Monday 11 Oct 2021 | 02:59 | SYDNEY
Monday 11 Oct 2021 | 02:59 | SYDNEY

Indonesia: Let not count our chickens


Sam Roggeveen


9 March 2010 15:47

Peter Hartcher is exactly right about the almost miraculous advances made by Indonesia since the end of the Suharto era.

And yet, it must be said that it is very easy to sing these praises when there is a friendly and largely amenable President holding office. But as long as SBY is in control, it will be difficult to tell how much of this good news from Indonesia is merely the reflected light from his leadership, and how much is a permanent new feature of the political landscape.

The true test of Indonesia's nascent democratic institutions, and of Australia's improved relations with Jakarta, will come when or if the country elects a Mahathir-like president. At that point, Indonesia's institutions will need to be strong enough to resist any moves back toward greater cronyism and corruption. And Australia and Indonesia will need to have deep enough economic and strategic ties to withstand any nationalist buffeting.

I don't think we are in this position yet.

Photo by Flickr user swissroli, used under a Creative Commons license.