On 20 October 2019, Indonesia’s president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo began his second five-year term in office. In his first successful presidential campaign in 2014, he promised to transform the country into a “Global Maritime Fulcrum”—a seemingly keystone role between the Indian and Pacific Oceans that comprise the now popular term “Indo-Pacific.” How has that vision fared, and what priority will it have in 2019-2024? How will Indonesia deal with Sino-American strategic competition? Will Indonesia’s national and regional security policies change or stay the same? In addressing these questions, the talk will feature not only the president but his new ministers’ political, bureaucratic, and personal goals and differences as well. Laksmana will argue that, in practice, the GMF’s promise of proactive centrality has not been to date and is unlikely to be met in future.
Evan A. Laksmana, in addition to his position at CSIS in Jakarta, is completing his doctorate in political science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where he has been a Fulbright Presidential Scholar. He has held visiting fellowships and research positions with the National Bureau of Asian Research, Sydney University’s Southeast Asia Centre, the Lowy Institute for International Policy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. Journals that have carried his scholarly work include Asian Politics & Policy, Asian Security, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Defense & Security Analysis, and the Journal of Contemporary Asia. Other writings have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among other publications.