Links on Indonesia’s next foreign minister

A few interesting stories on Indonesia’s next foreign minister this week.

First off, The Jakarta Globe ran a story essentially arguing that current foreign minister Marty Natalegawa should remain in his post when Jokowi announces his cabinet lineup in October.

That Marty is a frontrunner is no surprise. Many credited him with maintaining, if not raising, Indonesia’s regional and global profile under president Yudhoyono. A recent poll conducted by the Jokowi Center, a volunteer network, puts Marty as the most popular candidate for the post under Jokowi’s first term.

But today, in an op-ed for The Jakarta Post, former Ambassador to Switzerland and PAN lawmaker Djoko Susilo argued that the foreign ministry’s institutional development has been in decline under Marty’s tenure. The article also gave an insider’s perspective on the bureaucratic challenges running a foreign ministry with global ambitions supporter by a budget of only around $550 million (for details on the foreign ministry reform under Marty’s predecessor, Hassan Wirajuda, see Greta Nabbs-Keller’s paper)

Meanwhile, current deputy foreign minister Dino Patti Djalal (former ambassador to the US and presidential candidate hopeful), said today that he would be willing to serve as foreign minister “if the Republic calls me.”

Aside from these two names, there are other candidates swirling around the Jakarta rumor mill.

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Bracing for the game of thrones in Asia’s future

“We’re back, Asia Pacific. Don’t worry about China’s bullish behavior. Our leadership — underpinned by our growing military presence and new economic ties — will lead to regional stability and prosperity. Sure, we have our economic problems and two wars that continue to drag our feet, but Asia is our future and so we will be around.”

In a simplified and stylized nutshell, this seems to be the oft-cited mantra coming out of Washington these days with regards to the United States of America’s renewed engagement of Asia.

Little wonder that some pundits are looking favorably at the recent announcement by US President Barack Obama on the eve of the East Asia Summit in Bali this week that the US will expand its defense ties with Australia and would in the future “permanently” station around 2,500 Marines in Darwin.

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