Indonesian Elections and Security Politics in the Face of Global Threats

The sequence of general elections in Indonesia in 2024 is approaching, but the world’s security situation appears to be deteriorating. Global challenges are on the horizon, and they are inextricably linked to Indonesia’s destiny.

In Europe, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is still underway. Apart from historical grounds, Russia’s concern of Ukraine’s position to join NATO was a unique element in the outbreak of the war. Now, Ukraine’s position is becoming encircled by Russian army forces, and the conflict has raised the prospect of a worldwide food crises.

Countries are tense as a result of the conflict. Russia is at odds not only with the United States, which provides logistical and military assistance to Ukraine, but also with the European Union, which is harmed by it. This type of connection is expected to last for a long time.

A comparable situation exists throughout Asia. The South China Sea Conflict, which is claimed by numerous nations including China, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, exemplifies the tensions in Asian relations.

This area, which is rich in marine resources, has exceptional economic potential in addition to its strategic position. According to estimates, the sea has 11 billion barrels of undeveloped oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.

China claims historical possession of the South China Sea. The argument is based on ancient Chinese history, from the Han Dynasty in the 2nd century BC through the Ming and Qing Dynasties in the 13th century BC. Then, in 1947, China bolstered its claim by drawing a chart of the South China Sea with nine dotted lines and declaring the Spartly and Paracel islands to be its property.

Meanwhile, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam usually base the South China Sea on the laws of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). China appears to be aggressive. In addition to claiming 80-90 percent sovereignty of the South China Sea, the government is beefing up its defenses.

China constructs military installations, constructs artificial islands, and deploys warships in these territorial waterways. Outside of the South China Sea, China is at conflict with Taiwan, which is supported by the US. The usually chilly relationship between the two countries has gradually thawed.

According to Tempo, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe stated on June 13th 2022, “If someone attempts to split Taiwan from China, we would not hesitate to fight back. We will fight at whatever cost, and we will fight to the bitter end.” This is China’s only choice.

This issue has also heightened tensions between China and the United States. The US-China relationship, which had improved after President Trump’s defeat, had to be rekindled following the Taiwan issue.

Aside from the possibility of war, the Covid-19 epidemic, which has been ongoing for at least two years, has revived. Despite immunizations, new variations continue to emerge, necessitating care wherever we go.

The world is fraught with uncertainty. The prospect of war, the economy, and diseases heightens our concern for the world’s future.

How about Indonesia?

When it comes to dealing with global issues, Indonesia looks to be prepared. Prabowo Subianto, Minister of Defense, proposes a defense equipment modernisation program to boost defense.

Later, the Indonesian government ordered 42 French Rafale fighter planes. The budget for the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) was also increased to 32 trillion rupiah for military equipment upgrading.

Prabowo stated that he was aiming to improve the defense. “We will defend the country by all means at its disposal,” Prabowo announced in a press release (11/6/2022) (Antara).

However, ahead of the general election, party insiders continue to go on political safaris in preparation for 2024. They are searching for their own compatibility efforts, while also considering electability, to prepare the next presidential and vice presidential candidates to win the election. Although these acts are lawful, they do not reflect the political elite’s intelligent approach to reacting to the global threats that lay ahead.

The question is, what sort of leader does Indonesia require today and in the future to deal with global threats? Thucydides, a Greek historian, once said, “the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.”

Thucydides’ remark appears to be essential in the contemporary situation since it pertains to the realities of international relations. It is a reality that a strong country would conquer a weak one notwithstanding all of its truth claims.

With all of its strength, the United States can influence the world through military alliances and soft power. He can even direct the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine and believe Russia is evil.

China has the economic and military capability to affect Asian countries. Through its might, that country may claim the South China Sea and even threaten Taiwan for a variety of reasons.

As a result, Indonesia should continue to strive to become a great power, particularly in terms of defense and security. Indonesia should not be dictated to by foreigners and should retain sovereignty over itself.

On the other hand, Indonesia has a free and active political principle, a political principle that is independent of the “western” and “eastern” blocs yet engaged in achieving world peace. And history shows that Indonesia has upheld these foreign policy norms for decades. A political idea that cannot be abandoned due to the founding fathers’ historical legacy.

As a result, Indonesia must become a powerful country in terms of defense and security. This strength, however, is not utilized to subjugate other countries, but to preserve and sustain world peace.

If it is executed, I believe Indonesia will be recognized by other countries. This is because Indonesia is strong not because it colonizes and controls other nations, but because it has strong defense and security and aggressively reconciles all parties.

Despite the criticism leveled at him, Prabowo’s efforts appear to have begun to lead the country towards a strong entity. So, if the anticipated Indonesian leader is needed in the 2024 General Election, the solution is a leader who knows global geopolitical realities, national defense and security, and diplomacy with other nations.

Agil Kurniadi
Agil Kurniadi
Agil Kurniadi is the Executive Director of the historical research center and social sciences 'Terekam Jejak.' He holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in History from the University of Indonesia and writes about politics, economics, history, and socio-culture. Some of his articles have been published in national and international journals and conferences.