1998 to a set a new date for election;
  3. calling for new parliamentary elections in mid-1999, and
  4. calling for a regular Peoples Consultative Assembly meeting at the end of 1999 to elect a new president and vice president.

He also released certain political prisoners. Lt. Gen. Mohammad Yunus Yosfiah, minister of information, initiated sweeping press and media reforms. Gen. Rudini, former minister of home affairs, was eventually given responsibility to organize the 1997 elections and performed miracles in making them clean, uncontested, and legitimate.

Wiranto announced military reforms in August and September 1998, including power-sharing with civilian authorities rather than the military playing a central role in politics. He promised a military code of ethics to prevent future abuses. He promised a systematic decline in the military dual-function role and a reduction of the numbers of officers assigned to non-military positions and functions. Administratively, he separated the National Police from the TNI. And, he promised the military would be neutral in the 1999 elections, meaning a break from GOLKAR. Later he agreed to a 50 percent military representation in the parliament. The November 1998 Special People’s Consultative Assembly was marred by maverick military-inspired violence but approved the Habibie reform program. Gen. Rudini began organizing in January 1999 for June elections and accomplished in months what had taken a year or years in the past. In January, however, President Habibie impetuously called for a referendum on autonomy or independence for East Timor in August 1999. The decision ignored recommendations by even Timorese advocates that a longer period to prepare for either autonomy or independence would be needed.

The June, 1999 elections went forward smoothly even though fifty-eight parties participated. Megawati’s PDIP Party won 34 percent of the vote. Parties identified with Islam won less than 10 percent. GOLKAR won 22 percent and Abdurrahman Wahid’s PKB won nearly as many votes. Amien Rais’ modernist Islam Party PAN won only about 10 percent of the vote. Vote counting was slow but, paradoxically, may have increased the legitimacy of the vote because it involved so many people and was done by hand. The stage was set for the November Peoples Consultative Assembly Presidential and Vice Presidential vote.

However, on August 30, the people of East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence. Pro-Indonesian forces mixed with army Special Forces personnel and military-equipped militia began an orgy of violence in September that brought shame and dishonor on Indonesia and the military. Initially, it was not clear what exact role TNI Headquarters and Wiranto had played in this violence. Reports were that the anti-independence pogrom had been orchestrated or directed by the KODAM Commander in Bali. At first, it appeared only that Jakarta was slow in recognizing the dimensions of the disaster, but Australian intelligence reports published in the Financial Times on November 25, 1999, directly implicated Wiranto who “ordered the carnage in East Timor.” In any case, Wiranto and Habibie must assume the blame. The international community was repelled by the savagery and an Australian force was finally admitted by Jakarta to bring the situation under control. The Indonesian Government was humiliated by the East Timor debacle and fear rose that dissidence by Aceh dissidents might result in a similar outcome. Military hard liners resisted the threat to the unitary state represented by the loss of East Timor and have insisted that Achinese resistance will be put down by force.

Meanwhile, Aburrahman Wahid was elected president by the Peoples Consultative Assembly with Megawati Sukarnoputri as his vice president. This unexpected result derived from dissatisfaction over Habibie’s handling of the East Timor problem, but Habibie’s chances were affected also by his apparent participation in a Bank Bali scandal involving a GOLKAR political slush fund. Consequently, Habibie’s defense of his record as president was rejected by the People’s Consultative Assembly, leading to an open vote in which the wily and brilliant Abdurrahman Wahid was able to form a winning combination based on his strong and well-respected political and conciliatory skills. He has put together an extraordinarily diverse cabinet with many inexperienced persons. Wiranto attempted to reinforce his positions by recommending senior officers for cabinet appointments and for key positions in the military structure. Despite the vigorous objections of Murdani, Wiranto successfully recommended the appointments of Lt. Gen. Bambang Susilo and Lt. Gen. Agum Gumelar to the cabinet. They will have to resign from the army to do so. This means that two of Wiranto’s most able rivals have been removed from the chain of command. Wiranto made it clear he had no intention to resign from the military and would retain his strategic civilian post and his military rank. Wiranto also succeeded in getting his personal choice, Adm. Widodo, as TNI chief. The president held out for Gen. Tyasno Sudarto, a Murdani man, as army chief of staff, but Wiranto prevailed. Meanwhile, Wiranto launched another reshuffle of senior personnel.

Abdurrahman faces many problems and maintaining the pace of reform is only one of them. The Aceh issue looms and he erred by apparently offering Aceh the option of autonomy or independence. He has corrected that statement, but Achinese resentment against Jakarta is strong and he will need all his political skills to build a consensus in Aceh for autonomy, while restraining military fire brands from carrying out a scorched earth policy in that proud and independent province. Further, Muslim-Christian violence has resumed in Ambon resulting in many death and hundreds of injuries. Past Ambon violence has appeared to be instigated by forces interested in creating disorder. Their connection to the military was not clear, but there was suspicion that such forces were under military control.

Discipline remains a major problem in controlling the factionalized Indonesian armed forces. Wiranto’s capability or lack of capability to exert this control is a major question mark for President Abdurrahman. At some point, the new president will have to demand greater military efficiency and professionalism in controlling disorder or to move to replace Wiranto and his cohorts with officers who will be more responsive to civilian control. Recalcitrants in the military appear to have incorrectly assessed the powerful claims to legitimacy of the new government, and the seriously reduced military claim to a dual function, dwi-fungsi, role

In conclusion, Indonesia must overcome great economic, social and political obstacles in continuing on the path toward reform and democracy. This is a revolutionary undertaking after thirty-two years of Suharto authoritarianism and it will take time. The United States can help materially, but Indonesia’s biggest need in the months ahead is patient and wise U.S. understanding of the difficulties of this process, including the slow disengagement of the military from the degree of political authority and influence it has held. Is there hope? I think so. But undertakings of the scale that Indonesia has begun will need the patience and sometimes the constructive criticism of its friends. The United States was “present at the creation” of the Indonesian State and has a fraternal, as well as strategic interest in successful Indonesian political and economic reform worthy of this great people.  

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Ronald Palmer served as American ambassador to Togo (1976-78), to Malaysia (1981-83), and to Mauritius (1986-89) during a thirty-one-year career. Currently he is professor and diplomat in residence at the George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Selected List of Major Works Consulted

Ahmad, Zakaria Haji and Harold Crouch, eds., Military-Civilian Relations in Southeast Asia. (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1985).

Anderson, Benedict R. and Ruth McVey, A Preliminary Analysis of the October 1, 1965, Coup in Indonesia. (Cornell: Modern Indonesia Project, 1971).

Anderson, Benedict R., Imagined Communities. (London: Verso, 1991).

Crouch, Harold, The Army and Politics in Indonesia. ( Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988).

Gardner, Paul F., Shared Hopes; Shared Fears, Fifty years of U.S.- Indonesian Relations. (Boulder: West View, 1997).

Green, Marshall, Indonesia: Crisis and Transformation 1965-1968, (Washington, D. C: Compass Press, 1990).

Jackson, Karl D. and Lucian W. Pye, Political Power and Communications in Indonesia. (Berkeley: University of California, 1978).

Jones, Howard P., Indonesia The Possible Dream. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1971).

Jenkins, David, Suharto and His Generals. (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1984).

Legge, J.D., Sukarno: A Political Biography. (London: Seler and Vinwich, 1972)

Lebra, Joyce, Japanese-Trained Armies in SEA. (Hong Kong: Heinemann, 1977).

Leifer, Michael, Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia. (New York and London: Routledge, 1995).

Lowry, Robert, The Armed Forces of Indonesia. (St. Leonards, Australia: Allen and University, 1996).

May, Brian, The Indonesian Tragedy. (Singapore: Graham Brash, 1978).

McIntyre, Andrew, Business and Politics in Indonesia. (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1991).

Mount, Richard, Plots and Schemes That Brought Down Suharto. (Jakarta: Gateway Books, 1999).

Palmer, Ronald D., “1997-1998 — Southeast Asia’s Annus Horribilus,” in David Brown, ed., Special Report: Southeast Asia: One Year After the Outbreak of the Financial Crisis, and Policy Implications for the United States. (Washington, D.C.: Wilson Center, November 1998).

Palmier, Leslie, Indonesia and the Dutch. (London: Oxford University Press,1962).

Roeder, O.G., The Smiling General: President Soeharto of Indonesia, 2nd Ed. (Djakarta: Gunung Agung, 1970).

Soeharto, as told to G. Dwikayura and Ramindhan K.H., Soeharto: My Thoughts, Words, and Deeds. (Takarta: P.T Citra Lamtoro Gung Persado, 1991).

Schwartz, Adam, A Nation in Waiting. (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1996).

Schwartz, Adam and Jonathan Paris, The Politics of Post-Suharto Indonesia. (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1999).

Singh, Bilveer, ABRI and The Security of Southeast Asia: The Role and Thinking of General L. Benry Murdani. (Singapore: Singapore Institute of International Affairs, 1994).

—————, Dwifungsi ABRI: The Dual Function of the Indonesian Armed Forces, Origins, Actualization and Implications for Stability and Development. (Singapore, Singapore Institute of International Affairs, 1995).

—————, East Timor: Indonesia and the World: Myths and Realities. (Singapore: ISEAS, 1995).

Suryadinata, Leo., Pribumi Indonesians, the Chinese Minority and China, 3rd Ed. (Singapore: Heineman Asia, 1992).

—————, Interpreting Indonesian Politics. (Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1998).

Taylor, R. H., ed., The Politics of Southeast Asia. (Cambridge: Woodrow Wilson Press,1996).

Vatikiotis, Michael, Indonesian Politics and Suharto: Order, Investment and Pressure for Change. (London and New York: Routledge Press, rev. 1994).


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