When the early alarms were sounded, the Indonesian government dismissed them as hysteria. Now, as government officials are being infected, the government is acting in a hurry. The beacons were lit. But, nobody cared.Continue reading “The beacons were lit, but nobody cared: Covid-19 and the Indonesian response”
The year 2020 kicked off with a major bang. The United States assassinated General Soleimani, bringing the two countries closer to the brink of war. In the Southern hemisphere, Australia’s bush fires continue to blaze and Jakarta experienced its worst flood in decades. At sea, however, is where tensions are more evident, particularly between Indonesia and China.
Since 19 December 2019, 65 Chinese fishing vessels have trespassed into Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone off the Natuna islands. The Natunas are located just outside of China’s Nine-Dash Line (9DL for short). Though Indonesia is not an official claimant in the South China Sea dispute, the Natunas EEZ proximity with the 9DL makes it easy for Chinese fishing and Coast Guard vessels to trespass.
This is not the first time Chinese vessels have encroached Indonesia’s EEZ. Three similar incidents occurred in 2016 in March, May, and June respectively. The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged a formal diplomatic note in response to the March incident. The June incident involved hot pursuit and warning shots by the Indonesian Navy, which prompted a stern response from China.Continue reading “The recent Natuna standoff and Indonesian responses”
What can we expect from Indonesia in Jokowi’s second term? In this post, I summarize President Jokowi’s inauguration speech and try to analyse what Indonesia’s foreign policy in the future would look like.Continue reading “Jokowi’s Second Term: More Domestic than International”
This is a rejected commentary piece, which I thought would be better posted here than being forgotten on my hard drive.
Recent achievements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in the Caribbean include the recent establishment of diplomatic relations with Barbados and the first full-fledged diplomatic visit to Suriname after 26 years in 2019. Looking from the MOFA’s performance report in 2018, the Caribbean seems to have gained renewed attention having been absent from foreign policy discourse since the Yudhoyono administration.Continue reading “Sketching out Jokowi’s Caribbean economic strategy”
I was going through my files and found this particular piece, from around 2 years ago, sitting in a metaphorical corner. The piece was requested by one of the editors of my department’s student magazines (they have this column where profs are invited to write), but as far as I know, it never made to print. So, instead of letting it sit, I might as well upload it here. I haven’t made any adjustments; everything is presented as it was the moment I sent it off to the editor. As this was intended for an undergraduate audience in a magazine, the language has been adjusted as such.
What does the future hold?
That question is the very reason why analysts and researchers remain employed and relevant. But it is not the easiest question to answer. Nobody knows what the future holds; we can only make educated guesses. So, I would recommend against thinking of my following commentary as a definitive answer. Rather, think of it as a guide to think in this increasingly perplexing world, particularly on the issue of war, peace, and international relations.
Technological acceleration will continue to be the defining feature of future international relations, along with a rise in populism as a counter-narrative to globalism. In war, technology will continue to play a dominant role as unmanned technologies become more advanced. But this doesn’t mean we will be living in a Terminator scenario. In peace, the future will only bring about newer problems that require new ways of thinking. With this in mind, what does the future hold?Continue reading “The Future of War, Peace, and International Relations”
A revised version of this commentary has been published in The Jakarta Post, 22 June 2019. For citation purposes, please refer to the published version. This is a pre-submission final draft and should not be cited.
If Indonesia wishes to make any meaningful strides in advancing its Indo-Pacific Cooperation Concept, Jokowi would need to focus on engaging ASEAN leaders instead of focusing more on domestic policy.Continue reading “In the Indo-Pacific, Jokowi needs to be more assertive and engaged”
In light of the recent 22 May riots in Jakarta, the Ministry for Communication and Information (KOMINFO) enacted a “soft ban” on social media and messaging applications. Instagram and Facebook were blocked (surprisingly, Twitter was left alone), while WhatsApp users could not share images or documents (but could still receive and send text messages). The three-day ban was a preventive response to potential misinformation surrounding the Jakarta riots. However, despite the ban, as much as 30 pieces of fake news still fell through the cracks. The ban was also easily circumvented using VPN services. The ban has been criticized left and right on grounds of infringement of civil liberties.Continue reading “No easy way in the battle against misinformation”
The military needs to loosen their grasp on information so everyone is on the same page in the national security debate.
The Jakarta Post ran the following headline, “Indonesian Air Force to fly jet fighters to wake people for ‘sahur’”. This isn’t the first time JP has ran such a loaded headline, but this particular one is amusing as it ignited a short scuffle on Twitter between a national security academic and the official Twitter account of the Indonesian Armed Forces.Continue reading “Fostering a healthier national security debate in Indonesia”
The first Presidential Debate was concluded on 17 January 2019. In the debate, centering on issues of human rights, corruption, law enforcement, and terrorism, both parties did not perform satisfyingly, but Joko Widodo could be said to have won by a slight margin.
In this post, I’ll do a thematic blow-by-blow of the debate with added commentary.Continue reading “The first Indonesian Presidential Debate of 2019: a review”