Thursday, July 25, 2024 | 22:19 WIB

The beauty of a wary foreign policy

Byron Allen Black

The question no one in the West, puzzlingly, is posing is “What is the strategic interest of Washington and NATO in fanning the flames of war, ‘…defending Ukraine to the last Ukrainian…’? Apart from Washington’s self-appointed role as Policeman of the World and Savior of Democracy (sad laughter here from the hundreds of thousands of ghosts of Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Syria). Most Americans could not even find Ukraine on a world map a few months ago. All they know is that it has been threatened and invaded by the classic enemy of the Cold War. The USSR is gone but Russia remains, and Russia simply remains both independent of Washington’s control and unwilling to see nuclear-tipped missiles on its border, three minutes the way the bird flies from Moscow. 

Older readers may recall the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when Soviet Premier Khrushchev, unwilling to tolerate NATO nuclear missiles in Turkey, pointed at the heart of the USSR, responded by installing Soviet IRBMs in Cuba, the USSR’s “new bosom buddy”. No fair. The world has never come closer to thermonuclear exchange, and today there are many more weapons pointed this way and that. 

Ukraine eagerly expressed a desire to join NATO. Russia said no way. Imagine thousands of Russian or Chinese soldiers stationed on the US – Mexican border (stop laughing) (it is unimaginable). 

Thus you have what we see today. Washington, outraged at being told “No” (it never happens) responded with the current propaganda barrage and dump of weapons and money into Ukraine, which promises to make some oligarchs extremely wealthy. 

But how did Indonesia, very typically, politely and discreetly, decide to keep its distance from this tangled tragedy? 

A brief glance back at the history of this fair nation will reveal how an earlier, undoubtedly reckless foreign policy, evolved into one of urgent understanding and cooperation with all. As current Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto so poetically puts it, “One thousand friends are too few, one enemy is too many”. 

Ir. Sukarno, Indonesia’s first President, saw it as his role to stand proud, even defiant, inspiring his countrymen to forsake the servile mentality the Dutch colonizers had ground into them for 350 years. Toward such a noble goal he played the part of a firebrand, accusing the superpowers of new designs on Indonesia’s resources. He made such a grand stand at the United Nations. The people loved him for it. Indonesia was not going to be bullied around any longer.