Challenges for the Years Ahead: An Indonesian Perspective
Dewi Fortuna Anwar
ASEAN and Multilateral Approaches
The development of various forms of multilateral initiatives have been a major feature in the Asia Pacific region in the past decade. Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), established in 1989 to promote trade and economic cooperation, and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), formally established in 1994 as a forum for multilateral security dialogue, have brought countries on both sides of the Pacific Rim into much closer interaction with each other. Besides these formal organisations there are also several multilateral initiatives undertaken by scholars and other members of civil societies together with government officials in their private capacities, usually known as Track Two initiatives. All of these activities are aimed at promoting regional security and prosperity through the growth of greater understanding and interdependence among the participants, with the ultimate objective of creating an Asia Pacific community.
Although Asia Pacific wide regional cooperation is very much a post-Cold War phenomenon, in the Southeast Asian sub-region it has been well established since the founding of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in 1967. Here regional cooperation encompasses a wide range of issues including social, political and economic. Until 1992, however, security issues were excluded from the formal ASEAN agenda, deeming them too sensitive and, therefore, divisive. It was only in 1992, after the Cold War was over, that ASEAN decided to include security issues in its agenda by issuing a Joint Communique on the South China Sea. From then on, ASEAN has played a pro-active role in promoting multilateral dialogue on security for the whole Asia Pacific region, culminating in the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which grew out of the annual ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference (ASEAN-PMC) between the foreign ministers of ASEAN and its dialogue partners.
There are several reasons for ASEAN's new interests in promoting multilateral security dialogue in the form of the ARF, the first and so far the only one of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. The most important is clearly the need to build better trust and confidence among Asia Pacific states, given the post- Cold War uncertainty and the number of unresolved territorial disputes. An equally important reason is the need to engage and integrate China into the regional and international order. Thirdly, the ARF is also intended to keep the United States engaged in the Asia Pacific and maintain its crucial role as a regional balancer. It is also hoped that the multilateral dialogue will lead to the building of regional institutions which link the countries in a cobweb of interdependence, thereby making it more costly for them to engage in conflicts with each other. By taking the initiative in forming the ARF, ASEAN also ensured a central role for itself instead of simply having to follow the agenda set down by the bigger regional players.
The ASEAN countries, with Indonesia as the largest member, has had a number of success in employing multilateral approaches vis-a-vis third parties. ASEAN has been able to deploy its growing weight and international stature to advance both its collective interests and the interests of individual members in various international fora, such as the United Nations and the WTO as well as in negotiations with other regional groupings or countries. The effectiveness of this multilateral approaches has been a major factor for the members' continuing support for ASEAN even when other achievements have not always been wholly satisfactory. The ASEAN countries had also used their collective weight to take the lead in solving the Cambodian crisis from the Vietnamese invasion in December 1979 to the Paris Accord in 1991, which also involved several other parties, including the United Nations, China, Russia and France. On a more informal level Indonesia has been active in promoting dialogues on the management of conflict in the South China Sea which involves all of the claimants, Canada as the fund provider and other interested parties. Besides China and Taiwan the South China Sea is claimed in whole or in part by four ASEAN members, namely Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, while Indonesia is not a claimant. From these it can be seen that Indonesia and the other members of ASEAN are firm believers and supporters of multilateral approaches to solving various kinds of problems, particularly those involving third parties.
The ASEAN countries, however, have continued to avoid multilateral military cooperation at the level of ASEAN, preferring instead to engage in bilateral or at the most trilateral military exercises. This military exclusion from regional cooperation was partly because of the opposition of some non-aligned members to military alliances, and partly due to the fear that an ASEAN collective defence may provoke hostilities from some neighbouring countries, particularly during the Cold War period. The differences in the members’ security outlook, especially in the past, have also made it very difficult for ASEAN to develop a multilateral security or military arrangement at the regional level.
More importantly, however, it must be admitted that when it comes to problems within ASEAN, such as bilateral disputes between fellow members or problems coming from within the member states, there has been a general reluctance, if not resistance to using a multilateral regional approach. Although the 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia provides for the formation of an ASEAN High Council at ministerial level to settle disputes among members, such a council has so far never been invoked. Instead, in the territorial disputes between Indonesia and Malaysia, and between Malaysia and Singapore, the disputants have submitted their cases to the International Court of Justice in The Hague rather than utilising the ASEAN mechanism for conflict resolution. This is clearly a reflection of the lack of trusts that some of the members continue to have in the regional process. For instance, while Indonesia was willing to have its islands' dispute with Malaysia be settled through the ASEAN High Council, Malaysia preferred to let a more neutral outside authority, namely the International Court of Justice, to decide the issue. Malaysia apparently feared that the other members of ASEAN might gang up against it since it shares borders with several of them where problems also exist.
The reluctance to use a multilateral regional approach becomes even more obvious when it comes to problems emanating from within the ASEAN countries, or from within other countries outside ASEAN for that matter, particularly when the problems are political in nature. This is due to ASEAN’s strict adherence to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, the outcome of a strong sense of nationalism and the desire to protect their mostly newly acquired national independence and sovereignty. As far as the ASEAN countries are concerned, the only multilateral political or military intervention in the internal matters of a country that is acceptable is one that has received the authorisation of the United Nations and organised under the auspices of the United Nations. Most of the ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, have taken active parts in various UN peace-keeping missions in different parts of the world. External military interventions in the internal affairs of another country outside the UN framework, however, are generally regarded by the ASEAN countries including Indonesia as illegitimate and unacceptable.
Nevertheless, lately ASEAN has taken a much softer stance regarding the issue of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, recognising that in certain cases internal problems have direct impact on regional stability and welfare. Cases such as the forest fire in Indonesia, which covered the neighbouring countries in haze affecting health and air traffic, is regarded as a regional and transnational problem which warrants a multilateral regional approach. Political problems in Burma is also recognised as an impediment to ASEAN as a whole, particularly in its relations with western countries strongly opposed to the military regime there. Refugees and illegal migrants caused by political or economic crises in some member countries also cause problems to the neighbouring countries. To deal with these types of issues ASEAN has agreed to revise its strict non-interference principle by adopting the so-called flexible engagement and enhanced interaction approaches. These approaches, however, are still very hesitant and in general ASEAN as an institution as well as its individual members remain reluctant to comment, let alone to become involved in the internal affairs of the member countries or of other countries.
Current Security Thinking in Indonesia
In the past three decades Indonesia’s security outlook has mostly been inward looking, given the fact that most of the threats to national security come from within the country itself, such as in the form of regional rebellions, ideological conflicts and social unrest. This inward-looking security outlook is different from the earlier period when Indonesia was still fighting for its independence and completing the decolonisation process. During that earlier time Indonesia mostly focussed on external enemies, particularly the colonial and neo-colonial powers. From the establishment of the New Order government in 1966 to the present day, however, Indonesia’s conception of security has been much more comprehensive, encompassing almost all aspects of national lives such as social, political and economic besides defence and security. The purely military aspect of security which relates to the perception of external threats, while not unimportant, has been regarded as being of less immediate concerns.
This comprehensive security outlook is common among the ASEAN countries where most of the countries are still pre-occupied with the process of nation and state building. Indonesia in particular has faced continuous internal challenges from the moment of its independence. As a newly established modern state with a short history of an all Indonesian nationalism, forged from over 300 ethnic groups with distinct cultures and languages, and controlling different distinct territories, the Republic of Indonesia had faced and continues to face the threats of territorial disintegration from various separatist movements in the forms of insurgencies and armed rebellions. Indonesia's geography, consisting of over 17000 islands spread over a territory as wide as the US continent has made it even more difficult for the central government to manage the country, particularly because of the uneven spread of population and resources. Indonesia's economic backwardness has compounded the problems, for the lack of economic resources has severely curtailed the government's ability to satisfy the people's aspiration as well as limited the government's capacity to govern and secure the country effectively. Given all of these problems it is not surprising that Indonesia's security outlook has mostly been inward-looking and comprehensive, where economic development has been regarded as the most important component of security.
While the purely military aspect of security was not accorded the highest priority, however, the Suharto regime which was dominated by the military "securitised" almost every aspect of the Indonesian national lives. Arguing that the various facets of national lives in the comprehensive security spectrum were inextricably linked to each other, so that a weakness in one area can undermine all of the others, the military became involved in almost every aspect of public lives. Through the adoption of the dual-function (dwifungsi) doctrine the military throughout the New Order period (1966-1998) was not only a defence force, but also a social- political force. To ensure political stability, the military controlled both the executive and the legislative bodies by having a large number of reserved military seats in the parliament and People's Consultative Assembly as well as through numerous appointments to the government and the civilian bureaucracy, though in theory Indonesia remained a democracy with general elections held regularly every five years. The military also became involved in business activities, particularly in the state-owned enterprises. Equally important, the military was the dominant force in internal security while the police was integrated into the armed forces and remained relatively weak.
As the New Order government wanted to concentrate on overcoming Indonesia's internal problems, particularly on ensuring political stability and developing the economy which were seen as two sides of the same coin, Indonesia needed a peaceful and stable regional environment. Thus throughout the Suharto regime, despite the predominance of the military in the decision-making process, Indonesia emphasised regional cooperation particularly within the framework of ASEAN, and avoided the confrontational foreign policy style of the earlier period. Indonesia's defence spending remained relatively low, among the lowest in ASEAN, while regional cooperation mostly focussed on economic and political issues.
The onset of the financial crisis since July 1997, which in turn led to a multidimensional crisis in the economic, social, political and security fields producing riots, communal conflicts, large scale anti-government demonstrations and increased regional insurgencies clearly underline the comprehensive nature of Indonesian security and the interconnectedness of the various components. This multidimensional crisis finally forced President Suharto to resign in May 1998, after being in power for 32 years, and led to the collapse of the New Order political structure.
Yet while the security challenges remain essentially the same as before and the conception of security remains comprehensive, the Indonesian approach to internal security is now markedly different from the earlier period. It is now recognised that the basic weakness of the national institutions, be they social, political or economic has mostly been due to their overt "securitisation" through the control or penetration by the military. Therefore, the emphasis is now on establishing democratic institutions, good governance and a more equitable relations between the central government and the regions through regional autonomy and revenue sharing arrangements. The military's social-political role has been brought to an end, while its role in internal security has been greatly reduced with the separation of the police from the military. Internal security is to be the main responsibility of the police, while the military is responsible for defence against external threats.
As has been demonstrated by the increased incidents of violent conflicts, however, such as the mass killing of Madurese migrants by the indigenous Dayaks in Central Kalimantan, which went on unchecked for a week before the security forces did anything, it is quite clear that during this transition period the police simply does not have the capacity to enforce law and order, let alone ensure internal security effectively. Until the size and the capability of the police have been increased substantially, Indonesia will have little choice but to continue to rely on the military to help the police in internal security measures. It is clearly unrealistic to expect the police to be able to overcome armed rebellions or large-scale communal clashes, for the primary duty of the police is law enforcement. At this moment the Indonesian people are still searching for the ideal defence and security system which conforms to democratic principles, yet at the same time is capable of maintaining the country's national unity and integrity, as well as dealing with violent social and communal conflicts effectively.
The fragility of the Indonesian state in the face of the financial crisis, despite the fact that most of the economic development and security policy in the past three decades was mostly state-centric, has led many people in Indonesia to pay more attention to human security, broadening the focus of security from that of the state. A single-minded pursuit of state and regime security under the Suharto government, which often led to human rights abuses and the curtailment of the people’s civil and political liberties, has proven to be counter-productive to national security in the long term. As long as the government was able to deliver economic development popular resistance to the government remained mostly limited and sporadic, but as soon as the economic crisis hit Indonesia the New Order government lost its legitimacy and collapsed in the face of the open revolts of the populace. The loss of the legitimacy and credibility of the state apparatus has made it very difficult for the government to overcome social uprisings and communal conflicts. At the same time, long period of state repression and control has greatly undermined the autonomy of the extremely heterogenous Indonesian society, as well as destroyed the ability of the local communities to resolve their horizontal conflicts peacefully.
Neglect of human security in the past has, therefore, ironically greatly weakened the Indonesian state, so that a great deal of attention is now beginning to be paid to the strengthening of civil society, the rights of the regional communities and empowerment of the people as a whole, not just in the political and economic fields, but also in the cultural fields. New attention is now being paid to the national motto of Unity in Diversity which is seen as an important strategy for keeping Indonesia united. Throughout the New Order period this national motto was pushed aside in favour of uniformity and regimentation in almost all aspects of social and political lives. Human security is, therefore, not seen as challenge to state security, but rather as an extremely important prerequisite for state security. At the same time, without a stable and functioning state human security is also jeopardised as the state is unable to deal with various incidents of communal and social violence speedily and effectively.
Indonesia's approach towards the neighbouring countries, however, has remained basically unchanged. With the country's current weakness and dependence on external economic support, Indonesia has to ensure that its regional environment remains conducive and friendly towards Indonesian interests. Indonesia is particularly concerned about the danger of external support for the regional rebels in Aceh and Irian Jaya, or foreign involvement in the various communal conflicts which may exacerbate the conflicts further. To prevent such happenings the Indonesian government has, therefore, continued to emphasise the importance of regional and international cooperation and to seek the support of the regional and international community for Indonesia’s territorial integrity and national unity.
Although the military is now oriented towards external defence rather than internal security, the current economic crisis has made it extremely difficult for Indonesia to allocate the necessary resources to make the military into a truly professional defence force. Building a conventional military defence capability, therefore, will likely remain a low priority for Indonesia for many years to come. Diplomacy remains the most important tool in Indonesia’s relations with the neighbouring countries.
Indonesia and Multilateral Initiatives
As mentioned earlier Indonesia, like the many of the other ASEAN countries, have long been a supporter of multilateral initiatives, particularly within the Southeast Asian region, but lately also in the wider Asia Pacific region. The characteristics of multilateral initiatives that Indonesia is likely to support are as follow. First, these multilateral initiatives are mostly diplomatic in nature, designed to promote confidence building measures, preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution. Second, they do not constitute interference in the internal affairs of another country unless with the specific consent of the country concerned. Third, the issues they deal are of regional importance, particularly if they affect regional stability as a whole. Fourth, the approach is deliberative and consensual rather than confrontational or legalistic. Fifth, any multilateral initiatives that involves the sending of security forces to another country must have the authorisation of the United Nations and organised under the UN auspices.
As already mentioned before, ASEAN played an active role in the settlement of the long drawn out Cambodia conflict between 1980-1991. Indonesia, in particular, took the initiative to bring the warring Cambodian factions to meet informally, first through the so-called “cocktail parties”, and later in the form of the “Jakarta Informal Meetings”. Once the Paris Agreement was signed in 1991 Indonesia also sent a peace-keeping mission to Cambodia as part of the UN contingent to maintain peace and helped the country prepare for the election of a new government. Indonesia was also instrumental in the peace talks between the Philippines government and the Muslim Moro rebels in Southern Philippines, which also involved the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). The Filipino government asked for Indonesia to act as a mediator not only because of the close bilateral relations between the two countries, but also because of the fact that Indonesia is the largest Muslim country and a leading member of the OIC whom the Moros could trust.
The South China Sea dispute is a major concern for Indonesia and the ASEAN countries as a whole because of the number of claimants and the involvement of China. Although Indonesia is not a claimant, any conflict in the South China Sea will directly affect Indonesia because of its proximity to the Indonesian island of Natuna, the location of a major natural gas production. The ASEAN countries wish to resolve the South China conflict through formal multilateral talks, but such initiatives have consistently been rejected by China. In 1992 ASEAN had issued a Joint Communique on the South China Sea which called on all of the disputants to refrain from using force to settle the conflict, and since then ASEAN has tried to persuade China to accept an ASEAN Code of Conduct for the South China Sea which emphasises the commitment of all concerns to abandon the threat and use of force. At the same time Indonesia has initiated a series of informal workshops on the management of conflict in the South China Sea. The workshops do not try to deal with the sovereignty issue, since such a thing would have been unacceptable to China which claims sovereignty of the whole area. Instead, the Indonesian initiative is mostly aimed at defusing potential conflicts by identifying common interests and creating joint projects which can benefit all of the parties to the dispute.
All of the multilateral initiatives on the South China Sea so far can be termed as confidence building measures and preventive diplomacy. Attempts at conflict resolution so far have failed because of the intractability of the sovereignty issue and the unwillingness of China even to talk about it. It is important to note that while the ASEAN claimants have preferred to deal with the South China Sea dispute multilaterally, China has mostly tried to negotiate with each different claimant bilaterally where China would always be the dominant party.
As mentioned earlier, while the ASEAN countries are enthusiastic supporters of multilateral initiatives when dealing with third parties, so far there has been a general reluctance to apply similar approaches to intra-ASEAN problems, particularly when they concern the domestic affairs of member countries. ASEAN and Indonesian initiatives on Cambodia were carried out before the latter became a member of ASEAN. Nevertheless, in the past years there has been some important changes taking place in ASEAN, mostly brought about by political changes in a number of the ASEAN countries, notably Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. The democratisation taking place in Thailand and the Philippines have made these two countries more willing to criticise the shortcomings of their fellow ASEAN members openly, undoubtedly an outcome of their greater freedom of expressions. Thailand, in particular, had called on ASEAN to carry out "constructive intervention" towards Burma in an effort to improve the political and human rights conditions in that country. While most of the ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, have shied away from "constructive intervention", there is now an agreement to adopt the so-called "flexible engagement" and "enhanced-interaction" approaches. In contrast to the policy adopted by western countries, the ASEAN multilateral initiative on Burma emphasises persuasion rather than sanction.
Indonesia has also become much less sensitive about "foreign intervention" up to a certain point in the past couple of years. Throughout the New Order period the only foreign intervention tolerated by the government was in the economic field. In fact, multilateral efforts played a crucial role in bailing out the Indonesia economy in the 1960s and in assisting Indonesia's economic development till the present day. The Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI), a consortium of donor countries chaired by the Netherlands, later replaced by the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI) chaired by the World Bank, has continued to be the major source of external funding for Indonesia's economic development. The New Order government, however, would not tolerate any external involvement outside the economic field.
With the onset of the economic crisis Indonesia has become even more dependent on multilateral efforts for its currency stability and economic recovery. The Indonesia government has turned to the International Monetary Fund and other international agencies, particularly the World Bank, to rescue it from economic collapse and help the country in the difficult restructuring process. More significantly, the newly democratising Indonesia has also invited international multilateral participation in the country's political and governance reform. In 1999 President B.J. Habibie requested several foreign governments and institutions to assist in the preparations of Indonesia's first democratic general elections since 1955, such as by providing in-puts for new electoral laws, giving financial assistance, as well as helping with the technical arrangements of the elections, including monitoring the voting and the counting afterwards. All of these international assistance and participation were coordinated by the UNDP. Now a similar multilateral effort is also being coordinated by the UNDP to assist Indonesia in its governance reform through a project called "Partnership for Governance Reform", which among others involve the World Bank, the United States, the European Union and its individual members. The governance reform programmes cover a wide area, including civil service reform for both the central and regional governments, strengthening civil society institutions as well as helping to build and improve the capacity of democratic institutions as a whole. Indonesia has also sought assistance from various developed countries to help in the reform of the police force and the military.
Indonesia, however, continues to balk at any suggestions of external intervention in the area of security. Despite the fact that Indonesia has always taken an active role in various UN peace-keeping missions, sending troops to such places as the Sinai, Bosnia and Cambodia, the Indonesian government and the majority of the people remain totally opposed to any such missions coming to Indonesia's trouble spots. The Indonesian government refused to accept the presence of a UN force in East Timor before the ballot, though the ballot was carried out by the UN at Indonesia's own request, and later only accepted the multinational forces to end the violence in East Timor due to heavy international pressure, and the fact that East Timor was no longer going to be part of Indonesia any way.
Indonesia will not allow the internationalisation of its domestic problems, such as the separatist movements in Aceh and Irian or the communal conflicts in Maluku and Central Kalimantan, and will certainly refuse to accept multilateral initiatives on these matters. Because of this it is very unlikely that ASEAN will take up these issues. This refusal is caused by a strong sense of nationalism, the attachment to the principle of sovereignty, and the national belief that Indonesia is a major country which can and must solve its own security problems. The presence of foreign troops on Indonesian soil is regarded by most Indonesians as anathema, a reflection of the bitter reaction to colonialism. That is also why the Indonesian government has not entered any military alliances and will not allow any foreign military bases on Indonesian territory.
Because of its own current internal problems Indonesia would now be reluctant to take the initiative in solving the problems of others, not only because the Indonesian government needs to focus its attention internally, but also because an Indonesian initiative might not at this juncture be appropriate. If the needs arise, however, Indonesia is likely to be willing to take part in any multilateral initiatives that advances the cause of regional and global peace, particularly within its immediate neighbourhood. The disputes between India and Pakistan is cited as a hypothetical case which may warrant a multilateral initiative to advance CBM, preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution. If the two long-term enemies were ever to agree to a negotiated settlement and the involvement of outside parties to the process, Indonesia is well-placed to play a good office role as it has very close relations with both India and Pakistan, with the former as co-founders of the non-aligned movement and with the latter as fellow members of the Organisation of Islamic Conference. Multilateral efforts to bring peace in the Korean Peninsula are also of interest to Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the very few countries in the world that has diplomatic relations with both Seoul and Pyongyang. In both of the above cases, the India-Pakistan disputes and the Korean Peninsula issue, an Indonesian role would mostly be confined to diplomatic efforts, where Indonesia can act as an honest broker and provide facilities for talks in a neutral territory.
Where multilateral efforts can be carried out without encountering too much nationalist sensitivity or security paranoia is in dealing with natural disasters, such as earthquake, flood, typhoon and draught. Since the multilateral assistance offered will be in the nature of humanitarian relief, most countries affected by the disaster will usually be grateful for any help they can get. As Indonesia's own resources are still limited it cannot take the lead in these kinds of multilateral initiatives, but the country usually contributes to the best of its ability to the international efforts, such as by sending medical volunteers, food and clothes. Once the situation in Indonesia improves it is certainly expected to play a more pro-active role in helping other countries cope with national disasters through both regional and international efforts.
Piracy is a major security concern for Indonesia, since the highest incidence of pirate attacks in the world take place in Indonesian waters bordering with Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Piracy is not just a menace to shipping, but also to the litoral states as the seas around these areas are very narrow. Pirates have sometimes attacked oil tankers, tying up their crew and allowing the tankers to drift, endangering other ships and when the oil spills it pollutes the coastal areas. In the efforts to fight piracy as well as smuggling Indonesia has carried out joint patrols with the affected neighbouring countries. Since ASEAN does not carry out a region-wide military cooperation, however, these joint efforts are mostly bilateral, such as Indonesia and Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as Indonesia and the Philippines. Indonesia, in fact, carries out bilateral military exercises with all of the original members of ASEAN. In ensuring the safety of the Straits of Malacca, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore carry out a trilateral naval cooperation.
It is unlikely, however, that Indonesia or the other ASEAN countries would welcome the participation of outside parties in their territorial waters to fight against piracy. This is due to the establishment of ASEAN as a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) where the member states have the primary responsibility for the security and stability of their region. Indonesia would not want to open the door for external military involvements in its territorial waters, even to fight piracy. The suggestion that Japan might extend its naval patrol to 1000 nautical miles to the South to help secure the sea lanes, as was once requested by the United States, caused almost an uproar in Southeast Asia, where the prospect of a militarised Japan remains a spectre. The presence of the Chinese navy in Indonesia's territorial waters to chase pirates will also be equally unwelcome. Real multilateral efforts to fight piracy can only take place in international waters.
Lately, however, there has been a growing interest in Indonesia to develop some kind of security cooperation for the whole of ASEAN, which means relaxing the country's opposition to formal military arrangements with other countries. Indonesia's "Framework for Security Agreement" with Australia, signed in 1995 and revoke in 1999 because of a bilateral fallout after the East Timor crisis, was in fact regarded by many as an abandonment of Indonesia's free and active foreign policy. The interests in establishing an ASEAN-wide cooperation is primarily aimed at fostering even closer relations between the ASEAN countries and preventing the development of an arms race among the ASEAN members when their economies allow them to increase their defence spending. ASEAN security cooperation could also enhance the region's collective defence capability and make the members less dependent on external powers.
The desire to have some kind of an ASEAN security arrangement became more apparent during the post-ballot crisis in East Timor. When it became obvious that Indonesia had no choice but to accept an international peace-keeping force, the Indonesia government made it clear that it would have preferred the troops largely to come from the ASEAN countries and led by an ASEAN national, though the mandate still had to come from the United Nations. The presence of a large Australian contingent and Australian-leadership of the multinational forces produced a nationalistic backlash against Australia in Indonesia which severely strained the bilateral relations between Jakarta and Canberra.
While any peace-keeping mission must have the authorisation of the United Nations, there is a strong interest in Indonesia to see the development of an ASEAN peace-keeping ability which can take the lead in peace-keeping duties within the region under the auspices of the United Nations when the needs arise. Closer ASEAN security cooperation would also make it easier for ASEAN forces to cooperate in regional search and rescue missions. These latter activities can eventually be carried out within the wider ASEAN Regional Forum framework.
Indonesia and the other ASEAN countries have committed to make Southeast Asia a nuclear weapon free zone. A treaty to that effect was signed by all ten Southeast Asian countries in December 1997. ASEAN wishes all of the countries possessing nuclear weapons to sign a Protocol to the treaty, affirming their commitment to respect Southeast Asia as a nuclear-weapon free zone. Indonesia has joined other members of the United Nations in the campaign for a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban and strongly opposes nuclear proliferation. Indonesia will certainly not be a party to any multilateral efforts to develop Theater Missile Defence.
From the preceding discussion it can be seen that on the whole Indonesia is a strong supporter of multilateral initiatives, particularly when they do not involve the military. Indonesia is not opposed to the participation of its military in multilateral peace keeping missions as long as they are authorised by the United Nations and organised under the UN auspices. Indonesia has taken a number of initiatives to promote CBM and resolve regional conflicts, such as on Cambodia and the South China Sea, and is a firm supporter of multilateral dialogues to promote peace and security in the region. There is also some interest in Indonesia to develop an ASEAN wide security cooperation and foster a regional peace keeping ability which can assist the United Nations in its peace-keeping missions within the region if the needs arise.
With the country's democratisation process, Indonesia has become much more open towards multilateral involvement in some of its internal affairs, such as in helping with economic restructuring, political and governance reform. Indonesia, however, will not tolerate the internationalisation of its internal conflicts and will be unlikely to welcome multilateral initiatives in dealing with the regional rebellions and communal clashes. Indonesia also rejects any external involvement in its domestic political affairs, such as in resolving the current political instability surrounding the government of President Abdurrahman Wahid.
While fully supportive of multilateral initiatives, therefore, Indonesia believes that such initiatives must continue to pay due respect to the basic principles of sovereignty and non-interference in each other's the internal affairs which are enshrined in the UN Charter and form the basis of ASEAN cooperation. Indonesia's stance is very similar to the position adopted by the other ASEAN countries. Nevertheless, as Indonesia democratises and accepts that human rights are universal values, there is a growing recognition that gross violations of human rights will be regarded as international crimes and can attract international attention. There are, therefore, increasing domestic pressures on the Indonesian government to stop human rights abuses by the state apparatus, and to deal with communal clashes effectively so that the government will not be accused of committing crimes against humanity through its failure to stop the violence, which has resulted in many deaths and huge numbers of internally displaced people in the past couple of years. Nevertheless, if the Indonesian government fails to end the violence and consequently the international community under the United Nations were to feel the need to intervene, it would be a major blow to the Indonesian national pride and would be regarded as a national tragedy by most Indonesians, with probably very serious consequences for the government and the state as a whole.
 Paper presented at the annual Pacific Symposium co-sponsored by the United States Pacific Command and the Asia-Pacific Center for Strategic Studies. Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu. March 26-28, 2001.
 Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar is Research Professor at the Center for Political and Regional Studies, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (PPW-LIPI) and Associate Director for Research at The Habibie Center in Jakarta.