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Former Indonesian VP Jusuf Kalla: The pandemic, China, Israel, the US...

Former Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla joined a webinar co-hosted by AIJAC. The conversation covered Indonesia's response to COVID-19 and the region's economic status; Indonesia's relations with Australia, the United States and China; and the challenges and opportunities for progress in Indonesian-Israeli relations.

COVID-19 and the Fate of Indonesian Democracy

While no government should be blamed for a pandemic, how they respond to it is fair game. And what we have seen from the Indonesian Government’s initial response has been inept, poorly communicated, indecisive, lacking transparency, and based on short-term economic calculations, not science.

Asia Watch: Stress Test

Given their proximity to the initial epicentre China, South East Asian nations reside in the first line of vulnerability... In the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the apparent lack of preparedness portends an unfolding disaster.

Asia Watch: They said it

Reflexive hostility towards Israel and sympathy for the Palestinians has been institutionalised into the foreign policies of Malaysia and, in a different way, Indonesia for several decades... There was a certain predictability in the response to the release of the Trump Administration’s peace plan for the Middle East.

The Last Word: Among the believers

From Surabaya to Cirebon, in Rembang and Jakarta, I was the first Jewish person ever encountered by nearly everyone whom I met. 

A distinctive Islamic voice against extremism 

Indonesia can use Islam as a source of diplomatic “soft power” diplomacy by promoting moderate, tolerant, humanitarian Islam.

Asia Watch: Lonely at the top

Amid the pomp and ceremony of Jokowi’s inauguration for a second term as President, many analysts conclude that despite trouncing his opponent, Prabowo Subianto, by an 11-point margin in April, the irony is that Jokowi has never appeared weaker – increasingly beholden to powerful vested interests and remnants of the oligarchy with their own agendas.

Asia Watch: Talking Points

Indonesia’s struggle to combat Islamic extremist terrorism and the ideology that fuels it requires a multi-layered approach, encompassing military, law enforcement, political and religious/cultural spheres.

Asia Watch: The ballot box and the mob

Although Indonesia’s election was decisively won by a moderate Muslim, incumbent President Joko Widodo, the divisive campaign and its aftermath revealed underlying currents that may portend trouble for the long-term.

Fake News and consequences

Survey results show nearly 45% of 1,116 Indonesian respondents say they receive fake news and hoaxes every day, and that some 30% of respondents say they have difficulty checking the truth of such reports.

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