Indonesia's Transformation and the Stability of Southeast Asia

by Angel Rabasa, Peter Chalk

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Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is undergoing a profound transformation that could lead to a variety of outcomes, from the consolidation of democracy to return to authoritarianism or military rule, to radical Islamic rule, or to violent disintegration. The stakes are high, for Indonesia is the key to Southeast Asian security. The authors examine the trends and dynamics that are driving Indonesia's transformation, outline possible strategic futures and their implications for regional stability, and identify options the United States might pursue in the critical challenge of influencing Indonesia's future course. Steps the United States might take now include support for Indonesia's stability and territorial integrity, reestablishment of Indonesian-U.S. military cooperation and interaction, aid in rebuilding a constructive Indonesian role in regional security, and support for development of a regional crisis reaction force. A continued strong U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region will reinforce the U.S. role as regional balancer.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction: The Regional Context

  • Chapter Two

    Indonesia's Fragile Democratic Experiment

  • Chapter Three

    The East Timor Crisis and Its Consequences

  • Chapter Four

    The Challenge of Separatism and Ethnic and Religious Conflict

  • Chapter Five

    Reinventing Indonesia: The Challenge of Decentralization

  • Chapter Six

    The Military in Transition

  • Chapter Seven

    Alternative Indonesian Futures

  • Chapter Eight

    Regional Consequences of Indonesian Futures

  • Chapter Nine

    Muslim Separatist Movements in the Philippines and Thailand

  • Chapter Ten

    Implications for the United States and the U.S. Air Force

Book Review Excerpts

"… An excellent introduction, especially for the non-specialist reader to recent developments in Indonesia… Provides a balanced, well-researched and succinct analysis of political developments from the fall of Soeharto to the later part of the Wahid government… The authors must be commended for putting so much useful information and analysis into so few pages."

- Contemporary Southeast Asia

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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