The End of the Global Maritime Fulcrum? Defense and Foreign Policy in the Second Jokowi Administration

Dr. Evan A. Laksmana
25 February 2020

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo first came into power in 2014 seeking to transform the country into the “Global Maritime Fulcrum”. The vision promised to elevate Indonesia as the geostrategic anchor of between the Pacific and Indian Oceans – and the thus the broader Indo-Pacific. Has Jokowi continue to pursue his grand strategic vision since he began his second term on 20 October 2019? How was Jokowi’s new cabinet structure an shape Indonesia’s defense and foreign policy? How effective is Indonesia’s approach to managing maritime crises with China? Can Indonesia balance the US-China strategic competition? The presentation seeks to answer these questions by examining the personal, bureaucratic, and domestic political contestations surrounding the new cabinet structure. It argues that the Global Maritime Fulcrum will no longer be Indonesia’s grand strategy and that the country’s defence and foreign policy will continue to be under-whelming.

About the Speaker: Dr. Evan A. Laksmana is a political scientist and senior researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has held visiting and research positions with the National Bureau of Asian Research, Sydney University’s Southeast Asia Centre, the Lowy Institute for International Policy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. His scholarly research has appeared Journal of Contemporary Asia, Asian Security, Asia Policy, Asian Politics & Policy, Defense & Security Analysis, Defence Studies, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Harvard Asia Quarterly, and others. His policy essays have been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, South China Morning Post, The Jakarta Post, East Asia Forum, The Strategist, and others. He has also written for RAND Corporation, Brookings Institution, International Institute for Strategic Studies, East-West Center, Royal United Services Institute, Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, and others. He earned his MA and PhD in political science from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs as a Fulbright Presidential Scholar. He also holds a MS in Strategic Studies from Nanyang Technological University and a BA in political science (Cum Laude) from Parahyangan Catholic University.

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