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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Banteng and the Eagle: Indonesian Foreign Policy and the United States During the Era of Sukarno 1945-1967
by Sulaiman, Yohanes, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2008, 637; 10631285
Abstract (Summary)

The influence of leaders is rarely discussed in International Relations, even though most political scientists believe that a leader is an important factor in a state's policy making process. Most literature that tries to deal with leaders as an important factor also tends to see the leader as an independent entity, rather than trying to put the leader in a context of either domestic or international politics.

This study tries to fill that gap by attempting to understand the influence of leadership in its context, as a power relationship between the individual leader, the domestic political structure in which that leader operates, and the international structure in which the state exerts its influence or is influenced by other states. The main argument of this dissertation is that while both domestic and international structures provide constraints to a leader's freedom of action, leaders can try to push the limits of the structures, to try to manipulate the structure in which he or she operates, and gain political capital that can be used to strengthen his or her domestic position. Moreover, the choices that leaders make can have a significant impact both domestically and internationally. Therefore, the influence of a leader cannot be easily underestimated.

Internationally, due to Indonesia's strategic location and natural resources, the United States, as one of the most dominant powers in the world, was interested in drawing Indonesia closer to its orbit. This in turn affected the domestic political calculation of Indonesian political leaders, by trying to use the United States to increase their power as either political capital or as a way to attack their political enemies. As the United States commanded a strong presence in Indonesia, either real or perceived by Indonesian leaders, this dissertation places a strong emphasis on Indonesia's relationship with the United States.

In order to do that, this dissertation will look at Indonesian foreign policy choices in the period between 1945 and 1967 chronologically to show the evolving constraints that Indonesian leaders faced domestically and internationally. This dissertation shows that Indonesia's foreign policy can not be easily separated from its leader's calculations regarding its domestic politics and how its international policies were seen as a tool to provide additional political capital that could be used domestically.

Competing interests from political parties and interest groups domestically prevented successive Indonesian leaders from making decisive foreign policy. There were also various political constraints that Indonesian leaders faced, such as social cleavages, military roles in politics, the role of religion - especially Islam - in the state which further constrained successive Indonesian leaders.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mueller, John, Liddle, R. William, Herrmann, Richard K.
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Biographies, History, International Relations, Political science
Keywords: Amir sjarifuddin, Indonesia, Mohammad hatta, Old order, Soetan sjahrir, Sukarno
Publication Number: 10631285
ISBN: 978-0-355-01550-8
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