“Moving forward” in relations with Indonesia? The reality is otherwise says Nicholas Stuart

Writing in The Canberra Times (26 May 2012, page 7) columnist Nicholas Stuart says that Australia’s obsession with China’s rise has seemingly blinded us to the inexorable ascendency of Indonesia. Australia has benefited enormously from the stability of the archipelago to our north, he writes. “If Jakarta had really backed the militia violence in East Timor, thousands more would have died and we’d still be consumed in the conflict. By simply waving the armada of asylum seekers through, Indonesia could, within days, destroy the fiction that we possessed control of our borders.”

Stuart argues that, “if it wasn’t for the mining boom, Indonesia’s economic trajectory could have overtaken our own by now.” Indonesia, he says, is the fourth-largest country in the world by population and is a diverse, fascinating region that we should be interested in for its own sake. “A greater understanding of the vibrancy of the islands would enrich our lives, yet instead we go to Kuta to drink and party. The waste of opportunity is tragic.”

Read the opinion piece in full at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/opinion/australia-has-to-redirect-its-focus-and-engage-in-the-region-20120525-1zaj2.html?skin=text-only

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