The Indonesian Military after the New Order

The Indonesian Military after the New Order
Sukardi Rinakit, author
Date of publication:  2005
Publisher:  Institute of Southeast Asian Studies/Nordic Institute of Asian Studies
Number of pages:  278
Code:  BM256


"Well researched and sourced, Sukardi Rinakit's book will surely prove useful to anyone interested in the basics of the Indonesian security apparatus. The various phases in the military's history are well covered, as are the evolving ideologies such as General Nasution's 'middle way', the dwifungsi (dual function), and the military's latest 'new paradigm'. High level access allows Rinakit to write extensively about the military from an elite perspective. The author even managed to secure an interview with former president Suharto. What follows is a comprehensive study of the socio-political role of the military in each phase of its short history, set against the inherent struggles for greater professionalism and reform that characterise the post-Suharto era" (Aseasuk News).

"With the return of democracy in 1998, Indonesians could resume writing about their military history analytically, rather than through the lens of some Orwellian ideology. Sukardi Rinakit had the advantage of working within the state bureaucracy as a ministerial speech writer in the key ministries of defence and home affairs. In researching the book he was able to interview some of the key actors in Indonesia's democratic transition, as well as former President Soeharto. The book focuses on the Indonesian military's role in securing the soeharto regime and in the transition to democracy" (Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies).

"Sukardi's book is welcome because it provides another re-examination of the evolving phenomenon that is the Indonesian military, advancing an interesting thesis concerning its adjustment to the new political circumstances. Essentially Sukardi argues that the military has returned to a former operational paradigm, the so-called 'Middle Way' associated with General Nasution, because this paradigm better accommodates fulfilment of the military's goal to retain (or regain) its central (though now less dominant) socio-political role (p.213). Sukardi's book also provides a useful update of the military's engagement with political events in the first years since the overthrow of Soeharto. It also includes an extended treatment of military politics during the transition, in so doing providing another account of the transition itself, a key event, of course, in Indonesia's recent history" (Pacific Affairs).

About the publication

Because the military is an integral part of Indonesia's power structure, it is of interest to anyone studying Indonesian affairs. The author is a former ghostwriter at the Indonesian Ministries of Home Affairs and Defence. He is privy to the internal dynamics of the military and has personally interviewed such untouchable figures as former President Soeharto. As such, this is an up-to-date, well-informed study providing a useful contribution to the literature, particularly with regard to the younger generation of the military.

Co-publication: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies/Nordic Institute of Asian Studies


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