Walking the middle path: The characteristics of Indonesia's rise

Awidya Santikajaya

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    This article provides a framework to help understand Indonesia's rise. Although the study of emerging powers has flourished in recent years, much discussion is devoted to explaining large emerging powers, such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC). Indonesia's rise is overlooked because its material capabilities are less than those of the BRIC countries. In order to characterize the emergence of Indonesia, this article establishes a set of parameters to distinguish Indonesia from BRIC and middle powers. The parameters are: (1) attitude toward the international order; (2) performed role; and (3) nexus between regional and global roles. This article argues that Indonesia displays three characteristics that distinguish it from BRIC and middle powers - (1) soft-revisionist; (2) normative bridge building; and (3) accommodative regional leadership. The third and fourth sections of this article test these characteristics through G20 and climate change case studies. This article concludes that the characteristics of Indonesia's emergence are located in a conundrum between those of BRIC and middle powers. Although it shares some characteristics with BRIC countries, Indonesia is carefully trying to keep a distance from BRIC and to maintain strategic autonomy in relations with other international actors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)563-586
    JournalInternational Journal
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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