London Telegraph’s naivete

President (Gen) Eisenhower did not make the US a military dictatorship

A rather naive opinion from the Telegraph suggests that the potential election of Gen. Yudhoyono as president of Indonesia will put that country in the same league as Pakistan, Peru, Venezuela or Russia.

There is a pattern in the political fortunes of nations recently freed from authoritarian rule. Democracy is welcomed after the long years of repression, but turns sour through the incompetence and/or corruption of the new governing class. A less liberal successor, while not reverting to the status quo ante, then attempts to restore order. Pakistan, Peru, Russia and Venezuela all provide variants on this theme. And today Indonesia is likely to join them.

The front-runner, Gen Yudhoyono, might win the 50 per cent of the vote needed to avoid a second round in September. As security minister under Megawati, he vigorously pursued suspects after the Bali bombing in 2002, and as presidential candidate has been more forthright than Gen Wiranto in his support of democracy.

He seems, therefore, the best of an indifferent bunch of contenders to run a country that harbours many Muslim extremists and straddles some of the world’s most important sea lanes. [The Telegraph]

Despite deep ethnic-religious diversities, post-crisis economic woes and a convoluted electoral process, Indonesia has been able to hold competitive democratic elections across its vast expanse. If Gen Yudhoyono is likely to win, it is because a majority of Indonesian voters would like him as leader. It is not because he used the state or military machinery to engineer a verdict in his favour.

Indonesia no doubt has its own problems tackling the menace of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, but it is doing much better in terms of developing into a democracy. Gen Yudhoyono will be closer to Eisenhower, Haig or Powell than to Musharraf and Chavez.

One thought on “London Telegraph’s naivete”

  1. Yes, I agree. Indonesia of today is far better informed and much more vocal compared to the time when Suharto took over. They will not let any elected leader to become a dictator.

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