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Jakarta Post

US provides 'ballast' in Australia-Indonesia relations

  • Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto

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PREMIUM
Canberra   /   Mon, February 10, 2020   /  10:06 am
US provides 'ballast' in Australia-Indonesia relations Indonesia and Australia puzzles from flags. (Shutterstock/File)

The visit of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to Australia should remind ourselves of the pivotal role the United States has played in the evolution of Australian-Indonesian relations. By capitalizing on the US role in Southeast Asia, Australia and Indonesia can actually add “ballast” to the bilateral relationship, which can be volatile at times. Setting the terms of Washington’s involvement is often one of the sticking points in Australian-Indonesian ties. Australia and Indonesia have tended to disagree on what form the US involvement in the region should take. In the Cold War, Australia saw the US as replacing the erstwhile European colonial empires that had for decades been a guarantor of Australia’s security against hostile non-Western powers, such as Japan. For Indonesia, in addition to aid, US involvement was useful only to support Jakarta...

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