The Indonesian Political Changes, (In)Security, and Securitization



As pointed out already in Chap.  1, Indonesia’s security dynamics have undergone a dramatic transformation and the country’s regime change highlights how democratization has its own security dynamics which need to be addressed. In this context of democratization, Indonesia had to come up with certain policies to deal with its security issues. In general, these policies can be categorized into securitization or desecuritization acts. In order to contextualize the regime change, security dynamics, and how securitization and desecuritization occurred in Indonesia, the object of discussion in this chapter is the post-1998 political and security development. For this purpose, I begin with providing a historical narrative at the point when the Asian Financial Crisis severely hit Indonesia, showing its impact on Indonesian economics, the failure of the Suharto government to deal with it, and how Suharto’s political capital declined until finally he entirely lost support from his power circle. In the second section, I will describe how the anti-Suharto popular movements advanced their cause amid the lack of alternative leadership figures, how the student movements become the major driving force for the country’s political changes, and how the political turbulence forced Suharto’s departure. In the third section, I will provide an overview on the nature of post-Suharto regimes, especially B.J. Habibie’s presidency. In essence, while the new regime had broken off from the old authoritarian one, the post-Suharto politics still accommodated elements from the old regime, especially the military. This kind of “pacted transition” occurred mainly due to the fact that the politicians and “reformists” were highly dependent on the political support from the top brass in the military to prevail in the intra-civilian conflicts and power struggles. Since some elements from the old regime still enjoyed significant influence, the repressive security policies still continued as the conflict resolution mechanism to solve various violent conflicts in Indonesia’s post-1998 polity, which provided the grounds for the domination of securitization acts. The act of securitization, especially in the form of the enactment of extraordinary measures and martial law, is the topic of discussion in the last section of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International RelationsUniversity of IndonesiaJawa BaratIndonesia

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