Articles for our times

The Politics of Military Reform in Post-Suharto Indonesia: Elite Conflict, Nationalism, and Institutional Resistance, by Marcus Mietzner. The abstract:

Since the fall of Suharto's New Order regime in 1998, Indonesia has launched a number of initiatives to reform its previously omnipotent armed forces. The extent to which these reforms have resulted in real political change, however, has been subject to heated debate in Indonesia and in capitals of Western donor countries. The two camps have often advanced highly antagonistic accounts of the military reform process. Human rights groups and political activists, on the one hand, have contended that despite formal reforms, there has been almost no change in the way the armed forces operate. They maintain that the military continues to influence, and even dominate, political and economic affairs. The opposing view, which is frequently argued by foreign proponents of restoring full military-to-military ties with Indonesia, states that the armed forces are now fully subordinated to civilian democratic control, and that substantial progress has been made in imposing international human rights standards on the troops.

This study presents an evaluation of military reform efforts in Indonesia eight years after Suharto's resignation. Applying the two-generation model of military reform developed by Cottey, Edmunds, and Forster, it proposes that Indonesia has made remarkable progress in advancing first-generation military reforms, which include extensive changes to the country's institutional framework, judicial system, electoral mechanisms, composition of representative bodies, and the responsibilities of security agencies. In combination, these reforms have successfully extracted the armed forces from formal politics, have undermined many of their institutional privileges, and have produced a polity in which the military arguably no longer holds veto power to overturn decisions made by the civilian government.

You can start the rest of your reading here.  The Wikipedia version is here.


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