Notes on Evolving Indo-US Relations

As the global dominance of the United States continues to lose legitimacy, it is more essential than ever that ties with Indonesia, and other countries that have been neglected for too long, be repaired and strengthened.

 The world, and Indonesians in particular, are more eager than in a long time to build ties with America. An exciting political current sweeps through the United States as the Bush White House prepares to leave office, and Indonesians are fascinated by a presidential campaign that points towards an America eager for change, for reconciliation within its own society and with other countries. America still has things to offer, although that has been lost during the recent past, when Indonesians have been repelled by an animosity towards the US.

It is peripheral states, like Indonesia, that will play a major role in determining the major transition of power that is taking place in today’s global marketplace. China, Europe, and the United States are the three major centers through the flows of the world’s economy and cultures are passing, and these three powers are in a race to gain control of as much of that global market share as they can.


In a recent article in the New York Times, Parag Khanna writes about the importance of “second world” countries in determining the shape of the new global power structure. “Lying alongside and in between the Big Three, second-world countries are the swing states that will determine which of the superpowers has the upper hand for the next generation of geopolitics,” he writes. Indonesia is important in more ways than one: not only is it an anchor in the South East Asian region, where both China’s sphere of influence continues to grow, but it is also one of the major crossroads of global Islam. An America with positive relations with Indonesia has an advantage when dealing with many countries in the Middle East that have so preoccupied it over the past decade.


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