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Indonesia’s Foreign Policy and the War on Terror

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I. Introduction

Indonesia’s foreign policy is actually a part of overall government policy aimed at achieving national interests. In carrying out its foreign policy, the Indonesian government firmly holds on to the principles of free and active (prinsip bebas aktif) based on Pancasila and Undang-undang Dasar 1945, of which ideas are dedicated to the country’s national interests. In other words, Indonesia’s foreign policy is virtually a component of national political policy inseparable from the actual condition of the country.

The principles free and active foreign policy was initially conveyed by Vice President Mohammad Hatta in 1948, when the realm of international relations was bustled by a rivalry between two blocks of ideologies; democratic-liberal bloc led by the United States and socialist-communist bloc led by the Soviet Union.

To be elaborate, free and active foreign policy, by principal, does not mean a passively neutral, equidistance, or “taking-neither-side” politics. Neither does it refer to a politics which is indifferent of or keeps away from the world’s development and affairs. The term ‘free’ refers to the freedom in determining our own stance and judgment towards various world affairs and free from the attraction to either bloc along with its military alliance. While the term ‘active’ means actively and constructively tries to contribute to the achievement of peace, justice, friendship and mutual cooperation among nations all in the world.

After the cold war, changes in globalization occur, such as changes in the aspect of economy, politics, social, and culture, with regards to interstate relations. These changes cover bilateral, regional, and multilateral, to contemporary issues such as environment, human rights, democratization, liberalization of trade, and others. The order of current international relations is also bustled with the rise new non-governmental actors which are actually influential to the political aspect of a state, such as NGOs, scholars, business; mass media even individuals who has great impact in the international world.

These external changes are also accompanied by changes in the interiors, specifically the reform process that rests on democratization, law enforcement, and human rights.

To respond to those changes, the government imposed a foreign policy cited into five points of Program Kerja Kabinet Gotong Royong, which are: “to carry out free and active foreign policy, to recover the dignity of the nation and the state, and to recover the dignity with regards to loan publishers and investors towards the government.

Specifically, the framework of Indonesia’s foreign policy has been elaborated into several priorities, as follows:

1. To protect the sovereignty and integrity of the Republic of Indonesia

2. To support the acceleration of national economy recovery

3. The improvement of the country’s good image

4. To provide public service and protection to Indonesian citizens.

Globalization and reform have rendered public roles “disignorable” in decision making processes related to the efforts to keep the country running, including in carrying out foreign policy. Moreover, the role of these publics should be developed as diplomatic actors in the informal channels, considering diplomacy can no longer be carried out by diplomats in mere formal context. The support from publics in international politics also determines the success of diplomacy.

Furthermore, public diplomacy will be explained in Theory and Concept.

II. Theory and Concept

It is relevant to say that the term “public diplomacy” was first initiated by the government of the United States of which meaning slightly differs from the meaning cited as the primary task and function of the Directorate of Public Diplomacy of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Public diplomacy refers to government-sponsored programs intended to inform or influence public opinion in other countries; its chief instruments are publications, motion pictures, cultural exchanges,

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