Abandoned at Sea: The Tribunal Ruling and Indonesia's Missing Archipelagic Foreign Policy

Evan Laksmana, Ristian Supriyanto

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Indonesia's response to the 2016 UNCLOS tribunal ruling was underwhelming, even as a nonclaimant in the South China Sea disputes. Given its maritime geography and interests, the response is symptomatic of the country's underdevelopment of an "archipelagic foreign policy"—one where the entire foreign policy system, from its bureaucracy, doctrine, and strategy, should be geared to secure and defend its external maritime interests. This article further argues that the authoritarian New Order regime (1966-1998) repressed the development of an archipelagic foreign policy in two ways: (1) the army-dominated foreign policy establishment deprioritized external maritime interests and (2) the infusion of the National Resilience (Ketahanan Nasional) concept into the "Archipelagic Outlook" (Wawasan Nusantara) doctrine as a regime maintenance tool further "domesticated" what could have been a geopolitical outlook. These authoritarian legacies put Indonesia's foreign policy on a path-dependent trajectory that even President Joko Widodo's Global Maritime Fulcrum could not break.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)300-321pp
    JournalAsian Politics and Policy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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