Pragmatic Equidistance: How Indonesia Manages its Great Power Relations
China, the United States, and the Future of Southeast Asia, ed. David Denoon (New York University Press, 2017), pp. 113-135
23 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2016 Last revised: 26 Oct 2018
Date Written: January 15, 2016
This chapter describes the rationale and nature of Indonesia’s foreign policy vis-à-vis the United States and China. It places Indonesia’s foreign policy pertaining to these two countries within the broader context of Jakarta’s overall management of its great power relations. I argue that Indonesia’s approach can be described as one of ‘pragmatic equidistance’. As an approach to great power management, pragmatic equidistance captures the idea of fully engaging one great power in various forms of cooperation — from economic to defense matters — while simultaneously maintaining both strategic autonomy and keeping equal balance with other great powers.
Keywords: Indonesia, Southeast Asia, China, ASEAN, Foreign Policy, US-China relations
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