Indonesia: A Pariah State?

As the world recoils, a political crisis may unfold in Jakarta

It has become one of the most disheartening horror stories in global diplomacy. Just four months ago, Indonesia seemed to be finally putting its shattered economy and political system back on track. Millions of Indonesians celebrated the downfall of strongman Suharto by overwhelmingly voting against the ruling party in the first democratic elections in four decades. The Indonesian military, under the seemingly enlightened leadership of a soft-spoken, surefooted general named Wiranto, appeared ready to yield to civilian leadership. Thanks to reforms mandated by the International Monetary Fund, the economy showed signs of recovery. And the long-brutalized population of East Timor won the right to vote for independence from a lame-duck President who craved international respect.

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