UNAIR expert review Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s foreign policy

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – Radityo Dharmaputra S.Hub.Int., M. Hub. Int. and the team reviewed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s (SBY) foreign policy. According to him, in the era of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2004-2014) Indonesia tried to redefine its international identity which had long been obscured by problems of the legacy of New Order such as the domestic transition and economic development.

In his first address to DPR on August 15, 2005, SBY expressed his views on Indonesia’s foreign policy. He believes that Indonesia’s foreign policy must be based on diplomacy and multilateralism which not only fulfills national interests such as national unity and stability but also includes broader ambitions namely the realization of peace at regional and global levels.

“SBY also stated his idea to make Indonesia a modern country based on three main pillars: a strong economy, modern and stable democracy and a developing civilization,” he said.

In that context, observers agreed that Indonesia in SBY era adopted a proactive and global profile foreign policy which in its implementation focused on projecting democratic Islamic identity and fulfilling an active role in international institutions. However, even though there is an agreement that SBY’s foreign policy is more dynamic and tends to be globalist compared to the previous period, there is a narrative that Indonesia’s foreign policy always “punching below its weight”.

“That, Indonesia’s foreign policy is unable to fulfill the existing potential,” he said.

Furthermore, he and the team argued that it was essential to look at discourse about the discrepancy between vision and rhetoric with foreign policy practices through a different analysis from the previous writers. Rather than focusing on domestic challenges and limited resources, he said, there were limitations in the realization of SBY’s globalist policies because there were limiting patterns of Indonesia’s strategic culture.

“This can be seen from the rhetoric of foreign policy with an outward orientation to improve Indonesia’s international status bound by Indonesia’s strategic cultural identity structure that emphasizes foreign policy orientation that tends to be defensive and looks inward,” he said.

In the end, he stressed that based on the explanation, so there is a new understanding that can be a contribution to the discourse on foreign policy. Specifically, his party hopes for a more in-depth knowledge related to the relationship between identity and foreign policy.

“Not only that, at the theoretical level, we hope to provide a new perspective in analyzing foreign policy through a combination of poststructuralist discourse analysis with the concept of strategic culture,” he concluded.

Author: Nuri Hermawan

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia



Radityo Dharmaputra, Agastya Wardhana, M. Anugrah Pratama. 2019. A Forced Continuity? Tracing Indonesian Strategic Culture in Yudhoyono’s Foreign Policy (2004-2014). 23卷2期 (2019 / 10 / 01) , P81 – 139.

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Media komunikasi dan informasi seputar kampus Universitas Airlangga (Unair).

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