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Reforming Indonesia's foreign ministry: ideas, organization and leadership.

The domestic context in which Indonesia's foreign policy is framed has been transformed since reformasL A conscious attempt has been made by policy-makers to change its ideational basis, internalizing values such as democracy, good governance and human rights. This can be seen most clearly in Indonesia's promotion of a strategic democratization agenda within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). At the same time, and as a result of democratization, institutional power has shifted from the military to the civilian bureaucracy. Foreign policy-making in Indonesia is now more complex than it was during President Soeharto's authoritarian New Order (1965-98): it has become more deliberative and consultative, and is now subject to the contestations of new and recently-unbridled actors including the legislature (DPR), media, public opinion, civil society organizations and business groups.

Scholars have explored many aspects of these changes. Much of the literature concentrates on the role of the DPR as a foreign policy actor, and the implications of its enhanced powers for executive accountability, political legitimacy and for Indonesia's external relations more broadly. (1) The impact of democratization on the process of regional integration is another key focal point in the scholarship. Through Indonesia's engagement with ASEAN, the literature explores the interplay between democratic norms with more enduring ideational aspects of the country's foreign policy, to demonstrate how "European ideational imports" have been localized within extant "foreign policy doctrine and practices". (2) Scholars such as Lee Jones and Rizal Sukma focus on domestic politics as a constraining factor on Indonesia's "democratic" foreign policy, as indeed much of the literature does, to varying degrees. For Jones, the underlying socio-economic power structures in Indonesia, and in Southeast Asia more broadly, are largely "unfavourable to liberal or participatory policy-making", despite the presence of democratic institutions. (3) Sukma argues that domestic weakness exerts a powerful constraining influence on Indonesia's foreign policy. Although he does not preclude the influence of external factors, he argues that Indonesia is engaged in rhetorical democracy projection rather than actual promotion, based partly on Indonesia's internal challenges. (4)

With the exception of Sukma and Anwar, scholars have paid scant attention to the foreign ministry, and the foreign minister, as key agents of change. This article seeks to fill that gap. It highlights the role of the foreign policy bureaucracy in driving important conceptual innovations and practical reforms, and examines the role played by individual foreign ministers in the reformasi and post-reformasi periods, especially Hassan Wirajuda. It argues that the role of the foreign ministry is crucial because it has transformed itself into an entrepreneur of new ideas and foreign policy practices. By focussing on changes to foreign policy under Wirajuda, the article demonstrates how the foreign ministry was the architect of many of the key changes in Indonesia's post-Soeharto foreign policy.

The article is organized into three key sections. The first section explores the impact of the military's political ascendancy after 1965 on the foreign ministry. It identifies the loci of institutional and individual foreign policy influence during the New Order period in order to provide context for subsequent changes in the reformasi period. The second section examines how Indonesia's political liberalization enabled greater agency by civilian, reformist-minded bureaucrats to shape a new foreign policy agenda and reform the organizational machinery underpinning it. It seeks to demonstrate how changes to the institutional and ideational basis of foreign policy were fundamentally an effect of changes in civil-military relations, resulting from the democratization process. The third section attempts to evaluate the efficacy of legal, bureaucratic and ideational changes on foreign policy-making. It measures their effect on the performance of the foreign ministry and carriage of the country's diplomacy more broadly.

"Purification and Cleansing"

To understand the impact of democratization, one must first appreciate the immediate and long term effects of the Indonesian armed forces' (Angkatan Bersenjata Republic Indonesia, or ABRI) political ascendancy over the foreign policy bureaucracy, and the impact this had on the broader ideational framework of the country's foreign policy. Against a backdrop of fear and political uncertainty, military authorities, led by Major-General Suharto, progressively took control of the government apparatus following an alleged coup attempt by the Communist Party of Indonesia and pro-Sukarno military officers on 30 September 1965. (5) By early 1966, backed by a series of presidential decrees and legislative bills, military authorities embarked on a process of "purifying and cleansing" the government bureaucracy. (6) The foreign ministry, known then as the Department of Foreign Affairs (Deplu), had been widely viewed as the ideological fulcrum of the country's revolutionary foreign policy under Foreign Minister Subandrio, and was thus targeted for pervasive intervention by ABRI's leaders. (7)

In April 1966, through a foreign ministerial decree, a Team for Restoring Order (Tim Penertib) was established within Deplu, which evolved into the Special Executive Foreign Affairs (Laksus Luar Negeri). Although the Laksus was chaired nominally by the Foreign Minister, within Deplu however, the Laksus unit was headed by an army Brigadier-General--with a Lieutenant-Colonel as his deputy--who reported directly to the commander of the Restoration of Security and Public Order Command (Pangkopkamtib). (8) The Laksus was tasked specifically with "countering guerrilla politics associated with the 30 September coup movement and their sympathisers abroad". (9) In addition, Laksus personnel were posted at Indonesia's overseas diplomatic missions, where they oversaw the "mental development" (pembinaan mental) of overseas Indonesian students and the screening of staff so as to "remove extremist and subversive elements". (10) Such intrusive measures by military authorities translated into a "confusing and frightening" time for Deplu staff. (11) In the aftermath of the abortive coup, the foreign ministry and the state intelligence agency, the Badan Pusat Intelijen (BPI) both led by Subandrio were targeted for protests and physical attacks by anti-communist student organizations. (12)

By 1970 six military officers were imbedded within the foreign ministry, and although civilians remained numerically preponderant within Deplu, three out of six Director-General positions were held by military officers. (13) As Leo Suryadinata has noted: "It was the creation of these two new entities, which first institutionalized the role of the military in the foreign ministry. (14) Following purges at the foreign ministry in 1966, it became the norm for a number of the top positions within Deplu, such as the Secretary-General and Inspector-General positions (responsible for operational and support functions respectively), to be held by generals. In addition, military officers also filled the positions of Director-General for the Directorate-General for Safeguarding Foreign Relations and the Director for the Asia-Pacific regional desk. (15) The institutionalization of the military within the foreign ministry meant, in effect, that certain positions were reserved for ABRI officers, under the system of kekaryaan whereby active military officers held civilian positions throughout the Indonesian bureaucracy. ABRI's "dual function" (dwifungsi) became the legal and ideological rationale for the military's political hegemony and institutionalization from 1966. But the loci of foreign policy influence lay not so much in these ABRI officers embedded in Deplu, but in the military's broader dominance over state policy, a fact recognized in the relatively sparse literature on the foreign ministry during the New Order. (16)

Despite the military's takeover of government, civilian foreign ministers and senior diplomats remained key actors in the practical formulation and implementation of foreign policy. In the months following the coup attempt, senior ABRI officers had recognized the importance of retaining a civilian figure as a "public interlocutor with the outside world", as Michael Leifer observed in his classic study of Indonesian foreign policy. (17) Appointed as foreign minister by Soeharto in 1966, charismatic former journalist Adam Malik in fact proved somewhat of a counter-balance to the military's hegemony over foreign policy, disagreeing with ABRI, for instance, on Indonesia's approach to China and Vietnam. (18)

Although responsibility for the practical conduct of Indonesia's foreign relations remained with the foreign ministry, on occasion senior military officers took the lead on sensitive policy issues--usually those pertaining to sovereignty and territorial issues--and dictated the ideological parameters of foreign policy, subject to presidential assent. Such ideological parameters were defined by the military's vehement anti-communism and rapprochement with Western powers in support of regional stability and economic growth. In the latter endeavour, ABRI generals turned to the advice of an influential group of technocrats, who were mainly US-trained economists, referred to as the "Berkeley Mafia". (19) The New Order maintained Indonesia's "independent and active" (bebas-aktif) foreign policy doctrine as a key continuity with the Old Order, but increasingly turned to Western countries such as the United States and Australia for military training and assistance.

Despite the retention of civilian foreign ministers and a civilian-dominated ministry in numerical terms, Soeharto (formally appointed president in 1968) increasingly began to use military officers as diplomatic emissaries and in strategic or "DI" ambassadorial posts. (20) Ambassadorial appointments were, moreover, a convenient means by which Soeharto could remove officers critical of the regime and sideline potential rivals. (21) Posted military officers effectively became an extension of Jakarta's powerful military-security (Hankam) apparatus and as such, monitored the activities of their civilian foreign ministry colleagues. The military's autonomy in Indonesia's missions was further facilitated by independent communications systems, with a direct chain of command back to military headquarters.

The president's prerogative over foreign policy remained a key continuity between the New and Old Order regimes, albeit manifested in significantly different policy approaches. Scholars who examined the loci of foreign policy influence under the New Order placed Soeharto at the apex of the country's domestic and foreign policy decision making, noting his direct role in foreign affairs increased in the latter stages of his presidency. (22) Soeharto presided over a cohort of powerful individuals, mainly army officers who had previously served under his command and who were influential in shaping the New Order's foreign policy. These influential officers were known as "SPRI" (Staf Pribadi, Personal Staff), and included men such as Major-General Soejono Humardhani, Soeharto's advisor for economic affairs, the former SPRI political affairs, Brigadier-General All Murtopo, the former ABRI Commander General Benny Murdani, and powerful former State Secretaries LieutenantGeneral Sudharmono and Moerdiono. (23) In a government apparatus dominated by the military, the importance of proximity to the centre of power, i.e. President Soeharto himself, and the influence of martial loyalties and informal influence, ensured that the military often prevailed over their civilian counterparts in the foreign ministry, particularly when there were divergences of opinion over foreign policy issues.

Soeharto's reliance on a highly personalized mechanism of governance where authority lay not in formal institutional roles but in informal influence and proximity to power would continue throughout the New Order period, albeit with different actors. However, in the early 1980s, as Soeharto augmented his authority, he became less reliant on the military apparatus to govern and more reliant on technocratic and bureaucratic expertise. (24) Despite a tendency to see foreign policy influence in New Order Indonesia in terms of a civil-military power dichotomy, the foreign policy authority of the State Secretary (Mensesneg), responsible for coordinating with cabinet ministers on behalf of the president, increased at the expense of both Deplu and Hankam during the 1980s. (25)

Although State Secretaries Sudharmono and Moerdiono were retired military officers, and therefore technically civilians, their increasing influence over foreign policy decision-making during their tenures in the 1980s and 1990s should not be understood as an empowerment of civilian authority over foreign affairs. These former military men were fundamentally a product of their historical experience and, more pertinently, the architects of the New Order's historiography which imbued the military with a privileged position in the nation's birth and salvation from both colonialism and communism. (26) This does not imply, of course, that Soeharto always agreed with senior ABRI officers on foreign policy issues and, in fact, there were several instances where he opposed the wishes of the military command, most notably over relations with China. Yet Soeharto and his cohort of trusted army officers brought a fundamentally conservative, security-oriented approach not just to foreign policy, but to nation-building more generally. "Once an ABRI man, always an ABRI man", as one former general characterized the blurred distinction between serving and retired military officers during the New Order. (27)

By the 1990s, however, the successes of the New Order had begun to bring about its political demise. This was, in part, due to a growing middle class constituency keen for political liberalization and increasing domestic and international opposition to the New Order's cronyism, corruption and political repression. Defending the indefensible was an increasingly bitter pill to swallow for highly-regarded Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, and senior foreign ministry officials on the defensive against serious human rights violations in the provinces of East Timor, Aceh and Papua. (28) Moreover, the educational backgrounds of Indonesia's senior civilian diplomats, many of them with international law qualifications, predisposed them to international legal and human rights norms, in contrast with their ABRI counterparts. (29)

Although the military's political ascendancy had had a positive impact on Indonesia's external relations when contrasted with the belligerent policies of the Sukarno years (exemplified by Konfrontasi with Malaysia), external factors precipitated by the end of the Cold War combined with internal developments placed Indonesia's human rights record under external scrutiny, especially from the Soeharto regime's long-time partner the United States. With the onset of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Indonesia's foreign ministry and the country's international credibility more broadly was being held hostage to a discredited authoritarian regime that was rapidly losing its domestic as well as its international legitimacy. The lack of civilian authority over the direction and control of the New Order's foreign policy had meant that Indonesia under a military-backed regime was increasingly out-of-step with international norms on democratic governance and human rights.

At the end of the 1990s, fundamental changes to the bureaucratic and ideational basis of the country's foreign policy, already in the consciousness of Indonesia's foreign minister and senior bureaucrats, remained constrained by stagnation in the country's domestic power structures. The diplomatic respect Indonesia garnered in its leadership of Southeast Asian regionalism during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s was undermined domestically by the military's heavy-handed response to internal dissent.



Between 1997 and 1998, faced with a plummeting currency, insolvency and haemorrhaging business and investor confidence, Indonesia plunged into its third major political transition since independence. As the Asian financial crisis evolved into a deeper political and security crisis, the legitimacy of President Soeharto's thirty-two-year authoritarian, military-backed regime, predicated on "development for stability", crumbled. (30) The pent-up pressure for democratization manifested itself in mass mobilization against the New Order and demands for democratic reform or reformasi. Soeharto's resignation on 21 May 1998, and replacement by Vice-President B.J. Habibie, had been preceded by widespread rioting across Indonesia. Amidst a multi-dimensional, political, security and economic crisis, President Habibie, in cooperation with a cohort of prominent reform-minded elites, initiated a comprehensive reform process underpinned by sweeping constitutional and legislative changes, a process that continued in earnest under Habibie's successor, Abdurrahman Wahid. (31)

Indonesia's foreign policy during this period was essentially one of damage control: trying to restore international investor confidence and manage the serious diplomatic fallout from the military-orchestrated violence in East Timor following a vote for independence in September 1999. The violence in East Timor not only highlighted President Habibie's inability to control the ABRI, but also the corrosive impact of domestic political upheaval on Indonesia's foreign policy following Soeharto's resignation.

Following the general election in June 1999, which brought Islamic leader Aburrahman Wahid to power, highly-regarded Foreign Minister Ali Alatas was replaced by the Islamic scholar and parliamentarian Alwi Shihab. Departing from convention, Shihab had no formal diplomatic experience and was burdened by his dual responsibilities as foreign minister and personal assistant to the President. Indonesia's foreign policy during this period was dominated by President Abdurrahman, whose erratic leadership style was reflected in a somewhat unorthodox approach to foreign policy-making. (32)

After Abdurrahman's impeachment in 2001, the appointment of Sukarno's daughter, Megawati Soekarnoputri, as Indonesia's new head of state ushered in Alatas protege, Hassan Wirajuda, to the foreign affairs portfolio. In spite of a broadly unfavourable view of Megawati's leadership capabilities, the appointment of Wirajuda proved a highly positive development for the foreign ministry and for the country's international reputation more generally. The weakness of President Megawati in matters of foreign policy, and her preoccupation with domestic issues, only served to enhance Wirajuda's autonomy and capacity to oversee substantive foreign policy reforms.

Codification and Clarification

Indonesia's post-authoritarian political landscape can be understood as the result of negotiation and compromise between civilian political elites and military commanders on the subsequent pace and shape of democratic reform. (33) The flurry of constitutional, legislative and regulatory reforms initiated between 1999 and 2001 can be understood in the context of the military's "willingness" to relinquish aspects of its power and accommodate the process of democratic change. In this sense, shifts in the institutional and ideational basis of Indonesia's foreign policy were fundamentally an effect of changes in civil-military relations.

Among the key reforms in civil-military relations to impact on the operation of the foreign ministry were the end of kekaryaan in 1998 and the termination of ABRI's dwifungsi two years later. But it was the broader changes wrought by democratization which had a greater impact on foreign policy influence and orientation. Soeharto's removal from the apex of power changed foreign policy-making dynamics considerably Moreover, greater checks and balances applied on the former absolute power of the executive, together with the military's withdrawal from active politics, saw institutional foreign policy influence shift back to the foreign ministry after more than three decades.

Although the reforms relating specifically to Indonesia's foreign policy were less profound than those in the security sector, they were nonetheless significant in their attempt to strengthen the institutional authority of the foreign ministry and reshape a foreign policy convergent with Indonesia's reformasi political context. Between 1999 and 2004, a series of laws and presidential decrees placed Indonesia's foreign policy on a firmer institutional footing, augmenting civilian authority and capacity. In 1999, for example, the DPR passed Law No. 37/1999 on Foreign Relations which provided a clearer legal foundation for the conduct of foreign policy based on national laws and international legal norms. (34) The 1999 Law reaffirmed the independent and active tenets of foreign policy, and was an attempt to project a new image of Indonesian diplomacy--one which was "active, creative and anticipative" rather than "routine and reactive". (35) The rationale for the Law was explained by the need to address "the absence of a comprehensive and integrated legislative approach to regulating foreign relations". (36)

Law 37/1999 articulated the need to guarantee legal certainty for the conduct of foreign relations and implementation of foreign policy, including coordination between government agencies and between units within the foreign ministry. (37) In addition, Law 37/1999 broadened the definition of "foreign relations" to reflect the devolution of political and fiscal authority to the regions, and the increasing involvement of non-state actors in international engagement. It redefined Indonesia's foreign relations as: "All activities encompassing regional and international aspects conducted by the Government at central and regional level, or institutions, state agencies, business organizations, political organizations, community organizations, non-government organizations or Indonesian citizens." (38) In the following year, Law 24/2000 on International Agreements was passed under the administration of President Abdurrahman. The 1960 Guided Democracy-era presidential decree, which had been used as the legal guidance for international agreements for the duration of the New Order, was deemed "no longer in accordance with the spirit of reformasi". (39) In practice, Indonesia's Constitution, which had long given the President authority to make international agreements subject to the approval of the legislature, provided little clarification with respect to defining the authority of the executive vis-a-vis the legislature in drafting and ratifying international agreements. (40) As a result, Law 24/2000 mandated an extensive consultation and coordination process between the executive, the legislature and other relevant agencies. The 2000 Law also stipulated that international agreements were to be guided by national interests, and based on the principles of "equality, mutual benefit, and which took account of both national and international law". (41) It also aimed to counter, according to one foreign ministry official, prevent a plethora of "souvenir agreements", concluded by various government officials without coordination with the foreign ministry or the approval of the minister. (42)

Although Law 24/2000 did not fundamentally change the ratification powers of the DPR, it was clearly an attempt to proscribe presidential authority and, as such, referred to "confusion" under previous legislation which had only stipulated the executive and legislature's responsibilities for ratification, and not for the drafting of international agreements. (43) Such a move had clear historical justification with the previous implementation of agreements perceived as detrimental to Indonesia's national interests. Soeharto's decision to normalize relations with China in 1989, for example, and his subsequent Agreement on Maintaining Security with Australia in 1995, were announced by the executive as a fait accompli without the prior consultation of the legislature or even knowledge of the foreign minister. Empowerment of the DPR as a result of democratization was to have a significantly greater impact on foreign policy, however, than specific legislative reforms. A growing body of literature on the role of the legislature in Indonesia's foreign policy-making has highlighted, for example, the increased willingness of the DPR--through its powerful Commission process --to hold the executive to account on foreign policy issues, including its refusal to ratify international agreements signed by the executive. (44)

Aside from the positive practical effects of Laws 37/1999 and 24/2000 in clarifying foreign policy responsibilities and strengthening legislative oversight, there were important ideational aspects to the legislation. Through its role in drafting the bills, the foreign ministry sought to redefine Indonesia's national interests and, by extension, its foreign policy objectives, convergent with democratic, participatory politics. Mindful of the New Order's reactive and punitive approach to foreign policy differences, particularly in response to international human rights criticisms, the foreign ministry sought to ascribe greater initiative and maturity to the conduct of Indonesia's diplomacy.

Civilian Primacy and "Self-Improvement"

Backed by Presidential Decree 119/2001 on the New Structure of Deplu, newly appointed Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda initiated a comprehensive reform process within the foreign ministry and its diplomatic missions under a "process of self-improvement" (proses benah-diri). The foreign ministry's process of internal improvement comprised three key elements: the restructure of the department; the restructure of overseas diplomatic missions; and improvements to the diplomatic profession (profesi diplomat). The reforms, supported by the 2001 presidential decree, were designed to better reflect Indonesia's democratic values and the practice of modern corporate culture. Aimed at "eradicating previous sectoral divisions and implementing a more integrated approach to foreign policy governance", the decree aimed to ameliorate bureaucratic inefficiencies and improve dynamism and creativity within the foreign policy bureaucracy. (45)

Under Wirajuda's "self-improvement process", the ministry's information technology infrastructure was improved with the implementation of an integrated, encrypted communications technology system for the ministry and its overseas missions. (46) As democratic precepts of good governance and public service provision were internalized with varying degrees of success by the bureaucracy, so there was an increased focus on corporate transparency and accountability. Facilitated by improvements in information technology, the foreign ministry established web portals for consular assistance, media liaison and complaint mechanisms, and included the contact details of embassy staff on their websites. Wirajuda further encouraged senior bureaucrats, including ambassadors, to "more readily delegate to subordinates, increase information sharing and to embrace developments in information technology". (47) In an attempt to reform a formerly inflexible and hierarchical decision-making culture, he called for a "flatter" organization and more democratic leadership, with less distance between information collection, processing and decision-making. (48)

The 2001 restructure of the ministry was significant in both its practical and ideational effects on the organization. For example, it provided for a single interface between Jakarta and individual diplomatic missions, and changed the functional organization of the ministry to a geographic basis; a development reflecting the demise of the military's former functional approach to foreign affairs. Most significantly, the restructure ended the military's thirty-six-year institutionalization within the foreign ministry. Immediately prior to the 2001 restructure, there had been three active military officers in the foreign ministry--the Director-General for Information and Socio-Cultural Relations; the Inspector-General; and the Director for the Security and Development of the Overseas Indonesian Community. (49) Although military officers continued to serve in ambassadorial posts, their numbers declined markedly after reformasi. (50)

In 2003, a follow-up presidential decree, 108/2003 on the Organization of Indonesia's Diplomatic Missions, formalized reforms designed to increase the capacity of Indonesia's diplomatic missions and the professionalism of the diplomatic service. Reforms focussed on improving the quality of Indonesia's diplomatic representation through the conduct of foreign policy which was "more coordinated and effective" and by "increasing organizational and human resource capacity". (51) Heads of Missions (ambassadors, consul generals and consuls), for example, were provided with greater autonomy, but were also required to be more accountable in their responsibility over the tasking and function of diplomatic missions. The decree articulated that they submit Strategic Plans and Annual Operational Plans, including performance indicators, to be achieved during their tenure. It aimed to clarify the duties and the responsibilities of the Head of Mission, particularly for the benefit of non-foreign ministry officers posted abroad. Importantly, under Decree 108/2003, the appointment of defence and other attach6s was made subject to the foreign minister on the advice of relevant departments. The decree mandated that for operational and administrative matters they were "not to be separate from the mission". (52) Although, this last stipulation was clearly a response to the military's former autonomy at missions, it also aimed to counter the irregular and individual-based loci of influence indicative of the New Order period generally.

Redefining Diplomacy, Redefining the State

In the space of a few years, Indonesia transformed itself into the world's third largest democracy. The international appeal of Indonesia's new democratic credentials was not lost on policymakers who readily adopted Joseph Nye's "soft power" thesis in pursuit of strategies that could maximize the country's newly acquired diplomatic assets--democracy, Islam and pluralism --in support of foreign policy objectives. (53) It did not matter that the country's internal democratization experience was far from linear or complete. Democratization provided the opportunity for foreign policy reformists, chief among them Wirajuda, to reassert Indonesia's aspirations for regional leadership and seek global gravitas, albeit in a project framed by democratic norms. (54) By appropriating the rhetoric of liberal democracy into foreign policy discourse and marrying them with Islam, Indonesian elites redefined the national self-image, based not on the seeming incompatibility of these elements, but on their inherent complementarity, at least in the Indonesian context.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry's promotion of Indonesia's new soft power attributes and its recognition that public diplomacy was a vital means of promoting a positive domestic and international image of the country was reflected in organizational changes. A new Directorate-General for Information and Public Diplomacy, for example, was established as part of the 2001 reorganization of the ministry, and ambassadors designate were briefed on promoting moderate Islam and liberal values as part of public diplomacy efforts. (55)

Aside from changes in the legal and organizational basis of foreign policy, the concept of diplomacy itself was redefined as a result of the country's democratic transition. Wirajuda's reformasi era concept of "diplomasi total" (total diplomacy), involved all components of society and as such was reconfigured as something more inclusive and comprehensive than merely the tool by which foreign service officers could advance Indonesia's foreign policy objectives. The foreign ministry defined total diplomacy as the "instrument and manner utilized in diplomacy through the involvement of all stakeholders and exploitation of all means of influence (lini kekuatan) or multi-track diplomacy". (56) The inclusivity and plurality of Indonesia's total diplomacy can be understood as a reaction against a foreign policy previously controlled by an oligarchy of military and New Order elites and it sought active participation by civil society in foreign policy formulation. As a function of total diplomacy, the foreign ministry broadened foreign policy consultation and deliberation through regular interactions with civil society. A weekly foreign policy breakfast attended by a range of civil society representatives was instituted, for example, and media, interfaith and education outreach programmes were established. (57)

The newly democratic state's obligation and duty to protect its citizens was reflected in both Indonesia's numerous new constitutional provisions on human rights, Law 37/1999 on Foreign Relations, and within the bureaucracy generally, in organizational changes and shifts in foreign policy priorities. During Wirajuda's tenure, for example, the foreign ministry set about improving its service to and protection of Indonesian nationals overseas. This was a particularly salient issue for Indonesia, which aside from the Philippines, has one of the largest overseas migrant workforces in the world. In 2001, the foreign ministry established a special Human Rights Directorate and Directorate for the Protection of Indonesian Nationals, and in 2007 established a Citizen Service facility to provide consular and administrative support to Indonesian migrant workers based overseas, known as Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (TKI). (58) The protection of its citizens abroad was elevated to one of Indonesia's highest foreign policy priorities, alongside "advancing democracy, human rights and the environment". In Indonesia's newly democratic polity, the ill-treatment of Indonesian migrant workers, mostly female maids, has proved not only a highly contentious foreign policy issue, particularly with respect to Malaysia, but a further test of the government's responsiveness on human rights issues generally. (59) There had been growing domestic political pressure on the government to address the TKI issue. The ill-treatment of domestic workers by Malaysian employers had become, along with territorial disputes and alleged appropriation of Indonesia's cultural heritage, a lodestone for public criticisms of Malaysia. (60)

Democratic Diplomacy?

To measure the efficacy of Indonesia's foreign policy reforms, one must understand the motivations both behind a concerted programme of bureaucratic reform within the foreign ministry and the inclusion of democracy and human rights promotion among the country's top foreign policy priorities. In instrumental terms, these motivations can be understood as attempts to regain civilian control over foreign policy decision-making and to ameliorate widespread bureaucratic inefficiencies within the ministry (rebadged from a department, Deplu, to a ministry, Kemlu, in November 2009). In addition, the projection of a democratic foreign policy also served important political functions in enhancing the government's legitimacy to both domestic and international constituencies. This section briefly examines whether institutional reforms and ideational changes have had their desired effects and to what extent they have changed Indonesia's foreign policy governance.

Greater Plurality, Greater Contestability

In structural terms, it could be said that democratization has greatly enhanced civilian authority and agency in Indonesia's foreign policy. Changes to domestic power structures, and especially the withdrawal of the military from active politics, has effectively ended the power contests between the armed forces and the foreign ministry that was much in evidence during the New Order. The military now defers to the foreign ministry on matters relating to external relations, even on contentious territorial and sovereignty-based issues. (61) Moreover, democratization has diminished the authority of the executive over foreign policy decision-making and inserted greater checks and balances on the former absolute power of the President. No longer distorted by a reactionary, authoritarian prism, the management of foreign policy issues, at least within executive arm of government, is less reactive and more centralized under the authority of the foreign minister.

But as democratization has ended civil-military power contests over foreign policy, it has introduced new sites of civilian contest--principally between the legislative and executive arms of government. There are now "multiple centres of power" of foreign policy influence in Indonesia--the DPR, media, civil society and the influence of public opinion. (62) Greater plurality, however, has not necessarily translated into improved policy-making processes or outcomes. In fact, it has in many ways made the management of foreign policy issues more inflammatory and difficult for the ministry to contain. (63) The empowerment of Indonesia's legislature has resulted in the increasing politicization of foreign policy issues as a means of undermining the executive, particularly under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's leadership. In practical terms, the need for the executive to pacify a broad and often adversarial coalition of interests, in order to remain in power, is evident in an increasing number of party political appointments to ambassadorial posts. (64) It has also resulted on occasions, in what one former diplomat has characterized as a "simplistic" and "nonsensical" approach to foreign policy, where legislators have placed their pecuniary and political interests above that of sound policy-making. (65)

New Order Legacies, Improved Efficiencies

Civil service reform has been described as "crucial to ... deepened democracy in Indonesia" and indeed, the nexus between ongoing democratic consolidation and improving governance of Indonesia's public sector is a clear one. (66) By its very nature, the foreign ministry has always attracted high calibre applicants, arguably better educated and more cosmopolitan than their counterparts in other ministries. (67) Yet despite tangible gains derived from Wirajuda's self-improvement process, the foreign ministry remains subject to some of the systemic problems endemic to the civil service more generally. Such problems are rooted in Indonesia's bureaucratic culture, which is characterized by endemic corruption, lack of financial accountability and transparency manifest in significant "offline" budget funding, as well as general rent-seeking behaviour. (68) Considered relatively "clean" in comparison to other ministries there have, however, been several high profile corruption cases in recent years which have implicated senior officers. (69) The issue of "supplementary" allowances, for example, where staff receive additional payments for attending meetings, has created what one observer described as a "per diem culture" (a problem by no means unique to the foreign ministry), where diplomats "attend conferences solely for the payments they receive from the foreign donor agency sponsoring an event". (70)

Meanwhile, the general inflexibility in bureaucratic structures and recruitment processes means there is no facility for the lateral recruitment of individuals outside the foreign ministry, inhibiting the ministry's access to broader skill sets and professional experience. The ministry's outreach to civil society has reportedly declined under the current foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, including the frequency of weekly foreign policy breakfasts and "Pejambon Kemlu" (coffee) sessions, which were valued highly by a range of external stakeholders. (71) There have also been criticisms of the ministry in terms of the gap between foreign policy aspirations and institutional capacity. One individual observed what was termed a "sudah diseminarkan" (already discussed in a seminar) syndrome, where seminars were viewed as a substitute for concrete action. (72) Others have described foreign policy in the post-Wirajuda era as increasingly ad hoc, and pointed to tensions within the bureaucracy. (73)

On balance, however, the foreign ministry has achieved considerable organizational efficiencies in comparison to the New Order period. Wirajuda's self-improvement process has facilitated a shift to a merit-based system where talented officers can now leapfrog more senior officers into strategic positions. Similarly, junior diplomats are now fleer to discuss issues directly with Director and Director-General levels, an almost unprecedented shift, given the previously hierarchical and militaristic culture of Indonesian bureaucracy.

The enthusiasm and success of reform within the ministry between 2001 and 2009, is attributable in large part to the agency of Hassan Wirajuda, highlighting the role of individual ministers and their capacity to drive innovation and reform in foreign policy bureaucracies and in international diplomacy more broadly. (74) Under Wirajuda, foreign policy became more responsive to civil society and there was greater emphasis on public service provision. Assisted by a process of downsizing in the retirement of New Order-era diplomatic and non-diplomatic staff, the foreign ministry successfully restructured its bureaucracy to reflect new, normative-influenced priorities and improved organizational efficiencies. Importantly, Wirajuda was able to garner cooperation and respect from senior bureaucrats, legislators, political leaders, and broader foreign policy epistemic community, in his endeavour to recast the country's foreign policy.


Indonesia's foreign ministry can be seen as a crucible of the effects of broader political and ideological contests on foreign policy. The turbulent nature of Indonesia's domestic political transitions--"revolutionary anti-colonial struggle", parliamentary democracy, authoritarianism, and presidential multi-party democracy after 1998--have had a marked impact on Indonesia's foreign policy in institutional and ideational terms. Indonesia's contemporary foreign policy is best understood in the context of its post-authoritarian transition, encouraging closer analysis of domestic-level influences on its formation.

In the context of Indonesia's democratic transition, fundamental shifts in civil-military relations played out in important legal, organizational, and ideational effects on the conduct of the country's foreign policy. The internalization of democratic norms into the organization and conduct of Indonesia's foreign relations is one of the most significant changes resulting from the democratization process. Indonesia's newly democratic status, when combined with Islam and pluralism, provided the key to its new "soft power" appeal, as well as its broader currency in international diplomacy. Political liberalization provided the opportunity for civilian diplomats, under Wirajuda's leadership, to reassert Indonesia's regional leadership and seek global gravitas in a project framed by democratic norms.

In the post-authoritarian political context, Indonesia's foreign ministry actively sought the input of broader civil society in the process of foreign policy formulation, aiming for a more liberal, normative-based foreign policy agenda. Democratic precepts were internalized in the organizational renewal of the foreign ministry, with an emphasis on qualitative improvements to Indonesia's diplomacy and greater professionalism within the bureaucracy. Changes to the legislative and regulatory underpinnings of Indonesia's foreign policy were an attempt to "normalize" Indonesia's foreign policy governance in accordance with democratic notions of good governance and public service provision. Moreover, the raft of reforms initiated and implemented under Wirajuda's leadership, suggests that the agency of individual foreign ministers constitutes a key variable influencing the performance of foreign ministries and their carriage of international diplomacy.



The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Ph.D. supervisors Professor Andrew O'Neil and Professor Colin Brown (Griffith Asia Institute) and would like to convey her special appreciation to external supervisor Dr Ian Hall (ANU) for specific advice on aspects of both the original and revised draft of this article. She also wishes to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their comprehensive feedback. The author is indebted to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta for their generous assistance and to Dr Pribadi Sutiono and other members of Indonesia's foreign policy community, who shared their time and insights.

(1) See for example, Donald K. Emmerson, "Security, Community, and Democracy in Southeast Asia: Analyzing ASEAN", Japanese Journal of Political Science 6, no. 2 (2005): 165-85; Jurgen Ruland, "Deepening ASEAN Cooperation through Democratisation? The Indonesian Legislature and Foreign Policy Making", International Relations of the Asia Pacific 9, no. 3 (2009): 373-402; Jorn Dosch, "The Impact of Democratisation on the Making of Foreign Policy in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines", Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs 5 (2006): 42-70; Dewi Fortuna Anwar, "The Impact of Domestic and Asian Regional Changes on Indonesian Foreign Policy", Southeast Asian Affairs 2010, edited by Daljit Singh (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2010), pp. 126-41; Anne Marie Murphy, "Democratization and Indonesia's Foreign Policy", Asia Policy 13 (January 2012): 65-79; and Iis Gindarsah, "Democracy and Foreign Policy-Making in Indonesia: A Case Study of the Iranian Nuclear Issue, 2007-08", Contemporary Southeast Asia 34, no. 3 (2012): 416-37.

(2) See Jurgen Ruland, "Constructing Regionalism Domestically: Local Actors and Foreign Policymaking in Newly Democratised Indonesia", Foreign Policy Analysis (2013): 1-21. Ruland draws on Amitav Acharya's work especially "How Ideas Spread: Whose Norms Matter? Norm Localisation and Institutional Change in Asian Regionalism", International Organisation 58, no. 2 (2004): 239-75; and Whose Ideas Matter, Agency and Power in Asian Regionalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009).

(3) Lee Jones, "Democratisation and Foreign Policy in Southeast Asia: The Case of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus", Cambridge Review of International Affairs 22, no. 3 (September 2009): 387-406.

(4) For examples of Rizal Sukma's domestic weakness argument, see "Do New Democracies Support Democracy?: Indonesia Finds a New Voice", Journal of Democracy 22, no. 4 (October 2011): 110-23; "Domestic Politics and International Posture: Constraints and Possibilities", in Indonesia Rising: The Repositioning of Asia's Third Giant, edited by Anthony Reid (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2012), pp. 77-92. and more broadly, Islam in Indonesian Foreign Policy (London: Routledge Curzon, 2003).

(5) The truth of who masterminded the abortive coup remains highly contested to this day. For in-depth analysis see Benedict R. Anderson and Ruth T. McVey, A Preliminary Analysis of the October 1 1965 Coup in Indonesia (Equinox: United States, reprint 2009); and Robert Cribb, "Unresolved Problems in the Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966", Asian Survey 42, no. 4 (2002): 550-63.

(6) For reference to "purification" (penyempurnaan] and "cleansing" [pembersihan] see Dua Puluh Lima Tahun Departemen Luar Negeri 1946-1970 (Twenty Five Years of the Department of Foreign Affairs 1947-1970], (Djakarta: Panitia Penulisan Sejarah Departemen Luar Negeri, 1971), pp. 341-48.

(7) Under Subandrio's leadership, Deplu became increasingly politicized. Indoctrination courses were established for foreign ministry officers to educate them on Indonesia's new diplomacy, and members of Deplu's communist youth movement (GPD) were increasingly favoured for first and second secretary diplomatic appointments. Subandrio was viewed by many as complicit in the coup attempt. Widely disliked both due to his abrasive personality and prominence in Soekarno's policy embrace of China, in addition to foreign minister, he had also been head of Indonesia's powerful Central Intelligence Body. See Ide Anak Agung, Twenty Years of Indonesian Foreign Policy 1945-1965 (The Hague: Mouton, 1973), pp. 272, 285; Gordon Hein, Soeharto's Foreign Policy: Second Generation Nationalism in Indonesia, Ph.D. dissertations, University of California, 1986, p. 151; and Dua Puluh Lima, op. cir., p. 12.

(8) The full title of Laksus or Special Executive was Laksus Luar Negeri, Pelaksana Chusus Pangkopkamtib Bidang Luar Negeri. It was preceded by the Body for the Coordination, Integration and Synchronization in Controlling Political Guerrillas in Foreign Affairs (Bakispalu) formed in February 1969. Robert Elson described Kopkamtib as an "extra-legal security force". See Robert Elson, Suharto: A Political Biography (Cambridge and Oakleigh: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 146. For details of Bakispalu and Laksus see Dua Puluh Lima, op. cit., pp. 31, 341, 345 and Lampiran E [Annex E] titled: Pimpinan dan Pegawai Pimpinan Departemen Luar Negeri Pada Achir Tahun 1970 [Leadership of the Department of Foreign Affairs at the end of 1970).

(9) Ibid.

(10) The Laksus units established at Indonesia's overseas diplomatic missions were referred to by their abbreviation Lakjah, which was short for Laksus Wilayah [Regional Special Executive]. Ibid., p. 348.

(11) Author interview with a former Indonesian career diplomat, Jakarta, 23 September 2011.

(12) Ibid. In the aftermath of the coup, both the foreign ministry and BPI were targeted for protests and physical attacks by anti-leftist, student organizations such as the army-backed KAMI (Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Indonesia, Indonesian Students Action Forum). See also Kementerian Luar Negeri Republik Indonesia, "Gedung Pancasila Departemen Luar Negeri, Bangunan Bersejarah Deplu" (Department of Foreign Affairs Pancasila Building, The Historical Development of Deplu] <>; M. C. Ricklefs, A History of Modern Indonesia since c.1300, 2nd ed. [London: MacMillan Press, 1993), p. 287.

(13) See Lampiran E [Annex El, Dua Puluh Lima, op. cit.

(14) Leo Suryadinata, Indonesia's Foreign Policy Under Suharto: Aspiring to International Leadership [Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1996), p. 39.

(15) Rizal Sukma, Indonesia and China: The Politics of a Troubled Relationship (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 79.

(16) See for example, ibid., p. 80; Suryadinata, Indonesia's Foreign Policy Under Suharto, op. cit., pp. 42-46; Gordon Hein, Soeharto's Foreign Policy: Second Generation Nationalism in Indonesia, Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, 1986.

(17) Michael Leifer, Indonesia's Foreign Policy [London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983), pp. 113-14.

(18) Hein, Soeharto's Foreign Policy, op. cit., p. 152. See Jnstus Van Der Kroef, "Normalising Relations with China: Indonesia's Policies and Perceptions", Asian Survey 26, no. 8 (1986); and Michael Williams, "China and Indonesia Make Up: Reflections on a Troubled Relationship", Indonesia 51 (1991): 145-58.

(19) These were a group of Indonesian economists many of them who were educated at the University of California in Berkeley and hence the name. Prominent among them were Widjojo Nitisastro and Emil Salim.

(20) In the New Order period, the foreign ministry ranked the strategic importance of countries on a "D" scale. D1 being the highest priority, based on a country's strategic, political, economic and geographic worth. D1 countries included ASEAN states plus Australia, the United States and Japan. Such positions, at least until the mid-1980s were usually reserved for military officers. See Dewi Fortuna Anwar, Indonesia in ASEAN: Foreign Policy and Regionalism (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1994), pp. 136-88.

(21) See Hein, Soeharto's Foreign Policy, op. cit., p. 159. Apart from the execution of those found directly implicated in the coup attempt, Soeharto often dispensed with pro-Sukarno military officers through ambassadorial appointments. Later senior military officers who bucked Soeharto's authority or were critical of the New Order, such as H.R. Dharsono and Sarwo Edhie were sidelined into ambassadorial posts. See Elson, Suharto: A Political Biography, op. cit., p. 183 and; and Ricklefs, A History of Modern Indonesia, op. cit., p. 292.

(22) See Leifer, Indonesia's Foreign Policy, op. cit.; Suryadinata, Indonesia's Foreign Policy Under Suharto, op. cit.; Hein, Soeharto's Foreign Policy, op. cit.; Sukma, Indonesia and China, op. cit.; and Anwar, Indonesia in ASEAN, op. cit.

(23) Elson, Suharto, op. cit., p. 169.

(24) Ibid., p. 234.

(25) Soeharto used his State Secretaries as unofficial diplomatic envoys, bypassing the foreign ministry and indeed military command, particularly on sensitive foreign policy issues, such as Indonesia's normalization of relations with China. It was State Secretary Moerdiono, for example, who announced Indonesia's decision to normalize relations with China in 1989 and who had exclusively handled negotiations without input from Deplu. See Leo Suryadinata, "Indonesia-China Relations: A Recent Breakthrough", Asian Survey 30, no. 7 (July 1990): 692; and Michael Vatikiotis, quoted in Michael Williams, "China and Indonesia Make Up", op. cit., p. 155.

(26) On New Order historiography or "foundational myths", see Adrian Vickers and Katherine McGregor, "Public Debates About History: Comparative Notes from Indonesia", History Australia 2, no. 2 (2005): 44-1-44-13; and Chapter Three of Geoffrey Gunn, New World Hegemony in the Malay World (Eritrea: The Red Sea Press, 2000).

(27) Author interview with retired Major-General, Jakarta, September 2011.

(28) One former senior Deplu official recounted, for example, that following the 1991 Dili massacre, military headquarters took three weeks to report back to the United Nations Secretary General and, moreover, deliberately underestimated the number of dead. Author interview with former ambassador and senior Deplu official, Jakarta, 23 September 2011. Also see comments by Alatas in The Pebble in the Shoe: The Diplomatic Struggle for East Timor (Jakarta: Askara-Karunia, 2006), pp. 186-205.

(29) Foreign Ministers Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, Ali Alatas and Hassan Wirajuda all possessed international law qualifications: Kusumaatmadja was a Yale law graduate and international expert on the Law of the Sea; career diplomat Ali Alatas held a law degree from the University of Indonesia; and Wirajuda a doctorate in international law from the University of Virginia.

(30) Sukma, Indonesia-China Relations, op. cit., p. 205.

(31) The 1945 Constitution, which traditionally provided for a strong presidential system, has undergone four stages of amendments since 1999, which have reconfigured power away from the executive to the legislative and judicial arms of government, established a constitutional court and new regional legislatures, instituted direct presidential elections with fixed five-year terms and significantly enhanced human rights provisions. For an excellent analysis of these reforms see Harold Crouch, Political Reform in Indonesia After Soeharto (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2010).

(32) Wahid's foreign policy style has been characterized as impulsive and erratic. A number of former diplomats spoke of the difficulties Wahid's style posed for the foreign ministry in attempting to implement his spontaneous foreign policy initiatives in which he would subsequently lose interest. Author interviews with Indonesia's foreign policy community, Jakarta, September-October 2011 and September-October 2012.

(33) For general evidence of this argument, see Harold Crouch, Political Reform in Indonesia, op. cit., pp. 127-90.

(34) See Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 37 Tah un 1999 Tentang Hubungan Luar Negeri [Law Number 37/1999 on Foreign Relations] <>.

(35) Ibid.

(36) Ibid. See the Penjelasan' [Explanation] section of the bill.

(37) Ibid.

(38) Ibid. See Section I, Ketentuan Umum [Chapter I, General Stipulation].

(39) In 1957 President Sukarno dispensed with parliamentary democracy and implemented an executive-led system of government called Guided Democracy (Demokrasi Terpimpin). For mention of the 1960 presidential decree, see Menimbang [Consideration] of Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 24 Tahun 2000 Tentang Perjanjian Internasional [Law 24/2000 on International Agreements] <>.

(40) The 1945 Constitution provided the People's Representative Council (DPR) with the authority to ratify international agreements, but in reality it never challenged Soeharto's authority.

(41) See Undang-Undang lqepublik lndonesia Nomor 24 Tahun 2000 Tentang Perjanjian Internasional, Bab II, Pasal 4 [Section II, Article 4].

(42) Author interview with foreign ministry official, Jakarta, 16 September 2011.

(43) The bill states "dalam praktiknya menimbulkan banyak kesimpang-siuran" [in practice it gave rise to much confusion]. See paragraph three of Penjelasan [Explanation] Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 24 Tahun 2000.

(44) See for example, Anwar, "The Impact of Domestic and Asian Regional Changes", op. cit.; and Doseh, "The Impact of Democratisation', op. cit. In 2002, the Megawati government signed an ASEAN agreement on tackling regional haze pollution problems, caused by the effects of forest burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan. The Agreement was met, however, with stiff opposition in Indonesia's DPR, with some parliamentarians arguing that the bill should be ratified only if ASEAN members agreed to cooperate in combating illegal logging. Similarly, a bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement with Singapore was met with similar hostility in the DPR, which viewed its provisions as a threat to Indonesia's territorial integrity and refused to ratify it. The DPR understood there was political leverage in withholding ratification of agreements that would benefit Malaysian and Singaporean interests. Indonesia linked the DCA with Singapore to a bilateral extradition treaty, which Jakarta wanted so that Singapore would extradite Indonesian-Chinese accused of corruption. There was sentiment that Indonesia "had always been on short end of the stick with Singapore and Malaysia" and a strong "quid pro quo" element in the DPR's refusal to cooperate. Author interview with former DPR member, Jakarta, 26 September 2012.

(45) The 2001 restructure was operationalized in 2002. See Departemen Luar Negeri Republik Indonesia, Keputusan Presiden Nomor 119 tahun 2001 tentang Struktur Baru Departemen Luar Negeri, in "Section IIL Perkembangan Organisasi dan Administrasi Deplu, Pernyataan Pets Menteri Luar Negeri RI Refleksi Tahun 2002 Dan Proyeksi Tahun 2003 [Presidential Decision 119/2001 on the New Structure of Deplu, Section III, Development of the Organisation and Administration of Deplu, in Minister of Foreign Affairs Press Release, Reflections on 2002 and Projections for 2003], <>.

(46) See Kementerian Luar Negeri Republik Indonesia, Transkripsi Pidato Menteri Luar Negeri Republik Indonesia, Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, pada Acara Peluncuran Portal Deplu [Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Transcript of Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr N Hassan Wirajuda at the Launch of Deplu's Portal], 8 October 2009, <>.

(47) Ibid.

(48) Ibid. Wirajuda said this at Deplu's launch of a new internet portal in October 2009.

(49) They were Dirjen Hubsosbudpen (Direktorat Jenderal Hubungan Sosial Budaya dan Penerangan, Directorate General for Socio-Cultural and Information Relations); the Irjen Deplu (Inspektor Jenderal Deplu, Inspector General of Deplu) and the Dirmanbinmaslugri (Direktor Pengamanan dan Pembinaan Masyarakat Indonesia Di Luar Negeri, Director for the Security and Development of the Overseas Indonesian Community). In the period 2000-01 these positions were replaced by career diplomats. The last Indonesian military officer to serve in Deplu was the Inspector-General, Admiral Muda Aa Kusia, who subsequently became Indonesia's Ambassador to Beijing. All positions held by military officers were replaced with career diplomats. Email communication with foreign ministry official, 23 November 2010.

(50) Kemlu was unable to provide precise figures, but in 2011 it estimated the number of current ambassadors from the armed forces to be only 2-3 out of 116. According to unofficial data, as at March 2012 there were two former Indonesian Armed Forces officers serving as ambassadors, Lieutenant General (ret'd) Safzen Noerdin (Iraq) and Air Marshal (ret'd) Herman Prayitno (Malaysia), see Kedutaan Besar Indonesia, Wikipedia, < Kedutaan_besar_Indonesia#Daftar_duta_besar_Indonesia>. Under the New Order, ABRI officers were usually posted to ASEAN capitals and to New Delhi, Moscow and Pyongyang. According to a Kemlu official, the numbers have decreased significantly since reformasi and the appointment of party political appointees into ambassadorial posts is now considered a greater threat by some career diplomats. Author interview with foreign ministry official, Jakarta, 16 September 2011; and written communication with Kemlu official, 22 January 2013.

(51) See Menimbang [Consideration] in Keputusan President RI No. 108 Tahun 2003 Tentang Organisasi Perwakilan RI Di Luar Negeri [Presidential Decision 108/2003 on the Organisation of Indonesia's Overseas Diplomatic Missions], 6 April 2004, <>.

(52) Ibid. See Bab VII, Pasal 22 [Section VII, Article 22].

(53) The concept of soft power is most closely identified with Harvard academic Joseph Nye and was readily internalized within the foreign ministry as a means of promoting Indonesia's newly democratic credentials in the international community. See "Pak Hassan Telah Mengukir Masa Emas Diplomasi Indonesia", Tabloid Diplomasi, 22 November 2009, < diplomasi-indonesia.html>; Meidyatama Suryondiningrat, "'Soft Power' A Hard Course for RI Foreign Policy", Jakarta Post, 11 January 2006; Joseph S. Nye, "The Changing Nature of World Power", Political Science Quarterly 105, no. 2 (Summer 1990): 177-92.

(54) There were, of course, a number of influential policy actors outside Deplu driving normative changes in Indonesia's foreign policy. Prominent among them were (the late) Hadi Soesastro, Rizal Sukma and other CSIS Jakarta-based intellectuals. In addition, there was Indonesian foreign policy intellectual and former presidential advisor, Dewi Fortuna Anwar, and former DPR legislators such as Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, Marzuki Darusman and Djoko Susilo. For the names of influential Deplu officers under Wirajuda, see Abdul Khalik, "Hassan's boys shape RI's current diplomacy", Jakarta Post, 12 October 2009.

(55) Author interview with academic and former Indonesian ambassador, Jakarta, 26 September 2011.

(56) Track I, II and/1] diplomacy equates to government-to-government engagement; academic-level engagement; and NGO and civil society exchange respectively. See Kementerian Luar Negeri Republik Indonesia, "Visi Kementerian Luar Negeri", Landasan, Visi, Misi, Polugri [Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Indonesia, Vision, Foundations, Vision, and Mission of Foreign Policy], 2010, <>.

(57) For some practical examples of some of the outreach activities conducted by Deplu under Wirajuda, see Universitas Katolik Indonesia, "Seminar Opfimalisasi Politik Luar Negeri RI Dalam Mendukung Ketahanan Pangan Nasional", 7 August 2008, <>; "Foreign Policy Breakfast: Diplomasi di Tengah Lingkungan Dunia yang Bergejolak", 22 August 2009, < lingkungan-dunia-yang-bergejolak.html>; and for Deplu's partnership with Muhammadiyah, see Transkripsi Joint Press Conference Menteri Luar Negeri RI, Hassan Wirajuda dan Menteri Luar Negeri Australia, Alexander Downer, "Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation: Community Building and Harmony", Yogyakarta, 6 December 2004, <>. See also Anwar, "The Impact of Domestic and Asian Regional Changes", op. cit., p. 131.

(58) Rene Kawilarang, "Warisan Besar Menlu Hassan Wirajdua" [Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda's Significant Legacy],, 22 October 2009, <>.

(59) Public outrage over the ill-treatment and execution of Indonesian maids in countries such as Saudi Arabia led the government to impose temporary moratoriums on sending female labour or "TKW" abroad. It also spurred greater inter-agency cooperation within Indonesia in dealing with the issue. See Yayan G. H. Mulyana, "Migrant Workers as Foreign Policy Issue", Jakarta Post, 17 September 2011.

(60) In 2005 Indonesia and Malaysia were involved in naval skirmishes over Ambalat, an oil rich block of disputed maritime space in the Sulawesi Sea. Tensions over Ambalat were preceded by Indonesia's loss of Sipidan and Ligitan Islands off East Kalimantan to Malaysia in a ruling issued by the International Court of Justice in 2002. Tensions flared further over perceived attempts by Malaysia to appropriate Indonesia's cultural heritage in its "Malaysia: Truly Asia" tourist promotional campaign. This ignited anti-Malaysian sentiment in Indonesia, which played out in DPR, media and social networking sites. Malaysia's use of an Indonesian folk song, Rasa Sayange, and the Bali Pendet dance in the advertising campaign, resulted in violent protests outside the Malaysian Embassy and threats by vigilante groups against Malaysians in Jakarta. See "Indonesia's anti-Malaysia feeling still strong", Asia News Network, 15 September 2009.

(61) A claim for asylum by forty-three Papuans in Australia in 2005 is a case in point. Despite the acute sovereignty and territorial sensitivities associated with such a claim, Indonesia's military took a backseat role to the foreign ministry on the issue, in stark contrast to their responses during the New Order period. Moreover, a number of retired senior military and civilian officials interviewed during September 2011, confirmed a deliberate policy of deference to the foreign minister on foreign policy issues.

(62) "Multiple Centres of Power" is a term used by Dewi Fortuna Anwar, "The Impact of Domestic and Asian Regional Changes", op. cit., p. 128.

(63) See Ruland, "Deepening ASEAN Cooperation through Democratisation", op. cit.; Gindarsah, "Democracy and Foreign Policy-Making in Indonesia", op. cit.; Dosch, "The Impact of Democratisation on the Making of Foreign Policy in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines", op. cit.; Emmerson, "Security, Community, and Democracy in Southeast Asia", op. cit.; Anwar, "The Impact of Domestic and Asian Regional Changes on Indonesian Foreign Policy", op. cit.

(64) In a 2011 DPR "fit and proper test" of ambassadorial candidates, there were approximately five candidates from political parties. Career diplomats view the appointment of politicians as a problem of "professionalism" and the result of presidential political bargaining and rewards dispensed to maintain a harmonious political coalition. Author interview with foreign ministry official, Jakarta, 16 September, 2012.

(65) For example, the way the DPR used its interpellation powers in response to Indonesia's support for UNSC Resolution 1747 by imposing sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme, widely viewed as an attempt to embarrass the executive. Author interview with former ambassador, Jakarta, 23 September 2011. Ann Marie Murphy claims there was direct lobbying of DPR members by Iranian officials and, in addition, funded trips by Indonesian legislators to Iran. See Anne Marie Murphy, "Democratization and Indonesia's Foreign Policy", Asia Policy, p. 103.

(66) Staffan Synnerstrom, "The Civil Service: Towards Efficiency, Effectiveness and Honesty", in Indonesia: Democracy and the Promise of Good Governance, edited by Andrew MacIntyre and Ross H. McLeod (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2007), p. 160.

(67) Kemlu typically takes graduates with a sound knowledge of Indonesian history and foreign policy, and qualifications in international relations and/or international law. Overseas qualifications provide an advantage, with selection interviews conducted in English and the second language the applicant claims proficiency in. In 2010 there were 19,000 applicants, only 60 of whom were selected. Author interview with Kemlu official, 16 September 2011.

(68) Synnerstrom, "The Civil Service", op. cit., pp. 159-77.

(69) Over the past several years a number of senior foreign ministry officials have been implicated in corruption scandals. See "Kasus Tiket Diplomat, Kejaksaan Belum Berencana Periksa Imron Cotan",, 8 March 2010, <,20100308-231087,id.html>; and Rachmadin Ismail, "Kasus Korupsi di Kemlu, Dubes RI Kanada Diperiksa KPK",, 31 January 2012, <>.

(70) See Kelly Currie, "Mirage or Reality? Asia's Emerging Human Rights and Democracy Architecture", Project 2049 Institute (2010): 25.

(71) Pejambon relates to the historic Pancasila Building, at number 6, Pejambon Street, where Indonesia's foreign ministry has been housed since 1950. The decline in foreign policy breakfasts and outreach activities was confirmed by a number of respondents interviewed in Jakarta between September-October 2011 and September-October 2012.

(72) Author interview, Jakarta, September 2011.

(73) Author interviews, Jakarta, September-October 2012.

(74) I am indebted to an anonymous reviewer for highlighting this critical point.

GRETA NABBS-KELLER is a Ph.D. candidate at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
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Date:Apr 1, 2013
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