Home / Articles / Regional Leadership through Strength?: Indonesian Foreign and Security Policies in Southeast Asia
With the enthusiasm surrounding the election of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, some have again speculated as to whether Indonesia will become the regional leader in Southeast Asia. That was the central question behind Joseph Chinyong Liow’s “Can Indonesia Fulfill Its Aspirations to Regional Leadership?” in which he argues that those aspirations are unlikely to be fulfilled, especially if it continues to focus on the same sort of initiatives it pursued over the last decade—initiatives that were “long on ambition but short on substance.” Unable to explain how such grand ideas would work in practice, Indonesia garnered little support from its Southeast Asian neighbors. In the future, Liow contends, such initiatives would face even higher hurdles. They would have to overcome new obstacles created by changes in the strategic environment due to the intensification of rivalries between Asia’s major powers, like China and Japan.