Understanding the cause of declining Maritime Fulcrum Agenda performance

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Illustration(Source: Kompas)

UNAIR NEWS – The ideal of a global maritime fulcrum had been a strategic idea promoted greatly in Joko Widodo’s first term administration. The agenda tries to realize Indonesia as a fulcrum of global maritime activity given Indonesia’s geographical position which is in an intersection between two continents and oceans. If it is achieved, this idea will guarantee connectivity between islands, maritime resources, enforcement of security and law in the sea, as well as of course Indonesia’s central role in international trade activities. 

Unfortunately, during the second term of President Joko Widodo’s leadership, this idea gradually showed declining performance. It has led many experts to believe that the government has shifted their focus away from this strategic idea. One of the experts of UNAIR, International Relations (HI) lecturer, Joko Susanto, S.IP., M.Sc. viewed that the agenda of the global maritime fulcrum has experienced a downfall.

“Initially, this doctrine received a very positive response from the public. But following the existing developments, there are several reasons that make this doctrine fail. Moreover, it is followed by the issue of corruption and scandal from related ministries, ” explained the Executive Director of the Emerging Indonesia Project (EIP).

According to Joko, the first problem that arises is the structural limitations behind the global maritime fulcrum initiative. If you follow Alfred Mahan’s theory of maritime geopolitics, a country that wants to have a strong maritime policy must also have a strong commitment and policy in the economic aspect.

Unfortunately, according to data, Indonesia still has a low export quantity compared to neighboring countries such as Malaysia or Thailand. Likewise, the fisheries and marine sectors are still minimal. “In fact, trade activities are one of the economic aspects that will play a very important role and determine the success of maritime policy,” he added.

The second problem is in terms of geopolitical limitations, in which Indonesia’s position is still weak, particularly in terms of infrastructure and the political views of each actor. The government has a limited capital allocation and different points of view in an effort to realize the global maritime fulcrum.

“Compared to emerging countries, Indonesia is more accurately described as the big boy at the crossroads who is still groping for its strength and strategic position. President Jokowi finally realized this, and later changed the word axis which is more central and broad to become the word fulcrum, “ he explained.

The next problem is the limitations in the tradition of Indonesian foreign policy which has always been oriented towards the region. Indonesia has a strong influence in ASEAN, but lacks a strong position among large countries with high economic activity. This orientation then makes it difficult for Indonesia to develop a global maritime fulcrum idea.

“The idea of ​​a world maritime fulcrum should be more outward lookingSo from the ASEAN regional region, it should be seen as a stepping stone to gain influence at the international level, “he explained in the international webinar Beyond Indonesia’s Global Maritime Fulcrum: Prospects and Challenges held by CSGS HI UNAIR.

The failing agenda on the global maritime fulcrum made Joko view that Indonesia’s only hope of gaining influence in maritime geopolitics is the vision of an Advanced Indonesia campaigned by President Joko Widodo in his second term of administration.

The Vision of Indonesia Maju wanted to focus on connectivity through revitalizing fundamental structures and increasing exports and the global economy. This focus is considered to be the answer to the missing link that previously had not been able to be accommodated in the previous administration.

However, there are still great challenges to at least approach the ideals of the world’s maritime fulcrum. The administration must be able to boost the blue economy, or sustainable use of marine resources for economic development. Because until now the largest foreign exchange contributor is still dominated by the tourism sector, which incidentally does not really influence the development of strong maritime policies.

“Apart from that, the administration must also have the courage to break through tradition and choose steps with more impact. Either doing middle power diplomacy or starting to move in the Indo-Pacific region more. Of course, this must also be followed by commitment and large capital for the realization of this vision, “he said.

Author: Intang Arifia

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia

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