Indonesia in Flames

Americans are waking up to Indonesia for the first time since the attempted communist coup and subsequent massacres of 1965-66, which brought the downfall of the charismatic autocrat Sukamo and the rise of Soeharto, later dramatized by Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver in The Year of Living Dangerously. Now, after three decades of progress, multiple crises have again hit Indonesia, and it is Soeharto who lives dangerously in spite of his recent reelection at age seventy-six for a seventh term as president. Financial chaos, inflation, unemployment, hunger, and civil commotion are “all on him,” as Indonesians say. And his judgment, which once seemed unerring, is troubled.

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