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The Foreign Policy Priorities

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With the 2019 Indonesian presidential election coming up, both candidates, which are Jokowi-Ma’ruf and Prabowo-Sandiaga, have been campaigning their visions and missions. The two candidates will be competing for the second time after the 2014 presidential election where Jokowi won as Indonesia’s current president. From economic, human rights, laws until international relations concerns have been stated toward their campaigns. Through the foreign policy offered by the two candidates, it shows that both side still use the ‘free and active’ doctrine as Indonesia’s role in international realm (Antara, 2018). In fact, Indonesian government has always generated this doctrine in its role in world’s affairs (Parameswaran, 2014). The use of free and active foreign policy itself, means that Indonesia would prioritize an impartial attitude towards certain blocks and be fully sovereign in determining its position in international politics and actively participate in maintaining world peace (Timorria, 2018). A significant example of this doctrine is by looking on how Indonesian government tries to stand up using their voice for Palestine’s right (Kuwado, 2018). Seeing the similarity between the two candidates by using the same foreign policy doctrine, the direction stated by each candidate indicates divergent priorities toward foreign affairs. Jokowi-Ma’ruf’s side seems to have outward looking in global politics by expanding relations with other states, whilst the Prabowo-Sandiaga’s side is more inward toward international affairs by prioritizing Indonesian prosperity first. Thus, I argue that Jokowi-Ma’ruf and Prabowo-Sandiaga’s foreign policy priorities for their upcoming presidency are different.

Prabowo-Sandi side would prioritize economic diplomacy, also strengthening the security and defense might be the candidate’s priorities in terms of foreign policy. Towards his campaigns, it is certain that Prabowo has determined his foreign policy priorities to be not far different from the 2014 election. From his previous attempt on presidential election, he was more focused on making government control greater and restructuring the management of natural resources. He stressed the importance of accelerating economic development (MP3EI) by needing the presence of foreign investment (Syailendra, 2014). By adopting Prabowo’s previous campaign for the 2019 election, Prabowo-Sandi’s concern over foreign affairs still puts economic as the focus, with security and defense as additions. With applying free and active policy in economic diplomacy, the candidate focuses on the sustainability of Indonesia's diplomacy with two superpowers who are currently engaged in a trade war, the United States and China (Dante, 2018). The candidate would also like to strengthen the national defense system by increasing the annual budget for the subject. Other statement on security and defense that might be generated by Prabowo-Sandi is to build strong maritime sovereignty. (Antara, 2018). As stated by Timmoria (2018), the reason why the candidate pulls the concern on security on defense is due to the condition of the current defense industry which was considered still focused on assembling components, not yet targeting research and strengthening of production facilities. However, the candidate seems to slip human rights into their foreign policy, even if it is not prioritized. As it is stated by Prabowo, the candidate has also put concern toward Palestine by standing up for its justice (BBC Indonesia, 2018). Fighting for Uighur Muslims’s humanity in China would also be the concern for this candidate as the side said that Indonesian Government should take a firm stance towards the discriminatory (Prakoso, 2018).

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On the other hand, Jokowi-Ma’ruf’s side seeks for political diplomacy and human rights in terms of foreign policy for their 2019 presidential election. It is assumed if Jokowi was elected for the second time to run for president, Indonesian foreign policy would not likely stray significantly from its current path. According to Lundry (2018), the candidate wants to recognize the value of multilateralism by continuing their support to Indonesia’s role in ASEAN. They also want to continue being active and participating in world peace by maintaining Indonesia’s position in both ASEAN and the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member. By borrowing the ‘Game of Thrones’ idea, if it is re-elected, Jokowi expects Indonesia to have the ability to unite the forces that are fighting and being calculated on the world stage (Antara, 2018). Another political diplomacy that would be generated by this candidate is to continue the cooperation with China by joining One Belt One Road (OBOR) agreement on letting China to help building infrastructure in the nation. However, in order to avoid Chinese intervention in national political policies, Jokowi would also maintain good relations with the US by joining the Indo Pacific, which is initiated by the states. Thus, the two countries would see Indonesia as a strategic cooperation partner (Hakim, 2018). In terms of human rights, the candidate puts concern on the protection of Indonesian citizens and workers abroad. Not only Indonesians’ human rights but also for the foreign peace and stability such as the conflict resolution in Rakhine, Myanmar and the dispute between Palestine and Israel. The candidate emphasizes that Indonesia would fight for Palestine’s humanity and justice since Indonesia has maintained a diplomacy with the nation (Timorria, 2018). This shows Jokowi-Ma’ruf’s concern on creating world peace by prioritizing both political diplomacy and human rights in terms of generating foreign policy for their candidacy.

Assessing Indonesia’s foreign policy under Jokowi’s presidency, there are some policies in which he has settled that are brought back into the 2019 election by both Jokowi-Ma’ruf and Prabowo-Sandi. Looking back at Jokowi’s foreign policy during his presidency, he implemented the Trisaskti principle, which was stated by Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno. The principle consisted of three basic propositions: freedom to proactively affirm the right of self-determination in the international scene; economic self-sufficiency; and building a firm national identity (Syailendra, 2014), which has yielded some gestures in many aspects such as security, defense, economy, human rights and political diplomacy. In terms of security and defense, especially in maritime, Jokowi has taken an aggressive movement toward illegal fishing in Indonesian territorial waters by capturing and bombing foreign fishing vessels (Lundry, 2018). Meanwhile, in economy, Jokowi has already brought Indonesia to maintain a good relations with China, through the Belt and Road Iniative, and India in Indian-Pacific cooperation (Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia, 2018). By analyzing Prabowo-Sandi’s side on foreign policy, it seems that the candidate would like to develop Jokowi’s presidential assessment in economy, security and defense. On the other hand, if it re-elected, Jokowi-Ma’ruf’s side would develop human rights and political diplomacy from his previous presidency. It shows on how a total of 51,088 cases of Indonesian citizens abroad were settled in order to protect their rights, and in terms of political diplomacy, under Jokowi, Indonesia was chosen as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the period of 2019-2020 (Kuwado, 2018).

In conclusion, both of the candidates have different foreign policy priorities for their upcoming presidency although they still implement the same doctrine which is ‘free and active’. The divergence shows on how the Prabowo-Sandiaga’s side would like to prioritize economy, security and defense by launching some policies such as engaging with both the US and China in economy, building stronger maritime sovereignty and increasing military budget. Meanwhile, the Jokowi-Ma’ruf side would put concern over human rights and political diplomacy by generating some policies such as fighting for Palestine’s humanity and justice, participating more in ASEAN, maintaining its position in UNSC as the non-permanent member and forming cooperation with the US and China. However, by assessing Jokowi’s current presidency, it seems that the two candidates are trying to develop some of his achievements. As mentioned above, Prabowo-Sandiaga and Jokowi-Ma’ruf try to bring back some of the particular settlements, which the previous presidency has successfully settled with, for the 2019 presidential election. Considering that the global politics would face some challenges, such as the trade war between the US and China, would the foreign policies stated by Prabowo-Sandiaga and Jokowi-Ma’ruf remain the same or get developed? Would the difference on foreign policy priorities between the two candidates be emerged or would they stick on their own priorities?

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The Foreign Policy Priorities. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-foreign-policy-priorities/
“The Foreign Policy Priorities.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-foreign-policy-priorities/
The Foreign Policy Priorities. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-foreign-policy-priorities/> [Accessed 24 Feb. 2024].
The Foreign Policy Priorities [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Feb 24]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-foreign-policy-priorities/
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