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Is Barbie Guilty ?

I will be visiting Indonesia next week and will likely be asked about President Trump's trade policy, articulated in his recent executive orders.  Will Indonesia, one of 16 countries under review with a large trade deficit, be penalized.  Is it really a trade "cheater" ?   The US runs a congenital deficit with Indonesia mostly [...]

Regret

There’s a lot of regret going around these days. Democrats, who lost a close election, no doubt regret they didn’t do more to convince Midwest rust belt voters worried about their future that they had a viable jobs plan. President Trump regrets he didn’t win the popular vote — although he seems to actually think [...]

Honking in the Free World

Commentary by Wayne Forrest Their signs read  “Om Telolet Om”.  It simply means, “sir, honk your horn, sir”.  Young girls and boys, especially in Jakarta, hold them up for passing bus drivers, hoping to prompt them to play their musical horns as they drive by.  It’s a fun, clean game with instant rewards, especially given [...]

Ahok, Trump, and The Way Forward

Commentary by Wayne Forrest Saying anything about a Trump Administration and its effect on US- Indonesia relations now could prove to be a fool’s enterprise, but this month’s commentary will take a shot, doing so by way of the controversy surrounding Basuki “Ahok” Purnama’s troubled bid to remain Jakarta’s governor. With the precedent set by [...]

By |December 2nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Two Years In

Two years into his 5 year term President Jokowi is exhibiting some of the qualities of former President Suharto. I say this not to compare them in any fundamental way - Jokowi is not an authoritarian-  but to illustrate the process by which each consolidated power in the early years after they became President. Jokowi [...]

Cabinet Rebalance 2.0- The Avoidance of Conflict

Commentary by Wayne Forrest The avoidance of conflict and embarrassment can be a strong dynamic in Javanese culture.  In the world of the shadow puppets (wayang), a balanced, steady state is the ideal. The arc of most wayang stories is from stability to a disturbance that yields a conflict to the restoration of order.   Politeness, [...]

By |August 12th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Changing Ambassadors

President Obama has nominated Joseph R. Donovan Jr. to be America's next Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia.  Hon. Robert Blake served his last full day as ambassador on Monday, July 18, and is heading back to United States and retiring from the foreign service. Donovan Bionotes: Joseph Donovan Jr. Joseph R. Donovan, Jr., [...]

By |July 19th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Strong Appointment

Tito Karnavian The prospect for deep reforms in Indonesia has always depended on how independent the outsider President Jokowi could be from the country’s sclerotic political party system. His supporters –who detect a masterly Javanese subtlety– have been waiting for a consolidation of his power after which they expect him to deliver on [...]

By |July 15th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Golkar Returns

For those familiar with Indonesian politics Golkar is the party synonymous with Indonesia’s economic development. More than a just a political party, Golkar was an amalgamation of various “functional groups” (military, government bureaucrats, farmer’s organizations, etc.) that implemented the New Order government’s economic agenda. Golkar was engineered to be a partner of the government and [...]

Nurhadi and the Rule of Law

Just as the Masela Block decision (main topic of last month’s commentary that described a sudden reversal of a decision to build an LNG facility on rather than offshore) spoke volumes to investors about stark divisions within the government over energy policy, the recent revelation by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) of graft within the [...]

By |May 17th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments