1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Can I Use This in Indonesia?

Reader comment on item: A Strongman for Iraq?

Submitted by William McAuley (United States), Apr 28, 2003 at 14:57

Dan;

I've been silent for quite a while, working in Cameroon & Chad, and spending my R & R's back in Indonesia. BTW, I feel much, much safer in Indonesia than I ever did in West Africa. That was one very dangerous assignment. There are a lot of unheralded, and unnoticed dead expats as a result of that project. Cameroon and Chad are primarily Muslim, and speak French. What a terrible combination to screw up a population. Even so, I did have the same experience there as everywhere else, in that the locals who knew me treated me like a king. There were a lot of tears when I finished up there (probably because they knew they didn't get every cent I had).

In Indonesia, the people lament the appearance of safety and stability they lost when they ousted Soeharto. I don't blame them. As long as you stayed invisible to the Soeharto government, things were OK, by their standards. Never having known any other life except under a brutal, but media aware, dictator, the people have no concept of just how impoverished they were because of Soeharto and his cronies.

Now that Indonesians can quietly (with the windows closed, or slightly open) discuss politics, I'm constantly asked about my opinion. I had reluctantly come to the same conclusions you did in your "strongman" article. The new Indonesian democracy just isn't working... the people are more oppressed by economics than they ever were under Soeharto, and they want scapegoats. Scapegoats? America and President Bush fit the bill just fine.

Indonesia now has a completely corrupt government, but without any strongman control. They still have an essentially illiterate, ignorant, and confused population, being guided by a power hungry, also ignorant, and Muslim warped clergy. Megawati is a disaster for the people. Last week's perfect example was her signing to buy 48 SU-27 & SU-30 warplanes from Russia, at $100,000,000 each.

If Megawati was concerned about national defense, all she'd need to do is get CNN & BBC to film short 15 second clips of 100,000 people rallies of poor folks, (for $2.00 each), waving U.S. flags and praising the coalition efforts in Iraq or Afghanistan. That's very cheap national defense, and much better for the economy as well. Instead, she impoverishes her country even further buying outdated warplanes that will only be used to suppress their Aceh, Iraian Jaya and Ambon sepratists.

I'd like to share your "strongman" article, perhaps in the Jakarta Post and some of the Bahasa Indonesian press. Your conclusions are the same as mine, but your writing and presentation is so much better.

Bob McAuley,
Rosemount, MN (and back to Indo in two weeks)
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Can I Use This in Indonesia? by William McAuley

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)