Thursday, December 31, 2015

Promotion of democracy should still be a foreign policy priority

Dyah Widiastuti
, Jakarta | January 09 2015 | 11:07 AM
- See more at: http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/09/promotion-democracy-should-still-be-a-foreign-policy-priority.html#sthash.piZDrNl1.dpuf

Dyah Widiastuti
, Jakarta | January 09 2015 | 11:07 AM 


As the new administration starts working, Indonesia’s foreign policy practitioners and commentators are discussing whether Indonesia should continue its active role in the promotion of democracy (and human rights) in the region and beyond.

Some propose that it should no longer be a priority, as Indonesia is now focusing on economic diplomacy and other agendas more tangible in their economic benefits.

Yet the promotion of democracy as part of Indonesia’s foreign policy agenda has far more potential advantages than costs.

First, democracy has been the game-changer for Indonesia’s foreign policy for at least the past ten years. International recognition of Indonesia’s democracy has resulted in the country gaining a positive reputation.

Our diplomats today need no longer waste most of their energy defending authoritarianism, or justifying human rights violations back home. Commitment and consistency in promoting democratic values will strengthen this recognition and reputation, helping us to keep our international image on the right track.

Indonesia’s track record on projecting and promoting democracy abroad is a legacy too precious to be wasted. Based on the belief that democracy would promote peace and stability in the region and the world, former foreign ministers Hassan Wirajuda and Marty Natalegawa worked hard to build a more democratic ASEAN, for the country to be entrusted as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and be the co-founder and chair of the global Open Government Partnership and to establish the Bali Democracy Forum as the premier democracy forum in the Asia Pacific region.

Second, democracy is in line with Indonesia’s aspiration to pursue a “middle power diplomacy”, as outlined in President’s Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s agenda. Experts define “middle power” not only by the size of a country’s military and economic resources, but also for its “good international citizenship”, which is associated with the attitude of democracies: pro-multilateralism and seeking compromise in conflicts.

Third, Indonesia’s assertive stance on democracy is essential in building “soft power”, which can be utilized to achieve foreign policy goals. For the past decade, Indonesia has been attractive for being the world’s third-largest democracy and the home to the largest Muslim population.

President Jokowi himself is a directly elected civilian and was hugely supported by pro-democracy elements during the electoral campaign.

Indonesia’s assertive voice on democratic values will help win the hearts and minds of the international community, who are predominantly in favor of democracy.

Fourth, Indonesia’s consistency in democracy will potentially have a positive impact on economic diplomacy and other priorities. Shared democratic values have been the basis of many bilateral strategic partnerships, facilitating better economic relationship. For instance, this applies to the Indonesia — US Comprehensive Partnership launched in 2010.

Finally, commitment to democracy in foreign policy could strengthen domestic democratic consolidation.

Indonesia’s long-term development plan targets a “consolidated democracy” by 2025. A clear democratic voice when we are abroad will hopefully encourage domestic actors to work more vigorously to strengthen democracy at home.

Skeptics may label Indonesia’s assertive voice in promoting democracy and human rights abroad a mere attempt at image building by the former administration. But careful observers would note that in the last 16 years, Indonesia has made real attempts to project democracy in its foreign policy, and has worked hard to consolidate democracy domestically.

Regardless of imperfect results, the government has even produced the Indonesia Democracy Index (IDI), issued annually since 2009, to measure democratic performance at the provincial level.

Sharing lessons, voicing ideas, pursuing cooperation, setting agendas and proposing candidacies for democracy-and human rights-related areas in international forums by Indonesian diplomats should be continued, or even strengthened.
______________
The writer holds an MSc in International Public Policy from University College London. She is the author of Does Democracy Matter in Foreign Policy? : Indonesia’s Foreign Policy Strategy under Autocracy and Democracy.

In the Jakarta Post: http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/09/promotion-democracy-should-still-be-a-foreign-policy-priority.html

ps: this piece is published a day after Indonesia's Minister of Foreign Affairs did her first PPTM (Pernyataan Pers Tahunan Menteri Luar Negeri) or Annual Press Statement 
As the new administration starts working, Indonesia’s foreign policy practitioners and commentators are discussing whether Indonesia should continue its active role in the promotion of democracy (and human rights) in the region and beyond.

Some propose that it should no longer be a priority, as Indonesia is now focusing on economic diplomacy and other agendas more tangible in their economic benefits.

Yet the promotion of democracy as part of Indonesia’s foreign policy agenda has far more potential advantages than costs.

First, democracy has been the game-changer for Indonesia’s foreign policy for at least the past ten years. International recognition of Indonesia’s democracy has resulted in the country gaining a positive reputation.

Our diplomats today need no longer waste most of their energy defending authoritarianism, or justifying human rights violations back home. Commitment and consistency in promoting democratic values will strengthen this recognition and reputation, helping us to keep our international image on the right track.

Indonesia’s track record on projecting and promoting democracy abroad is a legacy too precious to be wasted. Based on the belief that democracy would promote peace and stability in the region and the world, former foreign ministers Hassan Wirajuda and Marty Natalegawa worked hard to build a more democratic ASEAN, for the country to be entrusted as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and be the co-founder and chair of the global Open Government Partnership and to establish the Bali Democracy Forum as the premier democracy forum in the Asia Pacific region.

Second, democracy is in line with Indonesia’s aspiration to pursue a “middle power diplomacy”, as outlined in President’s Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s agenda. Experts define “middle power” not only by the size of a country’s military and economic resources, but also for its “good international citizenship”, which is associated with the attitude of democracies: pro-multilateralism and seeking compromise in conflicts.

Third, Indonesia’s assertive stance on democracy is essential in building “soft power”, which can be utilized to achieve foreign policy goals. For the past decade, Indonesia has been attractive for being the world’s third-largest democracy and the home to the largest Muslim population.

President Jokowi himself is a directly elected civilian and was hugely supported by pro-democracy elements during the electoral campaign.

Indonesia’s assertive voice on democratic values will help win the hearts and minds of the international community, who are predominantly in favor of democracy.

Fourth, Indonesia’s consistency in democracy will potentially have a positive impact on economic diplomacy and other priorities. Shared democratic values have been the basis of many bilateral strategic partnerships, facilitating better economic relationship. For instance, this applies to the Indonesia — US Comprehensive Partnership launched in 2010.

Finally, commitment to democracy in foreign policy could strengthen domestic democratic consolidation.

Indonesia’s long-term development plan targets a “consolidated democracy” by 2025. A clear democratic voice when we are abroad will hopefully encourage domestic actors to work more vigorously to strengthen democracy at home.

Skeptics may label Indonesia’s assertive voice in promoting democracy and human rights abroad a mere attempt at image building by the former administration. But careful observers would note that in the last 16 years, Indonesia has made real attempts to project democracy in its foreign policy, and has worked hard to consolidate democracy domestically.

Regardless of imperfect results, the government has even produced the Indonesia Democracy Index (IDI), issued annually since 2009, to measure democratic performance at the provincial level.

Sharing lessons, voicing ideas, pursuing cooperation, setting agendas and proposing candidacies for democracy-and human rights-related areas in international forums by Indonesian diplomats should be continued, or even strengthened.
______________
The writer holds an MSc in International Public Policy from University College London. She is the author of Does Democracy Matter in Foreign Policy? : Indonesia’s Foreign Policy Strategy under Autocracy and Democracy.
- See more at: http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/09/promotion-democracy-should-still-be-a-foreign-policy-priority.html#sthash.rSsKKEXR.dpuf
As the new administration starts working, Indonesia’s foreign policy practitioners and commentators are discussing whether Indonesia should continue its active role in the promotion of democracy (and human rights) in the region and beyond.

Some propose that it should no longer be a priority, as Indonesia is now focusing on economic diplomacy and other agendas more tangible in their economic benefits.

Yet the promotion of democracy as part of Indonesia’s foreign policy agenda has far more potential advantages than costs.

First, democracy has been the game-changer for Indonesia’s foreign policy for at least the past ten years. International recognition of Indonesia’s democracy has resulted in the country gaining a positive reputation.

Our diplomats today need no longer waste most of their energy defending authoritarianism, or justifying human rights violations back home. Commitment and consistency in promoting democratic values will strengthen this recognition and reputation, helping us to keep our international image on the right track.

Indonesia’s track record on projecting and promoting democracy abroad is a legacy too precious to be wasted. Based on the belief that democracy would promote peace and stability in the region and the world, former foreign ministers Hassan Wirajuda and Marty Natalegawa worked hard to build a more democratic ASEAN, for the country to be entrusted as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and be the co-founder and chair of the global Open Government Partnership and to establish the Bali Democracy Forum as the premier democracy forum in the Asia Pacific region.

Second, democracy is in line with Indonesia’s aspiration to pursue a “middle power diplomacy”, as outlined in President’s Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s agenda. Experts define “middle power” not only by the size of a country’s military and economic resources, but also for its “good international citizenship”, which is associated with the attitude of democracies: pro-multilateralism and seeking compromise in conflicts.

Third, Indonesia’s assertive stance on democracy is essential in building “soft power”, which can be utilized to achieve foreign policy goals. For the past decade, Indonesia has been attractive for being the world’s third-largest democracy and the home to the largest Muslim population.

President Jokowi himself is a directly elected civilian and was hugely supported by pro-democracy elements during the electoral campaign.

Indonesia’s assertive voice on democratic values will help win the hearts and minds of the international community, who are predominantly in favor of democracy.

Fourth, Indonesia’s consistency in democracy will potentially have a positive impact on economic diplomacy and other priorities. Shared democratic values have been the basis of many bilateral strategic partnerships, facilitating better economic relationship. For instance, this applies to the Indonesia — US Comprehensive Partnership launched in 2010.

Finally, commitment to democracy in foreign policy could strengthen domestic democratic consolidation.

Indonesia’s long-term development plan targets a “consolidated democracy” by 2025. A clear democratic voice when we are abroad will hopefully encourage domestic actors to work more vigorously to strengthen democracy at home.

Skeptics may label Indonesia’s assertive voice in promoting democracy and human rights abroad a mere attempt at image building by the former administration. But careful observers would note that in the last 16 years, Indonesia has made real attempts to project democracy in its foreign policy, and has worked hard to consolidate democracy domestically.

Regardless of imperfect results, the government has even produced the Indonesia Democracy Index (IDI), issued annually since 2009, to measure democratic performance at the provincial level.

Sharing lessons, voicing ideas, pursuing cooperation, setting agendas and proposing candidacies for democracy-and human rights-related areas in international forums by Indonesian diplomats should be continued, or even strengthened.
______________
The writer holds an MSc in International Public Policy from University College London. She is the author of Does Democracy Matter in Foreign Policy? : Indonesia’s Foreign Policy Strategy under Autocracy and Democracy.
- See more at: http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/09/promotion-democracy-should-still-be-a-foreign-policy-priority.html#sthash.rSsKKEXR.dpuf
As the new administration starts working, Indonesia’s foreign policy practitioners and commentators are discussing whether Indonesia should continue its active role in the promotion of democracy (and human rights) in the region and beyond.

Some propose that it should no longer be a priority, as Indonesia is now focusing on economic diplomacy and other agendas more tangible in their economic benefits.

Yet the promotion of democracy as part of Indonesia’s foreign policy agenda has far more potential advantages than costs.

First, democracy has been the game-changer for Indonesia’s foreign policy for at least the past ten years. International recognition of Indonesia’s democracy has resulted in the country gaining a positive reputation.

Our diplomats today need no longer waste most of their energy defending authoritarianism, or justifying human rights violations back home. Commitment and consistency in promoting democratic values will strengthen this recognition and reputation, helping us to keep our international image on the right track.

Indonesia’s track record on projecting and promoting democracy abroad is a legacy too precious to be wasted. Based on the belief that democracy would promote peace and stability in the region and the world, former foreign ministers Hassan Wirajuda and Marty Natalegawa worked hard to build a more democratic ASEAN, for the country to be entrusted as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and be the co-founder and chair of the global Open Government Partnership and to establish the Bali Democracy Forum as the premier democracy forum in the Asia Pacific region.

Second, democracy is in line with Indonesia’s aspiration to pursue a “middle power diplomacy”, as outlined in President’s Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s agenda. Experts define “middle power” not only by the size of a country’s military and economic resources, but also for its “good international citizenship”, which is associated with the attitude of democracies: pro-multilateralism and seeking compromise in conflicts.

Third, Indonesia’s assertive stance on democracy is essential in building “soft power”, which can be utilized to achieve foreign policy goals. For the past decade, Indonesia has been attractive for being the world’s third-largest democracy and the home to the largest Muslim population.

President Jokowi himself is a directly elected civilian and was hugely supported by pro-democracy elements during the electoral campaign.

Indonesia’s assertive voice on democratic values will help win the hearts and minds of the international community, who are predominantly in favor of democracy.

Fourth, Indonesia’s consistency in democracy will potentially have a positive impact on economic diplomacy and other priorities. Shared democratic values have been the basis of many bilateral strategic partnerships, facilitating better economic relationship. For instance, this applies to the Indonesia — US Comprehensive Partnership launched in 2010.

Finally, commitment to democracy in foreign policy could strengthen domestic democratic consolidation.

Indonesia’s long-term development plan targets a “consolidated democracy” by 2025. A clear democratic voice when we are abroad will hopefully encourage domestic actors to work more vigorously to strengthen democracy at home.

Skeptics may label Indonesia’s assertive voice in promoting democracy and human rights abroad a mere attempt at image building by the former administration. But careful observers would note that in the last 16 years, Indonesia has made real attempts to project democracy in its foreign policy, and has worked hard to consolidate democracy domestically.

Regardless of imperfect results, the government has even produced the Indonesia Democracy Index (IDI), issued annually since 2009, to measure democratic performance at the provincial level.

Sharing lessons, voicing ideas, pursuing cooperation, setting agendas and proposing candidacies for democracy-and human rights-related areas in international forums by Indonesian diplomats should be continued, or even strengthened.
______________
The writer holds an MSc in International Public Policy from University College London. She is the author of Does Democracy Matter in Foreign Policy? : Indonesia’s Foreign Policy Strategy under Autocracy and Democracy.
- See more at: http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/09/promotion-democracy-should-still-be-a-foreign-policy-priority.html#sthash.rSsKKEXR.dpuf