Although it revealed little that was new in the government’s outlook for the short term, the Address confirmed that the acceleration of development and economic reforms will continue to be the Jokowi Administration’s primary domestic focus.
The Widodo Government is trying to encourage Indonesian businesses to move their overseas assets back to, and keep them within, Indonesia, but the optimistic targets and hoped-for revenues will probably not be achieved.
The defamation charges against Haris Azhar are a move to protect officials allegedly involved with drug trafficking. Whether they succeed will depend on the willingness of President Widodo to tackle the suspected corruption within the National Police, the National Narcotics Agency and the military.
The arrest of the six suspected militants fits a broader pattern of Islamist radicalisation and offers sobering lessons that any successful anti-radicalisation policy should incorporate.
Jokowi is constrained by the limits imposed on him by the élites, so his political capital is largely dependent on realising his vision for economic reform and growth. His vision of Indonesia as a Global Maritime Fulcrum has been hampered by his inexperience in security and foreign policy matters. In simply being an outsider elected to the highest office in the land, he has, however, broken new ground.
In reaching an agreement on the export of breeding cattle, fisheries management and potentially greater participation in the dairy industry, the two countries’ leaders may have set the stage for closer trade, investment and security co-operation between Indonesia and New Zealand.
In light of the recent hostage crisis in the Sulu/Sulawesi Seas, the framework for trilateral maritime policing is an important step in response, but as the agreements come to fruition the potential for overall deepening in future ASEAN and regional maritime co-operation can realised.
Jakarta remains slow to act on its promises to protect the forests of Indonesia that were given in the wake of last year’s forest fire season.
Jakarta’s increased defence expenditure has projected a hard power response to China’s ongoing maritime incursions in the seas around the Natuna Islands, but it also masks underlying problems at the heart of its naval and coast guard assets and which threaten a truly effective response.
A cohesive response from Jakarta has created a rare pushback in its maritime dispute with Beijing over the waters surrounding the Natuna Islands and potentially signalling a new heading in Jokowi’s regional foreign policy.