Major Operations (Forcible Entry) in Support of Indonesia
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration took small steps in 2018 to protect the rights of some of Indonesia’s most vulnerable people. In April, Jokowi announced that he would ban child marriage, but failed to provide a timetable for abolition. In August, the government moved eight Moluccan political prisoners more than 2,000 kilometers from a remote high-security prison in Nusa Kambangan to a prison much closer to their families.
Even though Indonesia provides strategic attributes for an IMOC, the maritime nation has several shortcomings moving forward. The most critical is a suitable infrastructure—specifically ports and roads. Last year the World Bank issued an Indonesia Development Policy Review and cited the specifics of the infrastructure gap. The report indicated that Indonesia’s “port capacity remains very limited” and “compares poorly with other developing Asian countries on trade logistics measures.” In addition, the report offered that Indonesia’s roads have faced a decade of under-investment, which has “contributed to serious capacity gaps, congestion problems and poor logistics performance.” The World Bank has projected $120 billion (U.S.) is required to improve Indonesian roads. President Jokowi seems to have the right vision to improve Indonesia’s poor infrastructure, but faces other hurdles in the coming years as well. He will have to narrow the skills gap in the labor market, improve the functioning of several public and private markets, fight the potential threat of international terrorism, thwart corruption, and maintain the support of approximately 220 million Muslims and numerous ethnic groups speaking more than 700 different languages. In addition he will need to answer his nation’s past history of human rights abuses. In 2014, Indonesia failed to report previous human rights violations to the United Nations and was questioned earlier this year about the nation’s commitment for resolving those issues. Regardless of Indonesia’s shortcomings, the nation is at a unique historical crossroads as a rising Asia Pacific nation. The United States has a difficult challenge to rebalance towards the Asia Pacific and monitor China’s maritime rise. More important, the nation has made a commitment to allies and partners that must be followed by actions or the potential loss of credibility will ensue. During his trip to Australia in 2011, President Obama commented, “So let there be no doubt: in the Asia Pacific in the 21st century, the United States of America is all in.” If the United States is “all in” in its rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific, the Navy with the assistance of Congress and the Obama administration should explore ways to do more as China further advances its interests and influence in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.
Although the TNI’s institutional culture developed in circumstances unique to Indonesia, its experience as a revolutionary guerrilla army that became a national military is certainly not a singular one (Budiardjo, Carmel, 1984). From wars of decolonization, to separatist movements, and civil wars and revolutions worldwide, wars of the weak against the strong continue to reshape nations around the globe. These wars tend to be brutal in the total violence inflicted by both sides, scarring the population and the combatants for decades. In many cases, these guerrilla armies for independence, often supported by outside powers, become national armies themselves. Sometimes, these new national armies of ex-guerrillas continue to be trained by the armies of foreign powers. History shows us that the ideals upon which many of these independence movements come to power can quickly be usurped by chaos and instability, and a return to internecine violence. But it also suggests that institutional culture can, in fact, be transmitted or at least influenced, by external organizations through deep or sustained contact. In the case of PETA, many of the IJA's values became the TNI's values. And in spite of the problematic characteristics of the TNI's institutional culture, the corollary point is that positive values can also be ingrained (Conboy, Kenneth J. Kopassus, 2003).
Finally, Indonesia is seen as a big brother of ASEAN because Indonesia has the largest economy in Southeast Asia as well as it has more 240 million people, so it has a potentially huge market. If you look at the past, you might see that Indonesia had a crucial role to help countries in Southeast Asia walk away from Communism. Indonesia is not only the significant player in establishing ASEAN, but also be a meditator in negotiation of Cambodia and Thailand conflict so that prevent clashes between members and maintain the relationships among the members of ASEAN. Not only now but also in the future, Indonesia will be the one who participate the most in ASEAN prosperity.
Budiardjo, Carmel, and Soei Liong Liem. The War Against East Timor. London; Totowa, N.J.: Zed Books ; US distributor, Biblio Distributor Center, 1984. Print.
Colombijn, Freek, and J. Thomas Lindblad, eds. Roots of Violence in Indonesia: Contemporary Violence in Historical Perspective. Leiden: KITLV, 2002. Print.
Conboy, Kenneth J. Kopassus: Inside Indonesia’s Special Forces. Jakarta: Equinox Publishing, 2003. Print.