Indonesia–United States relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Indonesia – United States relations
Map indicating locations of Indonesia and USA


United States
Diplomatic Mission
Indonesian Embassy, Washington, D.C. United States Embassy, Jakarta

Indonesia–United States relations are bilateral relations between Indonesia and the United States. Relations between the two nations are generally strong and close. Both are democratic countries and each nation reciprocally recognizes the strategic importance of their counterpart.[1]

Indonesia's people have generally viewed the U.S. fairly positively, with 61% of Indonesians viewing the U.S. favorably in 2002, declining slightly down to 54% in 2011, increasing to 59% in 2014,[2] and increasing further to 62% in 2015.[3]

According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 23% of Indonesians approve of U.S. leadership, with 31% disapproving and 46% uncertain.[4] According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll, 36% of Indonesians view U.S. influence positively, with 47% expressing a negative view.[5]


United States President Barack Obama and Indonesia's 6th President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono participate in the arrival ceremony at the Istana Merdeka State Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 9, 2010.
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. with Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo at The Pentagon during the state visit of the TNI Commander to the US in 2017

The United States has important economic, commercial, and security interests in Indonesia. It remains a linchpin of regional security due to its strategic location astride a number of key international maritime straits, particularly the Malacca Strait. Relations between Indonesia and the U.S. are generally positive and have advanced since the election of President Yudhoyono in October 2004.

The U.S. played a role in Indonesian independence in the late 1940s and appreciated Indonesia's role as an anti-communist bulwark during the Cold War. Cooperative relations are maintained today, although no formal security treaties bind the two countries. The United States and Indonesia share the common goal of maintaining peace, security, and stability in the region and engaging in a dialogue on threats to regional security. Cooperation between the U.S. and Indonesia on counter-terrorism has increased steadily since 2002, as terrorist attacks in Bali (October 2002 and October 2005), Jakarta (August 2003 and September 2004) and other regional locations demonstrated the presence of terrorist organizations, principally Jemaah Islamiyah, in Indonesia. The United States has welcomed Indonesia's contributions to regional security, especially its leading role in helping restore democracy in Cambodia and in mediating territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

The U.S. is committed to consolidating Indonesia's democratic transition and supports the territorial integrity of the country. Nonetheless, there are friction points in the bilateral political relationship. These conflicts have centered primarily on human rights, as well as on differences in foreign policy. The U.S. Congress cut off grant military training assistance through International Military Education and Training (IMET) to Indonesia in 1992 in response to a November 12, 1991, incident in East Timor when Indonesian security forces shot and killed East Timorese demonstrators. This restriction was partially lifted in 1995. Military assistance programs were again suspended, however, in the aftermath of the violence and destruction in East Timor following the August 30, 1999 referendum favoring independence.

Separately, the U.S. had urged the Indonesian Government to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of the August 2002 ambush murders of two U.S. teachers near Timika in Papua province. In 2005, the Secretary of State certified that Indonesian cooperation in the murder investigation had met the conditions set by Congress, enabling the resumption of full IMET. Eight suspects were arrested in January 2006, and in November 2006 seven were convicted.

In November 2005, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, under authority delegated by the Secretary of State, exercised a National Security Waiver provision provided in the FY 2005 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act to remove congressional restrictions on Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and lethal defense articles. These actions represented a reestablishment of normalized military relations, allowing the U.S. to provide greater support for Indonesian efforts to reform the military, increase its ability to respond to national and regional disasters, and promote regional stability.

Workers rights[edit]

Regarding worker rights, Indonesia was the target of several petitions filed under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) legislation arguing that Indonesia did not meet internationally recognized labor standards. A formal GSP review was suspended in February 1994 without terminating GSP benefits for Indonesia. Since 1998, Indonesia has ratified all eight International Labor Organization core conventions on protecting internationally recognized worker rights and allowed trade unions to organize. However, enforcement of labor laws and protection of workers rights remains inconsistent and weak in some areas. Indonesia's slow economic recovery has pushed more workers into the informal sector, which reduces legal protection and could create conditions for increases in child labor.

At America[edit]

In December 2010, United States reaching out to Indonesian youngsters by establishing @america, a high-tech, interactive operation heralded as the digital-age successor to the venerable American Cultural Center. It is also American public diplomacy’s latest effort to win over young foreigners, especially in Muslim countries. @america, represents the United States government’s first attempt at creating a full-fledged cultural center since the September 11, 2001 attacks.[6]

@america is a cutting-edge, 21st-century cultural center where visitors can explore and experience the United States, and express their thoughts and ideas about America. At @america, visitors could discover state-of-the-art technology and learn more about the United States. Through discussions, webchats, cultural performances, debates, competitions, and exhibitions, visitors can experience the best of America - its ideals, creativity, and diversity.[7] This American Cultural Center located at third floor of Pacific Place Mall, Sudirman Central Business District, Jakarta. The technology on display — a giant, supercharged version of Google Earth called Liquid Galaxy, scores of iPads that are available to test, interactive monitors explaining Black History Month — thrilled the teenagers.[6]

Development assistance from the United States to Indonesia[edit]

Workers load a cargo net of supplies from USAID following 2009 Sumatra earthquakes.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its predecessors have provided development assistance to Indonesia since 1950. Initial assistance focused on the most urgent needs of the new republic, including food aid, infrastructure rehabilitation, health care, and training. For thirty years, between 1967 and 2007, US aid to Indonesia was provided within the arrangements of, first, the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia, and later the Consultative Group on Indonesia. Through the 1970s, a time of great economic growth in Indonesia, USAID played a major role in helping the country achieve self-sufficiency in rice production and in reducing the birth rate. Today, USAID assistance programs focus on basic education, democratic governance, rebuilding after the 2004 tsunami, economic growth, health, water, food, and the environment.

Improving the quality of decentralized education

In October 2003, President Bush announced a $157 million Indonesian Education Initiative for 2004-2009 to improve the quality of education in Indonesia. This initiative is a cornerstone of the U.S. Government assistance program in Indonesia, directly responding to Indonesia's priorities and reflecting a joint Indonesia-U.S. commitment to revitalize education for the next generation of Indonesia's leaders.

Managing basic education (MBE)

Since 2003, this project has worked with local governments to strengthen their capacity to effectively manage basic education services in 20 districts/municipalities in East and Central Java, Aceh, and Jakarta. MBE is also working with 10,000 educators to improve the quality of teaching and learning in grades 1-9 through in-service teacher training, community participation, and the promotion of school-based management. MBE directly reaches 450 schools, 20% of which are madrassah, and 140,000 students. Through dissemination of good practices, teachers from 2,000 additional schools received training last year.

Decentralized basic education (DBE)

The Indonesia Education Initiative will increase the quality of basic education in primary and junior secondary schools, both public and private, and focus on three results: (DBE1) Local governments and communities more effectively manage education services; (DBE2) Enhance the quality of teaching and learning to improve student performance in key subjects such as math, science, and reading; and (DBE3) Youth gain more relevant life and work skills to better compete for jobs in the future.

Opportunities for vulnerable children

This program promotes inclusive education in Indonesia. Children with special needs such as visual impairment are provided the opportunity to be educated in public schools. Replicable models are being developed to expand the reach of the program.

Sesame Street Indonesia

A new Indonesian co-production of the award-winning television show targeting young children is being developed and produced by the Sesame Workshop in New York with local Indonesian partners and USAID funding. Millions of Indonesian children will be better equipped to start school. The first season is scheduled to air in mid-2007.

Effective democracy and decentralized governance

This objective aims to support democratic reforms by supporting effective and accountable local governance, addressing conflict and encouraging pluralism, and consolidating national-level democratic reforms.

Mitigation of conflict and support for peace

USAID remains a key donor working to mitigate conflict and support peace in conflict areas, such as Aceh, Papua, Sulawesi, and Ambon. Assistance activities focus on: conflict resolution/mitigation; civilian-military affairs; livelihoods development in conflict areas; drafting and monitoring of relevant legislation; and emergency and post-conflict transitional assistance to conflict affected persons.

Anti-trafficking in persons

USAID's anti-trafficking programs work closely with the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and civil society groups in policy making, program development, victim support, and dissemination of information which will contribute to reducing the trafficking of women and children in Indonesia.

Justice sector reforms

Through the Democratic Reform Support Program and Justice Sector Reform Program, USAID's current Justice Sector programs provide technical assistance and training to judges, prosecutors and staff members at the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General's Office.

Legislative strengthening

Technical assistance and training are provided to strengthen the legislative and legal drafting skills of parliamentarians as well as provide institutional support to the National House of Representatives, National Regional Representative Council, nine provincial legislative councils and 40 district-level legislative councils. Activities include promoting constituency and media outreach; developing the capacity to draft and analyze legislation and operational budgets; creating inter-party coalitions; encouraging legislative commissions to carry out their functions, and perform strategic planning.

The local governance support program

Currently assisting 60 local governments, this program works to increase governmental accountability and transparency, strengthen the local legislative process, promote citizen engagement and civil service reform, and improve the delivery of basic services.

Media development

In October 2005, USAID funded a new media development project entitled "Building on the Foundations: Strengthening Professional, Responsible and Responsive Broadcast Media in Indonesia." The goal of the program is to build professional, information-based local media that are responsive to the development and reform of districts across Indonesia. The program assists local radio stations in North Sumatra, Aceh and Java, fostering dialogue on media regulations, and providing support for media and media education in Aceh.

Tsunami Reconstruction

The U.S. Government was one of the first donors to respond to the disaster, and remains one of the largest contributors to relief and reconstruction efforts in Indonesia. Through numerous grants to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, and UN agencies, USAID has helped stabilize the humanitarian situation in Aceh, avert a public health crisis, and provide relief services to survivors.

Rebuilding shelter and key infrastructure

USAID is assisting communities by providing much needed shelter, working with the Indonesian Government to rebuild key infrastructure, and ensuring proper mapping and planning is considered through local cooperation.

Restoring livelihoods

USAID enables communities to direct capacity building to benefit people at the local level. USAID's Community Based Recovery Initiative is working with 59 villages to organize local capacity-building initiatives.

Strengthening capacity and governance

USAID is providing assistance to restore local government services in Aceh, working to increase governmental accountability and transparency, strengthen the local legislative process, promote citizen engagement and civil service reform, and improve the delivery of basic services.

Economic growth strengthened and employment created

Assistance to the Indonesian Government and private sector focuses on creating jobs by improving the business and investment climate, combating corruption, increasing competitiveness in key sectors, and improving the safety of the financial system. USAID is working with Indonesians to ensure that future generations enjoy an increasingly prosperous, democratic and stable country.

Business climate and enterprise development

Efforts to promote a transparent and predictable legal and regulatory business climate aim to reduce the hidden costs of doing business, to reduce uncertainty, and to promote trade, investment and job creation. USAID delivers technical assistance to leading industry sectors in an effort to fuel growth, exports, jobs, and prosperity. These efforts drive increased productivity and national competitiveness by forging stronger coalitions of public, private, and civil society advocates for legal, regulatory, and policy change.

Financial sector safety and soundness

USAID is working to improve the oversight of bank and non-bank financial intermediaries in order to promote safety and soundness in the financial system and to improve transparency and governance.

Improving the quality of basic human services

The USAID Basic Human Services Office provides assistance to Indonesia through an integrated strategy combining health, food/nutrition, and environmental management and water services at the district and community levels.

Environmental services

This program supports better health through improved water resources management and expanded access to clean water and sanitation services. With a ridge to reef approach, partners improve water resource management from watershed sources, along rivers, through cities, and to coastal reefs. In the upper watershed, the program promotes forest management, biodiversity conservation, and land use planning to protect a steady, year-round source of clean water. Further downstream, the program strengthens municipal water utilities to improve and expand piped water and sanitation services to communities. Stakeholder forums link upstream and downstream communities to build consensus on water and waste management issues. Marginalized urban communities also benefit from the introduction of safe drinking water through Air Rahmat, a home chlorination product being introduced to the market through a public-private partnership.

Health services

Women, newborns and children are the principal beneficiaries of this integrated public health program. Working with the government, NGOs, and other partners, USAID focuses on maternal, neonatal and child health; reproductive health; nutrition; HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria; and decentralization of the health sector. Improved health-seeking behaviors within communities link key hygiene promotion interventions, such as hand-washing with soap, in order to reduce diarrheal disease, a major cause of childhood death. New initiatives address challenges from the re-emergence of polio and the outbreak of avian influenza in Indonesia.

Food and nutrition

Improving the nutritional status of Indonesians, USAID food assistance targets poor communities. These activities directly impact women and children through targeted supplemental feeding and nutritional education activities. The food assistance program works with villages to construct public latrines, washing facilities, protected water stations, and to organize solid waste disposal efforts to better protect community health. Over one million people will be direct recipients of USAID food assistance under this program.

Principal U.S. Embassy officials[edit]

Joseph R. Donovan Jr., US Ambassador to Indonesia.

Diplomatic missions[edit]

The U.S. Embassy in Indonesia is located in Jakarta. There are U.S. consulate generals in Surabaya (principal officer: Caryn R. McClelland) and in Medan, North Sumatra (principal officer: Sean Stein). There is a U.S. consular agency in Bali.

The Indonesian Embassy in the U.S. is located in Washington D.C., with consulate generals in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.[8]

Military cooperation[edit]

In 2010 the United States lifted a ban on military contacts with Kopassus, an Indonesian special operations forces involved with human rights abuses in the 1990s.[9]

In January 2018 visit to Jakarta, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that Indonesia was a maritime fulcrum in the Asia-Pacific region, and wanted Indonesia and the United States to cooperate on issues of maritime security.[10] During that same visit, Secretary Mattis said he believed that Kopassus had reformed sufficiently to justify increased contact with the United States.[9]

Military sales[edit]

The United States is a major supplier of military hardware to Indonesia, including of Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.[9] As of January 2018, Indonesia is exploring purchasing an additional 48 F-16 aircraft, for as much as $4.5 billion.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Almond, Roncevert Ganan (23 October 2016). "Why Indonesia Matters in a Season of Change - Indonesia is important to the U.S., in ways that might be unexpected". The Diplomat.
  2. ^ "Indonesian Opinion of the United States". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Opinion of the United States". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  4. ^ U.S. Global Leadership Project Report - 2012 Gallup
  5. ^ 2014 World Service Poll BBC
  6. ^ a b Norimitsu Onishi (March 5, 2011). "U.S. Updates the Brand It Promotes in Indonesia". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  7. ^ "About @america". @america. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c d Stewart, Ohil; Beo Da Costa, Agustinus (January 23, 2018). Davies, Edward; Macfie, Nick, eds. "Indonesia looks to U.S. to relax limits on its special forces". Reuters.
  10. ^ Burns, Robert (January 22, 2018). "US says it wants to help Indonesia provide maritime security". The Associated Press.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website (U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets).[1]

External links[edit]