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Indonesian military’s growing influence in society

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  • Indonesian military’s growing influence in society

    [COLOR=#333333][FONT=PT Sans]Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu
    said the military hoped to establish nearly 900 training centres this year for a civilian defence corps known as Bela Negara (defend the country).
    [COLOR=#333333][FONT=PT Sans]Its mission is to defend against “proxy wars” waged by communists, gays, religious militants and other “foreign influences”, who want to divide the country and degrade its moral and nationalist values, the military says.[/FONT][/COLOR]
    [COLOR=#333333][FONT=PT Sans]The training centres will teach millions of students, doctors, civil servants and others survival skills, first aid, and Indonesian history – but no weapons training.[/FONT][/COLOR]
    [COLOR=#333333][FONT=PT Sans]“Bela Negara is a direct response to the threats we face from proxy wars,” said Hartin Asri, a military officer in charge of the programme.[/FONT][/COLOR]

    Have any of you seen or heard of any of these '900 training centres'?

    Do you feel that the military is taking on a larger role in the political life of Indonesia?

  • #2

    Indonesia’s new Defense White Paper, released at the end of April 2016 (originally due in 2013-2014, but delayed due to a change of administration and consultations)

    calls for the involvement of all elements within the nation — not only the army but also civilians — in an attempt to establish a defense posture. As part of this defense posture, Indonesia optimistically presents itself as the region’s rising power by bringing up the idea of “Bela Negara,” or Defending the State, as the plausible key to both facing the regional challenges ahead and further protecting Indonesia’s national interests. This is not new, though it is laid out in depth in the White Paper. Based on the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia article 30 (1), every citizen has the right and the duty to participate in the defense and security of the state. Ryamizard Ryacudu, Indonesian minister of defense, argued that the goal is to protect the values of Pancasila as the nation’s core principles, especially given the potential impact of globalization on the nation, especially the youth, in relation to nationalism. The paper presents Bela Negara as being different from “Wajib Militer” (military service) as “Bela Negara” is still a voluntary program.

    Without elucidation in the paper, however, it is hard to predict the extent to which it can contribute to the nation’s defense, and what the expense of such a policy may be. There remains a question of whether or not Indonesia urgently needs “Bela Negara.” Some critics believe that the policy’s costs may undermine the focus on economic development as a national priority. It also raises further questions of how Bela Negara, delivered by the Ministry of Defense, will influence civil-military relations, an issue that is attracting growing concern. Observers and analysts hoped the White Paper would focus on civil-military relations, but the issue was not addressed at all.


    • #3
      Perhaps this is an uncomfortable topic for many.


      • #4
        I haven't heard of the training centers outside of this thread and the links you provided. The interesting part, as I see it, is the teaching of "Indonesian history" in those centers. I'm totally reading that as "we will propaganda the crap out of any attendees". But, then, if you are preparing "[COLOR=#333333][FONT=PT Sans] to defend against “proxy wars” waged by ... gays[/FONT][/COLOR]" I suppose propaganda is your only weapon. Wow, what a waste of resources.


        • #5
          thanks for the reply. I thought that I had made a mistake in posting the topic since I'm not in Indonesia at the moment and don't know how sensitive references to the military might be.

          If this is really true, then preparing, opening, and managing 900 propaganda centres would be a huge and expensive project. Even managing 50 centres would be a headache.

          Maybe this will end up being a sort of club, with meetings held at private residences and where attendees (as opposed to the "[COLOR=#333333][FONT=PT Sans]millions of students, doctors, civil servants and others" [/FONT][/COLOR]) can wear a special pin as they view the 'propaganda film of the week' or something like that. preaching to the choir.


          • #6
            I don't think expats know much about how the Indonesian military really work, I had dealing with the AirForce once and they seem quite helpful and open to me and made some proposals I took to my boss, he wanted nothing to do with the proposals, the AirForce where totally unconcerned at the refusal, the only other thing expats might know is the Army and police occasionally have a shoot out over territory, or some slight


            • #7
              Like many countries Indonesia follows a "total defense" doctrine, known by its acronym Hankamrata, Pertahanan Keamanan Rakyat Semesta. The literal translation is Universal People's Security & Defense. To this end the armed forces (which in this context includes the national police) used to set up paramilitary organizations called Hansip (Pertahanan Sipil - Civil Defense) that morphed into Linmas (Perlindungan Masyarakat - Community Protection), Wanra (Perlawanan Rakyat - People's Resistance) and Kamra (Keamanan Rakyat - People's Security).

              During Soeharto's reign, the armed forces follows the dwifungsi (dual role) doctrine: acting as a 'stabilizing' force in both military and civic matters. In practice this means installing military officers in civilian government positions. This was widely resented, so reformasi governments after Soeharto did away with it, putting the military back in their barracks, so to speak.

              The military has always had a prominent (if not outright central) role in Indonesian society, thanks to Soeharto. Pretty much all government agencies has its own military-inspired uniform with colorful decorations. Even civilian groups in Indonesia have a penchant for dressing alike.

              It looks like the military is trying to regain some of its lost stature in Indonesia.


              • #8
                I remember there was a plan to make every citizen above 18 years old attend a one week "bela negara"

                well, if this will put some discipline in our youngsters as it was intended, I all for it.

                PS : About proxy wars, I think this is a move to counter radical movements who already denounce Pancasila and Indonesia openly that the previous president turn a blind eye.
                It's been to long they parade and hold large scale gatherings without government interference.
                Last edited by Yingyang; 06-06-16, 11:37.
                Spider pig spider pig, does whatever a spider pig can


                • #9
                  opinion regardng Indonesian defense policy,laid out in the recent 'white paper':

                  [SIZE=3]Strangely, an entire chapter is devoted exclusively to the State Defense program to “instil the stance and attitudes of citizens to love the country” by creating 100 million state defense members in the next 10 years. While the previous two DWPs also made brief references to it, the 2015 DWP conceives the concept in a radically preposterous manner.

                  Given that the program entails paramilitary training and indoctrination classes to imbue the participants in jingoism that may suppress inquisitive and critical appraisals of Indonesia’s national values, it reminded many of the Army-sanctioned “total people’s war” narrative associated with former president Soeharto’s rule. It raises legitimate fears that the concept risks becoming a form of politico-security mobilization bent on creating a generation of “yes-men” uncritical of defense and military policies. [/SIZE]