Monthly Archives: March 2018

Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Social Media Diplomacy: A Short Review

On Saturday, October 8, 2016, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi attended a bloggers and social media activists meeting (known as “kopi darat”) at the 2016 Kompasianival event. The presence of Foreign Minister Retno at this event was interesting because this is the first time a senior Indonesian diplomat has spoken about the use of social media in diplomacy.

In her keynote speech Foreign Minister Retno said  “Diplomats now live in an era of real time diplomacy. A diplomat must be responsive and able to interact in social media. Interaction in social media is important because it can be done at any time without boundaries with a very diverse substance.”

From Foreign Minister Retno’s statement, it appears that since the beginning of her leadership in the Foreign Ministry, the Foreign Minister has given priority to the use of social media to support diplomatic activities. The Foreign Minister realized that the use of technology and digital tools has changed the practices of diplomacy. New non-state actors are emerging enough rapidly, reshaping the international landscape and forcing foreign policy practitioners to rebalance their focus to accommodate new priorities, engage with civil society, and open the process.

Roles of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Implementing Maritime Economic Diplomacy

On February 20, 2017, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) signed Presidential Regulation no. 16 on the “Indonesian Ocean Policy (IOP)”. The document embodies a major narrative to develop Indonesia from its ocean. It is founded upon 6 principles, 7 policy pillars and 76 strategic policies ranging from marine and human resources strategy, maritime security policies, ocean governance matters, maritime economy paths and maritime diplomacy strategies. It is an integrated, comprehensive and coherent document that contains strategic vision, measurable policy outcomes and a concrete timeline.

It is interesting that Indonesia finally has a comprehensive documentt to steer all government agencies towards a single, unified direction: to realise the Global Maritime Fulcrum vision of President Jokowi to be a strong maritime nation. Interesting too, apparently in addition to domestic use, the IOP document also attracted the attention of the international community. Many seen the IOP document as a strategic document that projects Indonesia’s interest and adaptive strategy to adapt to and counteract strategies of various key players in the region. As Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and the largest country in the region, it is crucial to observe and examine how this major narrative and strategic document will interact with and affect Indonesian and regional geopolitics.

Challenges on Meeting Sustainable Palm Oil Goal and Standard in Indonesia

Palm oil is an essential contributor to the Indonesian economy,  particularly in rural livelihoods. The Central Bureau of Statistics noted that in 2017, Indonesia’s export of palm oil and its derivative products was still the largest foreign exchange contributor to Indonesia.

Indonesia is the largest producer of palm oil in the world. Indonesia produced more than 35 million tons of palm oil, 25 million tons of which were exported worldwide. The export value of Indonesian palm oil is around $17 billion, making up more than 12 percent of total exports in the country. It is predicted that up to 10 years, the volume and export value of palm oil and its derivative products will continue to increase.

Since palm oil has a positive contribution to Indonesia’s economy and creating benefits to the wellbeing of farmers, so the efforts of many countries to ban the export of palm oil Indonesia can be considered as an attempt to disrupt the national interests of Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Role to Strengthen Global Assets Recovery Cooperation

Nowdays, no doubt that corruption is one of the greatest obstacle of economic and social development around the world. As stated by Lord Acton, “power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupt absolutely”,  corruption does not just steal money from where it is needed the most, it leads to weak governance as well as encourage abuse of power in the government.

Besides causing abuse of power, corruption has also caused huge financial losses to countries where corruptors are suspected of hiding their stolen property in other countries. For example, corruptors in Indonesia are known to keep their corruption in Singapore, Australia, America and Switzerland. Not only the moneu, the property is even protected by bank secrecy rules that are generally applied to developed countries where corrupt assets are kept.

It is very apprehensive and ‘sad’ where corruptors from Indonesia, countries with high corruption rates, their corrupt assets are protected by countries with low corruption rates. This inequality certainly raises the question of whether the borrowed funds of poor and developing countries are derived from corrupt money laundered or stored in the Bank of the rich countries.

Implementing Ethical Leadership in Indonesia Foreign Policy to Resolve Myanmar’s Rakhine State Crisis

In today’s globalized world, all nations are interconnected socially, economically, and politically.  As a result, the dilemma of considering ethics when implementing foreign policy often arises. Many theorists argue that ethics and moral would be considered when implementing foreign policy. The obligations and moral responsibilities of nation State’s were confined to their citizens and this was reflected in the process of foreign policy making. Strategies were also chosen by the State to safeguard its national interests through achievement of its goals in international relations.

In this regard, as I mentioned in my previous blog, in order to contribute to the ecosystem of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and in the midst of the uncertainty of resolving the humanitarian crisis at Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Indonesia has been actively involved to terminate conflicts and violence as well as seek solution of the problem. Indonesia took the initiative to assist the resolution of the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. While ASEAN and most of the ASEAN countries did not exert adequate pressure to the Myanmar leaders to take back the Rohingyas and ensure peace and security in Myanmar’s Rakhine state,

Then the question raised, is Indonesia’s foreign policy to assist Myanmar’s Rakhine State as a part of Indonesia’s ethical and moral responsibility since ethics and morality are inextricably linked to the practice of foreign policy making ?.