If we dont change direction soon, well end up where were going. This funny twist of words, attributed to Irwin Corey, could well sum up the political and economic situation facing Indonesia today. The question remains, Can Indonesia become a stable democracy? If not, where is it going?
In this recent case, Douglas Webber, Professor of Political Sciences, provides a succinct overview of the political, religious, and social history of the nation, outlining the forces that created current-day Indonesia and by extension, its current economic situation.
He starts the case with the July 2001 ousting of the countrys president, Abdurrahman Wahid, in favour of Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of Sukarno, Indonesias first president and co-founder of the independent state. Megawati, who had had only limited political experience, inherits a country that is still reeling from the 1997 Asian economic crisis, which sparked a period of extreme economic and political turbulence, leading to the collapse of the 32-year authoritarian regime of former army general, Suharto.