Indonesian Geopolitics and Misleading World War Doctrine

Indonesia’s position is very strategic, therefore, with geopolitics, it can be understood that Indonesia’s position which is between two continents and two oceans has a lot of impact on the sustainability of Indonesia and the world.

So together with this comprehensive understanding of geopolitics becomes more holistic in utilizing Indonesia’s strategic position in the international realm.

In this regard, there is something interesting and always relevant, namely when Bung Karno mandated that, “a nation cannot be built and a strong country cannot be created if there is minimal knowledge of geopolitics.”

This message was conveyed by President Ir. Soekarno when giving directions and first lecture in front of KRA I participants at the National Defense Institute (Lemhannas) at the State Palace, Jakarta, on 20 May 1965.

So this view becomes a vision of how Indonesia should play a role in the international realm in constructing the world order.

In Indonesian geopolitics, in order to be able to play this active role, the fulcrum is to prioritize co-existence rather than a world order that exploits one another.

Therefore, Bung Karno was very firm on this matter. By using the Betawi champ’s term, Bung Karno emphasized, “Lu ada, Gue ada” (Eng: “You exist, I exist”) in a world order that recognizes each other, peaceful, humanist, has a collective economy, cultured, and loves nature.

With this geopolitical concept, Bung Karno appeared as a world figure who created a new civilization.

During the period from 1956 to 1965, Bung Karno actively carried out world-class diplomacy and traveled around the world to develop his ideas.

Bung Karno’s ideas, among others are, “a world without exploitation between strong countries exploiting weak countries, a pacifistic, humanist and cultured world.”

Since then, Indonesia has offered a new world order, therefore this geopolitics has become a bargaining chip to replace the world order based on the bifurcation of the world after the defeat of Nazi Germany by the United States-Britain-Soviet Union in 1945.

The World Today

This idea is still relevant to today’s world conditions. Where the current world order is increasingly worrying relations between countries which still have the motive of wanting to dominate.

Those major nations raced to instill influence with their dreadful war readiness.

Reading this condition, Indonesia must comprehensively calculate geopolitics, so that the role it plays among those major issues and challenges is not easily plunged.

Thus, Indonesia has the ability to offer a new world order, because the current order has shown signs of a nuclear war that could threaten its annihilation right before our eyes.

Relations between major nations, such as the US, UK, France, Russia, China and India, are still so strong based on domination diplomacy – that it is easy to cause tension.

Plus, the Ukrainian war has not diminished, making tensions between Russia and the US (along with their allies) escalating to a boiling point. They square off with each other ready to pounce.

Russia plans to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus. The US has spread the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in allied countries, such as Belgium and Germany.

At the same time, the Russian and Ukrainian partnerships were increasingly agitated, where Britain decided to supply Ukraine with armor-piercing bullets containing uranium with low fissile or depleted material content.

Even more worrying, the US and Russia are running out of time to mutually agree on a strategic arms reduction treaty.

The thing that more concerning is, the US and Russia are running out of time to mutually agree on a strategic arms reduction treaty.

As the thing has happened, Russia in February suspended its participation in the New START negotiations.

Meanwhile, the US since 2019 left the  Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty(INF) Treaty, and in 2002 also ended its participation in the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.

Misleading World War Doctrine

War is destruction. At first for the sake of maintaining honor and dignity. This seems to be something that is often forgotten by many people, when the dignity and worth as a nation-human being-must be upheld in order to respect equality-behind it at the same time war is being prepared.

The preparation for this, in its subtlest form, is found among other things in the doctrine: “Si vis pacem, para bellum” (“If you desire peace, prepare for war”).

The main idea of this doctrine has been found in Plato’s VIII Act of 347 BC and Epaminondas 5 Cornelius Nepos.

Then it appears from the words of Flavius Vegetius Renatus around 400 AD in the preface De re militari: “Qui desiderat pacem, bellum praeparat” (“Who wants peace, prepare for war”).

This doctrine also indicates that peace can give you peace, but war can give you dignity.

The religionist who was also a pioneer of human rights activists, Martin Luther King (1929-1968) clearly explained it: “Nations have often won their independence through war. But that is only a temporary victory, violence never brings lasting peace.”

Violence or war becomes a tragedy because that’s where people face each other – even though they don’t hate each other and don’t know each other, but instead cock guns to kill each other. This is all for the sake of carrying out the decisions of policy makers.

And broadly speaking, war can also occur non-physically, in the era of democracy this kind of war is in competition for the general election (election).

Geopolitical influence to influence a country in holding elections can also be pursued by the interests of foreign countries. And invisibly, there was war.

Indonesia, which is heading for simultaneous elections in 2024, of course, must be aware of this. The potential for invisible foreign interference is important to anticipate early on.

In addition, ahead of the 2024 elections, there are a number of regional heads whose term of office ends before the election.

In 2022 and 2023 there will be 171 regional heads, consisting of 17 provinces, 115 regencies and 39 cities, whose term of office will end.

So this must receive serious attention from all components of the nation so that foreign interests – which can cause war in plain view – can be prevented.

Strengthening Nationalism

The ethical atmosphere of world politics is increasingly misguided by the doctrine of war, also indicating that the 21st century is a momentum for a shift in the influence of the bipolar power of the big powers.

Since the 19th century, this system has been too dictating and exploitative, so that big countries have become world powers to carry out their interests in various ways (proxy wars) to spread their ideology and influence.

For this reason, this influence must be shifted, so this unipolar world with Western hegemony has experienced erosion from various sides.

Social crises and injustices in the world are routine claims by many countries and international social movements.

The rise of China, Russia, India, and political changes in Latin America during the first half of the 21st Century foreshadow the coming changes in world order.

This geopolitical shift can also be seen in changes in the balance of economic and military power – spearheaded primarily by China and Russia.

In addition, it also began to strengthen criticism of the double standard of the West on various issues that are used based on their own interests.

Long before that the founding fathers of the republic had anticipated this. So it is not surprising that the founders of the Republic of Indonesia from the start laid the foundations of Indonesia’s geopolitics, namely through Soempah Pemoeda, where the message was “Satoe noesa”, which means the spatial integrity of the archipelago.

“Satoe Bangsa” which is the foundation of Indonesian nationality. “Satoe Bahasa” which is the unifier of the archipelago and everything in it.

Indonesian nationality consists of three geopolitical elements, namely: a sense of nationality, nationalism, and national spirit.

The three of them integrated as a whole to become the soul of the Indonesian nation and at the same time became the driving force for achieving the ideals of the proclamation.

The sense of nationality is a sublimation of Soempah Pemoeda and that is what unites the determination to become a strong, esteemed and respected nation among the nations of the world.

In relation to such national status, President Ir. Soekarno consistently galvanized the leadership of our sense of nationality so that this entire nation is free from feelings of inferiority. As a result, the entire Indonesian nation became citizens of the nation even though economically it was very weak.

The sense of nationality is the glue that binds together, both in terms of spirit and geography, so operationally it can help eliminate the possibility of a frontier emerging.

(Prof. DR. Drs. Ermaya Suradinata, SH, MH, MSI, is the former Director General of Sospol of the Ministry of Home Affairs RI, Rector of IPDN, Governor of Lemhannas RI, and currently the Board of Experts for Geopolitics and Geostrategy of BPIP RI.)