Bridges Not Barriers February 2021 by Wayne Forrest I often hear the idea that during the past 4 years the US government, apart from its Navy, has not been as engaged with Indonesia or Southeast Asia as many would like. The message: China’s influence grows in the vacuum of a lack of US engagement.
Swing State November 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest The US election has been focused on swing states, key places where our two political parties contest for electoral votes every four years. Even more than it may have in the past, the US government now sees Indonesia as a swing state, important in our own
Omnibus Struggles October 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest Its hard to focus on economic topics during a pandemic that continues to grow and spread. But, it should not go unnoticed that the World Bank now predicts that the Indonesian economy will contract more than they had predicted only a few months ago and it
Labor Day 2020 September 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest With unemployment at record levels in both the US and Indonesia amidst an ongoing pandemic I've been reflecting on Indonesia's struggle to find meaningful employment for her growing population of 270 million. Of course, our two nations do not share Labor Day: Indonesia observes International
Remember America August 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest On the 17th of this month Indonesia celebrates the 75th anniversary of Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta's audacious declaration of independence from Dutch colonialism. With only a collection of militias and officers (some trained by the recently departed Japanese), an air force that consisted of one plane
Is Indonesia a COVID-19 Outlier? May 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest Reading the press must be troubling for Indonesian leaders. Many accounts describe an out-of-control virus, compromised healthcare system, and an impotent government reaction. Typical is this comment by a Carnegie Endowment scholar: "The government's disregard for data, reliance on military personnel for crisis
A Stronger Response Indonesia's President, Joko Widodo, joined the ranks of statesmen around the world who have grudgingly sharpened their response to the COVID-19 threat. Although the confirmed cases are still below 2,000, Indonesia has now become fully engaged in an effort to mitigate the effects of the pandemic based on recent grim projections.
Disruption Commentary by Wayne Forrest A popular Indonesian cartoon that has emerged since the onset of the coronavirus (COV-19) shows a series of boxes filled with various symptoms (severe cough, joint pain, runny nose, stomach ache, fever, headache, etc.) with lines all connecting to one containing the cause: masuk angin. Literally meaning the wind
Salvage Job by Wayne Forrest Building Indonesia’s new capital in East Kalimantan may turn out to be easier than preserving its current capital. However, the “capital” I mean is what has been invested in Indonesia’s state-owned insurance and pension system, not Jakarta, a city sinking due to ground water loss and climate change. Once
2019: A Year of Treading Water by Wayne Forrest Politics dominated 2019 as it was an election year characterized by a stormy Presidential campaign, violent demonstrations by supporters of the losing candidate (Prabowo), and a serene October inauguration. Economically, Indonesia tread water, reinforced its value-added and resource nationalism priorities, maintained its macro stability and