Indonesia's Future

Challenges and Implications for Regional Stability and U.S. Security Interests

by Angel Rabasa, Peter Chalk

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This research brief describes work documented in Indonesia's Transformation and the Stability of Southeast Asia (MR-1344-AF).

Excerpt: The Republic of Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous and largest Muslim-majority state, is undergoing a profound political transformation. Governmental instability, a fragile economy, secessionist movements, and ethnic and religious conflict threaten the country's nascent democracy. The stakes are high. A successful democratic transition would allow Indonesia to serve as a capable partner in maintaining regional security and stability in Southeast Asia while reducing opportunities for potential Chinese hegemony. Conversely, political deterioration or breakdown, the rise of Islamic radicalism or, in the worst-case scenario, the country's violent disintegration, would likely contribute to a more chaotic and unstable future for the region.

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