Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 07/2011

Differentiated Policies: Indonesia's International Leadership and Internal Challenges

Alistair D.B. Cook

June 2011

Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies


Indonesia's position as a regional champion of democracy and human rights has become prominent in international forums since the resignation of President Suharto in 1998 and the subsequent period of internal democratic reform. Its proactive foreign policy culminated in the establishment of the Bali Democracy Forum in 2008 to promote and strengthen democracy and the rule of law in Asia through a process of learning and sharing. While Indonesia's proactive foreign policy continues, significant internal challenges remain. This policy brief offers an insight into one of Indonesia's longest running internal challenges, Papua, and suggests the use of the human security lens as an alternative to the dominant traditional security lens used by many policymakers, in an effort to promote conflict resolution and match developments at home with its proactive strategies abroad.