Indonesia, a nation of thousands of islands and almost 250 million people, straddles the junction of the Pacific and Indian oceans. The world’s biggest Muslim nation has long been one of Australia’s important strategic partners, and the relationship has become closer – if occasionally fraught – under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. As the country approaches its 2014 presidential elections, its future direction is open.
Award-winning journalist Hamish McDonald, an Indonesia expert who authored one of the classic texts on the country,Suharto’s Indonesia, returns to the nation he loves, both to tell the story of its past and to consider the possibilities of its future.
Now rapidly modernising, Indonesia is, like China before it, becoming a major player on the global stage. It is a force in the world – but for what? How much do we really know about its history, its politics, its cultures and its peoples? Demokrasi: Indonesia in the 21st Century is an accessible and authoritative introduction to this fascinating young nation.
Hamish McDonald has been a foreign correspondent in Jakarta, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Beijing, was the Asia-Pacific editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, and has twice won Walkley Awards. He is the author of books on Indonesia and India, and was made an inaugural Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs in 2008. He is now based at the Australian National University, and is the World Editor for The Saturday Paper.