10.06.2024 Author: Nguyen Kien Van

The US Offers Vague Prospects For The New President Of Indonesia

The New President Of Indonesia

Less than six months have passed since the results of the presidential elections in Indonesia were announced. Meanwhile, Anglo-Saxon countries are already putting pressure on the new president. Can the largest Southeast Asian country withstand the pressure from the United States and avoid becoming a Western pawn?

The US attitude towards the results of the Indonesian presidential election

The Indonesian presidential election held on February 14, 2024 didn’t help the US gain geopolitical control over Indonesia. Indonesia hasn’t turned into a country that can be manipulated by Washington. During Joko Widodo’s 10-year rule, he tried to free himself from Washington’s influence and, despite the pressure, focused mainly on his country’s national interests when making political decisions. So, the US administration has been struggling to stay out of the game.

“Jakarta’s approach fueled Washington’s desire to meddle; however the US bet on its protégé failed”

Jakarta refused to support Israel in its aggression against Palestine in the Gaza Strip and did not join in imposing economic sanctions on Russia after it launched a war in Ukraine, which was not approved by the United States. Jakarta’s approach fueled Washington’s desire to meddle; however the US bet on its protege – the governor of Jakarta, former Minister of Culture and Education Anis Baswedan – failed. He received only a little over 20% of the votes and was rightfully considered a puppet of the West.

What happens when the plans fail?

When the plan failed, the US decided to turn to blackmailing the winner of the 2024 presidential election, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. During his military and political career, the newly elected president has built good relations with many people. In his international statements, one can hear his desire to maintain external relations and, above all, to respect his country’s interests, increase its economic and military power, and enhance its role on the international stage, including taking on the role of peacemaker and mediator in resolving conflicts. Such a leader clearly did not suit the West, which immediately launched a large-scale information campaign after the election results were published to discredit him in the media.

According to the Western press, Mr. Prabowo Subianto is a powerful political figure accused of numerous human rights abuses, a fierce nationalist, and a defender of Muslims. He is also a loyal supporter of the current president, Joko Widodo, who has few personal achievements of his own.

“A lot of people are scared,” Vasisto Raharjo Jati, a researcher at the U.S. National Agency for Research and Innovation, shared on social media. “This is because we are haunted by the phobia of the New Order era.”

How did it all begin?

Vasisto was probably referring to the rule of Prabowo’s father-in-law, Suharto. During Suharto’s time in power, the current president was the commander of the Special Forces. In 1998, he was accused by the US of ordering the kidnapping of political opponents, after which he was dismissed from the military. More than a dozen people have disappeared, a record that has kept him from entering the US for nearly two decades.

However, in 2020, the American administration changed its stance, and Subianto, who had been accused of genocide against the population of East Timor, was able to visit Washington for talks with the Minister of Defense, Lloyd Austin. Amnesty International called on the US President to cancel the visit, however, as early as 2023, the watchdog had nothing against Washington concluding an agreement with Jakarta on defense cooperation.

An attempt to switch from “sticks to carrots”

“He did not bow to the influence of the United States and their desire to use Indonesia as a counterweight to China”

Since then, Americans have been using complimentary rhetoric towards Indonesia. However, it seems that they are trying to scare the new Indonesian President with exaggerated evidence of his past military career under Suharto. Thousands of online articles continue to emerge that allegedly expose Subianto’s alleged actions.

The US’s dissatisfaction with Prabowo Subianto’s new appointment is also due to his refusal to “make friends against someone.” He did not bow to the influence of the United States and their desire to use Indonesia as a counterweight to China. In 2023, the Pentagon released a joint statement saying that Subianto and Austin had allegedly condemned China’s expansion, but Prabowo denied this information and stressed that Indonesia has excellent relations with China.

The current president of Indonesia has a strong belief that the country has the potential to become one of the world’s most developed economies. He also believes that Indonesia has the potential to achieve energy self-sufficiency through the use of green energy sources. Subianto has emphasized that Indonesia should be able to manage its resources independently. This is what motivates him, and it is important to continue on this path and follow the national interests, so that Indonesia does not become an American satellite.


NGUYEN Kien Van, political observer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

Related articles: