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Indonesia Geopolitics Strategy

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This thread will be focused on Indonesia geopolitics strategy, but before putting the current geopolitics strategy of Indonesia, lets see what is the current geopolitical weight of Indonesia according to real global players like USA and China :

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U.S.-INDONESIA RELATIONS


Indonesia is a vital partner in the Indo-Pacific Region and U.S.-Indonesia relations have taken on increasing importance. Indonesia is the world’s third largest democracy, largest Muslim-majority country, the seventh-largest economy by purchasing power, and a leader in ASEAN. It possesses the world’s greatest marine biodiversity and its second greatest terrestrial biodiversity. Indonesia also borders the South China Sea, which has the world’s busiest sea lanes — over $5 trillion in cargo and as much as 50 percent of the world’s oil tankers pass through the South China Sea every year.


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China view (Personal view from China professor quoted on Globaltimes, China gov mouthpiece)

The current world structure was basically built with the US as its center. I suppose, in the future world, there might not be any country that can build the world with itself as the core. The world won't be polarized but multipolar: China is growing; Russia remains a strong power; Germany and India are rising; and regional big powers like Indonesia are also getting a bigger role on the international stage.

 

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Advancing the US–Indonesia defence relationship


19 January 2021
Author: Evan Laksmana, CSIS Indonesia

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Indonesian F 16 with its AIM 120-C 7 missile

There has been a flurry of high-level security engagements between the United States and Indonesia in recent months. In mid-October, Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto visited the United States after being barred from entering the country for over two decades due to human rights concerns. This paved the way for high-level US officials visiting Jakarta, including the Secretary of State and the Acting Secretary of Defence.

From Washington’s point of view, Indonesia remains an important regional strategic prize regardless of election outcomes. Given Indonesia’s location at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, which side Jakarta backs in the US–China strategic competition matters a great deal. Coupled with its strong regional and economic potential, Indonesia could be the fulcrum that tilts the strategic balance one way or the other.

But US–Indonesia bilateral relations have grown lethargic in recent years. President Donald Trump and President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo took a transactional approach to bilateral relations. This focussed on possible cooperation surrounding trade deficits, counter-terrorism and the South China Sea, while sidelining the much more impactful and wide-ranging Strategic Partnership framework signed in 2015. Jokowi has not visited the United States since 2015 and Trump has never visited Indonesia.

That the Trump administration takes a myopic view of Indonesia despite its strategic significance should not be surprising given Indonesia’s growing ties with China and the underwhelming state of its armed forces. Prabowo’s arrival as Minister of Defense in 2019 may have opened a small but potentially significant window of opportunity to change this.

Even if China is outcompeting the United States in many areas in Indonesia — including economics, trade, investment and education — it is unlikely to replace the long and enduring US–Indonesia security relationship. The United States and its Western allies have been and will likely continue to be the largest provider of military education and training as well as weapons systems and equipment.

Despite many challenges facing the US–Indonesia security relationship, including the arms embargo of the early 2000s and potential sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the relationship remains a core foundation of bilateral ties. The security relationship could be an initial springboard for whatever direction Washington and Jakarta takes. This is where Prabowo comes in.

As an army special forces officer, Prabowo was trained in the United States. He has been close to US policymakers and reportedly prefers US hardware and training. His concerns about China’s rise and economic presence in Indonesia during his failed presidential campaigns are likely to further endear him in Washington. But perhaps more importantly, Prabowo is making military hardware procurement his top priority as a minister.

Over the past year he has travelled to more than a dozen countries in an effort to procure a wide range of weapons systems in an effort to complete the military’s modernisation plans. Military hardware and training is something the United States can offer Indonesia much more readily than China at this point in time. But grounding US–Indonesia defence relations on military procurement alone is a mistake.

First, state-of-the-art weaponry is necessary but not sufficient to boost Indonesia’s military capabilities. It needs to seriously address organisational challenges, including doctrinal development, personnel management and broader strategic planning systems. A scattergun approach to military procurement is unlikely to improve operational readiness and organisational capability to meet pressing strategic challenges.

Second, the long and enduring US–Indonesia defence ties are built on more than just hardware. Professional military education and training programs as well as various officer exchanges, visits, and engagements between Indonesian and US forces have proven to be the most resilient and useful part of the relationship. But the onus lies with Jakarta to provide a long-term blueprint of what it hopes to train officers in the United States for.

Indonesian military leaders should ensure that US-trained officers can be promoted at the right time to the right positions upon their return. Research shows that between 15 to 25 percent of US-trained officers make it to the top of the ladder. Indonesian military leaders should also properly assess their personnel needs — not just in terms of size and rank, but also in terms of professional qualifications and skills — and how the United States might fill the gap. Without a long-term professional military education framework, who goes where and when in the United States may depend on ad hoc considerations or bureaucratic necessities.

Most importantly, while the defence relationship is central to broader US–Indonesia ties, it does not replace the Strategic Partnership framework. Both Jakarta and Washington should figure out how to revitalise the defence relationship and ensure that this momentum continues into other areas within the Strategic Partnership. Without deepening other areas with strategic purpose and energy, the defence relationship may revert back to old patterns of ‘transactionalism’ devoid of strategic ballast and direction.


Evan Laksmana is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Indonesia.

 

Indos

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Indonesia takes ownership of Indo-Pacific geopolitics: The Jakarta Post columnist

In his commentary, the writer takes up Indonesia's quiet pursuit of the Indo-Pacific regionalism concept.


Endy M. Bayuni
  • Published
    Jan 17, 2018, 1:56 pm SGT
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1616396233857.png


JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - It's official. Indo-Pacific as a geopolitical concept has made it into Indonesia's foreign-policy lexicon. And Indonesia is already moving on to put its markers while most other nations in the region have still not caught on.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said Indonesia this year would deploy its diplomacy not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also across the vast Indian Ocean.

"Indonesia continues to fight to turn the Indian Ocean into a zone of peace, and to build a greater sense of regionalism around the ocean," Retno said in her annual foreign policy speech on Jan. 9.

This is not exactly a pivot from the traditional way of looking at the region as strictly Asia-Pacific or East Asia, as some countries, including the United States under President Donald Trump have done. But this is the first time that the Indo-Pacific concept has been discussed at length in a foreign-policy statement.

Indonesia, out of its own national interests, will pursue both regionalisms, through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

"Amid the global and regional political changes, Southeast Asia, which is located at the crossroads between the Indian and Pacific oceans, must continue to remain a peaceful and open region. Indonesia, with other Asean nations, must be the main player in the establishment of any regional architecture," the minister said.

The role of Asean is important as the 50-year regional organization has been in the driver's seat when it comes to building regional structures, including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum and the East Asia Summit.

"Indonesia, with Asean, will continute to contribute to the strengthening of positive and inclusive cooperation, and not cooperation based on suspiscions or even threat perceptions," the minister said.

The Indo-Pacific concept originated from India, and Australia soon joined in as they sought to promote it as an alternative way of looking at the region, obviously for reasons strategic to their own interests.

Indo-Pacific gained ground when President Trump used the term in all his speeches during his tour of Asia in November, avoiding "Asia Pacific" completely. China sees an American conspiracy in this shift as an attempt to weaken its influence in Asia.

But make no mistake that Indonesia is not doing this to follow Trump's move, although the timing unfortunately may make it seem so.

The Indo-Pacific concept is consistent with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's vision of building Indonesia as a maritime nation, even a maritime power some way down the road.

In his debut at the East Asia Summit in Naypyidaw in 2014, Jokowi explained his idea of a global maritime fulcrum, saying Indonesia "must assert itself as a force between two oceans: The Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean."

Located at the centre where the two oceans meet, Indonesia, rather than Australia, which is at the fringe, is better placed to take the initiative in developing the regional concept. In other words, the Indo-Pacific concept is not likely to take off without Indonesia's endorsement or active role.

Indonesia also controls four vital sea lanes of communication for international trade and shipping, namely the busy Malacca, Sunda, Lombok and Makassar straits, three of which link the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Indonesia has quietly started developing Indo-Pacific regionalism.

During its tenure as chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) last year, Indonesia hosted the group's first summit after 20 years of existence, and held no less than 30 meetings before handing over the baton to South Africa in November.

The Jakarta Concord, issued at the summit in Jakarta, committed Indian Ocean nations to abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the norm to preserve peace and stability in the region.

During a meeting with visiting Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj this month, the two countries agreed to strengthen and deepen their strategic partnership for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

A new regional architecture is in the making, and Indonesia is already setting the tone, starting with confidence-building measures through dialogues.

"The regional architecture will be best if built through a building-block approach," Retno said.

The writer is Editor-in-Chief of The Jakarta Post and comments regularly on local and regional affairs. The paper is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media.

 
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Opinion

Indonesia is a Pan Indo-Pacific super power

Phar Kim Beng
Kuala Lumpur / Wed, April 14, 2021 / 01:24 am


1618415115978.png

On the frontline: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (center), accompanied by Navy chief of staff Adm. Ade Supandi (left) and other senior officials, inspects the warship KRI Imam Bonjol 383 after a Cabinet meeting onboard in the Natuna waters, Riau Islands, on Thursday. Of late, Chinese fishing vessels have several times encroached into Indonesia’s Natuna waters to catch fish illegally. (Courtesy Setpres/Krishadiyanto)


Indonesia is a maritime super power. It is time to acknowledge it beyond the notion of Indonesia as a “global maritime fulcrum”. To begin, Indonesia is sixth in terms of the size and scale of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Ahead of Indonesia are respectively France; United States; Australia; Russia; and United Kingdom. Regardless of who will be the top dog in the post COVID-19 world order, be it the US or Group of 7, or, perhaps China in combination with Russia, Indonesia's EEZ's numerical superiority and advantages will forever remain unchallenged.

The key is to understand deep-sea drilling as the EEZ extends out to 200 nautical kilometers; create a strictly well managed Indonesian sovereign wealth fund that can protect the revenues drawn from the EEZ, which Indonesia seems to be doing with the help of Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) and International Private Investment Cooperation (IPIC); the latter a private arm of the US State Department.

Should Indonesia have any doubts about learning from the best-case practice, especially on how to protect the resources and revenue of the EEZ, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, with the blessing of President Joko Widodo and the Cabinet, should immediately strike up a strategic relationship with Norway or the Norwegian Sovereign Fund.

Why with Norway first? This is because Indonesia is an archipelagic state, with some 18,000 islands. With many of them still underdeveloped. Yet, the challenging geography of Norway, which was a sleepy hollow from the 1950s until the 1960s, did nothing to stop Oslo from becoming a formidable power.

Once Norway discovered oil on Aug. 1, 1969 in the North Sea, there was no turning back. It was all about non-corruption, and sound management of these incoming revenues, and reinvesting the oil bonanza in strategic portfolios and stocks professional and globally.

Norway did not leave out its investment on barge and oil tankers, often by working hand-in-hand, with Denmark, its Scandinavian neighbor. Invariably, even in spite of the impact of COVID-19, the Norwegian Sovereign Fund alone has become the largest in the world, valued at almost US$1.24 trillion.

If one looks at the top 10 countries with their respective EEZ, Indonesia can be friendly with the first five, and Jakarta can also have joint partnership (JV) with the next 17 countries with the varying sizes of EEZ, including Norway at rank 17, the spectrum of collaboration on EEZ is endless for Indonesia, whether Europe, Asia, the Pacific. Within Indo-Pacific, Indonesia can work with countries that already have an Indo-Pacific strategy, such as the US, Japan, Australia, India, the UK; with the Philippines being the only member state of ASEAN that has a large EEZ, which puts it at number 21.

The fact is Indonesia is entitled to a Pan Indo-Pacific strategy to work with more countries with large EEZ. The "ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific," as agreed by the ASEAN Leaders Summing in Bangkok in July 2019 was important but insufficient to showcase Indonesia's maritime prowess beyond ASEAN centrality, or, Indo-Pacific strategy.

Moreover, it is estimated in a maritime study that the total value of all the oceans in the world are worth more than $30 trillion; 30 times the gross domestic product of Indonesia currently. Of this gross number, only $1.3 trillion of the oceanic value has been tapped over the last century. But Jakarta must be more ambitious.

Why? Aside from working with all the top five countries in terms of potential JV in Indonesian EEZ, where France has 93 percent of its EEZ in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, Indonesia can also form various JVs with others lower in the league nearer to Indonesia too. For example, working with France poses one difficulty for Indonesia. France needs to prove it is a worthy Indo-Pacific power first by showing its ability to cruise along critical sea lanes; beyond demonstrating its sizable EEZ. Second, Indonesia is one of the three littoral states that control the Straits of Malacca, with Malaysia and Singapore as the other two. France, as a newcomer, has to work with all, especially Indonesia.

Jakarta does not need to wait for anyone. Third, with Indonesia owning Natuna Island, which is strategically located in the North Natuna Sea, staring straight at the South China Sea, almost touching one of China's nine dash lines, the China-Indonesia tie is squared; based on mutual respect. Indeed, should Indonesia need more JV partners with a large EEZ that is experienced with deep sea fisheries, number 7, which is Canada can help, while number 8 is Japan won't resist too.

Last, Mexico and Chile, are members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), in which Indonesia belongs to as well. Mexico, Chile, and Indonesia can work collaborate on their EEZ as Pan-Indo-powers. Therefore, Indonesia must get its Pan Indo-Pacific grand strategy in place. With the Pan Indo-Pacific grand strategy, Indonesia can assist the development of neighboring Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste, Kiribati and Micronesia Federated States, all of which have huge EEZ, too.

*** The writer is founder CEO of Strategic Pan Indo-Pacific Arena (Strategicpipa.com).

 

Indos

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Just take a look on how much Indonesia spend on defense relative to its overall government budget and also the comparison with other ASEAN countries

1625196845999.png
 

lonelyman

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Indonesia takes ownership of Indo-Pacific geopolitics: The Jakarta Post columnist

In his commentary, the writer takes up Indonesia's quiet pursuit of the Indo-Pacific regionalism concept.


Endy M. Bayuni
  • Published
    Jan 17, 2018, 1:56 pm SGT
Facebook Twitter

View attachment 726999

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - It's official. Indo-Pacific as a geopolitical concept has made it into Indonesia's foreign-policy lexicon. And Indonesia is already moving on to put its markers while most other nations in the region have still not caught on.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said Indonesia this year would deploy its diplomacy not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also across the vast Indian Ocean.

"Indonesia continues to fight to turn the Indian Ocean into a zone of peace, and to build a greater sense of regionalism around the ocean," Retno said in her annual foreign policy speech on Jan. 9.

This is not exactly a pivot from the traditional way of looking at the region as strictly Asia-Pacific or East Asia, as some countries, including the United States under President Donald Trump have done. But this is the first time that the Indo-Pacific concept has been discussed at length in a foreign-policy statement.

Indonesia, out of its own national interests, will pursue both regionalisms, through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

"Amid the global and regional political changes, Southeast Asia, which is located at the crossroads between the Indian and Pacific oceans, must continue to remain a peaceful and open region. Indonesia, with other Asean nations, must be the main player in the establishment of any regional architecture," the minister said.

The role of Asean is important as the 50-year regional organization has been in the driver's seat when it comes to building regional structures, including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum and the East Asia Summit.

"Indonesia, with Asean, will continute to contribute to the strengthening of positive and inclusive cooperation, and not cooperation based on suspiscions or even threat perceptions," the minister said.

The Indo-Pacific concept originated from India, and Australia soon joined in as they sought to promote it as an alternative way of looking at the region, obviously for reasons strategic to their own interests.

Indo-Pacific gained ground when President Trump used the term in all his speeches during his tour of Asia in November, avoiding "Asia Pacific" completely. China sees an American conspiracy in this shift as an attempt to weaken its influence in Asia.

But make no mistake that Indonesia is not doing this to follow Trump's move, although the timing unfortunately may make it seem so.

The Indo-Pacific concept is consistent with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's vision of building Indonesia as a maritime nation, even a maritime power some way down the road.

In his debut at the East Asia Summit in Naypyidaw in 2014, Jokowi explained his idea of a global maritime fulcrum, saying Indonesia "must assert itself as a force between two oceans: The Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean."

Located at the centre where the two oceans meet, Indonesia, rather than Australia, which is at the fringe, is better placed to take the initiative in developing the regional concept. In other words, the Indo-Pacific concept is not likely to take off without Indonesia's endorsement or active role.

Indonesia also controls four vital sea lanes of communication for international trade and shipping, namely the busy Malacca, Sunda, Lombok and Makassar straits, three of which link the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Indonesia has quietly started developing Indo-Pacific regionalism.

During its tenure as chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) last year, Indonesia hosted the group's first summit after 20 years of existence, and held no less than 30 meetings before handing over the baton to South Africa in November.

The Jakarta Concord, issued at the summit in Jakarta, committed Indian Ocean nations to abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the norm to preserve peace and stability in the region.

During a meeting with visiting Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj this month, the two countries agreed to strengthen and deepen their strategic partnership for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

A new regional architecture is in the making, and Indonesia is already setting the tone, starting with confidence-building measures through dialogues.

"The regional architecture will be best if built through a building-block approach," Retno said.

The writer is Editor-in-Chief of The Jakarta Post and comments regularly on local and regional affairs. The paper is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media.

Modi won't be happy about you guys expand influence around Indian ocean, they think it belongs to them :rofl:
 

Song Hong

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No one in the region threatens the security of Indonesia. The biggest threats are internal nutcase such as Acehnese.
 

Indos

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2021 Military Strength Ranking

The finalized Global Firepower ranking below utilizes over 50 individual factors to determine a given nation's PowerIndex ('PwrIndx') score with categories ranging from military might and financials to logistical capability and geography.

Our unique, in-house formula allows for smaller, more technologically-advanced, nations to compete with larger, lesser-developed ones and special modifiers, in the form of bonuses and penalties, are applied to further refine the annual list. Color arrows indicate year-over-year trend comparison (Increase, Stable, Decline).

1625197547671.png



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Indonesia IMO will likely become number 16 even until 2030. The strength can be much boosted if Indonesia local defense industry can fulfill the majority of defense procurement spending since it will be much cheaper to acquire from them and more suistanable economically and budget wise. It is in the assumption Indonesia economy can grow in the average of 5 until 7 % until next decades.

IMO Local defense industry has the ability to start taking the huge portion of defense spending in 2017 and it should be supported by domestic financing as the procurement will likely use loan that will be paid gradually through yearly defence budget. It is also in the assumption of Jokowi administration keeps supporting the local defense industry through good and supportive policy and also through acquiring their products and services during his last term period.

Talking about domestic financing, this is where the domestic economy become a very importance variable, the banking system should have enough capability to finance large acquisition that previously funded by foreign loan. As biggest banks are state owned ones, it should make the loan approval get much easier to get with competitive interest rate.

In conclusion, in order to increase the ladder and become top ten strongest in the wolrd, Indonesia should pay greater attention on the economic development and also our local defense industry where R&D budget become very crucial as well.

Jokowi administration within 2020-2024 period is very critical to make the objective become reality starting in 2035. This is because through his administration there are many importance local defense industry program are underway like KF21/IFX, CBG submarine (where local defense industry will learn how to make complete submarine), Iver frigate (building complete frigate in local shipyard), GCI radar development, missile and cruise missile development program, UCAV development program (with supporting components like electronics and SAR radar development program).
 
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Titanium100

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2021 Military Strength Ranking

The finalized Global Firepower ranking below utilizes over 50 individual factors to determine a given nation's PowerIndex ('PwrIndx') score with categories ranging from military might and financials to logistical capability and geography.

Our unique, in-house formula allows for smaller, more technologically-advanced, nations to compete with larger, lesser-developed ones and special modifiers, in the form of bonuses and penalties, are applied to further refine the annual list. Color arrows indicate year-over-year trend comparison (Increase, Stable, Decline).

View attachment 758605


----------------------------------------------------

Indonesia IMO will likely become number 16 even until 2030. The strength can be much boosted if Indonesia local defense industry can fulfill the majority of defense procurement spending since it will be much cheaper to acquire from them. It is in the assumption Indonesia economy can grow in the average of 5 until 7 % until next decades.

IMO Local defense industry has the ability to start taking the huge portion of defense spending in 2017 and it should be supported by domestic financing as the procurement will likely use loan that will be paid gradually through yearly defence budget. It is also in the assumption of Jokowi administration keeps supporting the local defense industry through good and supportive policy and also through acquiring their products and services during his last term period.

It is not based on intelligence research I can assure you this and someone who takes alot of interest military. South Korea should not even be in top 15 let alone 5

Talking about domestic financing, this is where the domestic economy become a very importance variable, the banking system should have enough capability to finance large acquisition that previously funded by foreign loan. As biggest banks are state owned ones, it should make the loan approval get much easier to get with competitive interest rate.

In conclusion, in order to increase the ladder and become top ten strongest in the wolrd, Indonesia should pay greater attention on the economic development and also our local defense industry where R&D budget become very crucial as well.

Jokowi administration within 2020-2024 period is very crucial to make the objective become reality starting in 2035. This is because through his administration there are many importance local defense industry program are underway like KF21/IFX, CBG submarine (where local defense industry will learn how to make complete submarine), Iver frigate (building complete frigate in local shipyard), CGI radar development, missile and cruise missile development program, UCAV development program (with supporting components like electronics and SAR radar development program).
You have a good thread going but that military ranking is not based on pragmatic research and has been debunked by all experts. Brazil is at number 9 and in truth Algeria, Spain and Even Australia are way more armed and stronger militarily.. Brazil is very lightly armed to even make top 50 and there are other questionable listing on the list it is based on guess work and very lazy work majority is assumption example having Japan and South korea so far up is close to fairytale.. Edit it out and keep the remaining you have otherwise a great thread going
 
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Indos

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You have a good thread going but that military ranking is not based on pragmatic search and has been debunked by all experts. Brazil is at number 9 and in truth Algeria, Spain and Even Australia are way more armed and stronger militarily.. Brazil is very lightly armed to even make top 50 and there are other questionable listing on the list it is based on guess work and very lazy work majority is assumption example having Japan and South korea so far up is close to fairytale.. Edit it out and keep the remaining you have otherwise a great thread going
This Global Fire Power analysis use many variables like economy, population, industry, location, land mass, and others. It is not simple weapon vs weapon comparison, as in long and full scale war, this non defense variables are really matter
 

Titanium100

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This Global Fire Power analysis use many variables like economy, population and others, it is not simple weapon vs weapon comparison, as in long and full scale war, this non defense variables are really matter
I know the criteria they use but even that I did close check up on it and to be honest it is intellectually bankrupt and it is not measured correctly. IT is based on very sloppy work and lazy and it is basically guessing work..

Look I will give you quick example South Korea is put in top 5... As a country South korea doesn't have more population, armements or economy than UK or France and also Germany So while clearly being behind these countries on all variables they still are way ahead of them it doesn't make logical sense.

They put Germany in top 15 how is that even possible ? That is to low for Germany and Indonesia itself is top 10 country.. What intially happened here is guess work and went with countries names that sounded fancy because there is no intellectual research behind this I swear believe me when I say this
 
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By standing up to China, Australia may end up standing alone

BY JAMES LAURENCESON

October 14, 2021 8:30 AM GMT+8

Earlier this month, with great fanfare, Washington, London, and Canberra announced the AUKUS pact: a security arrangement meant to confront China. The deal was hailed as a “historic opportunity” by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison “to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

As the U.S.-China strategic rivalry intensifies, no other capital in the Asia-Pacific region has exceeded Canberra’s gumption in backing Washington, as well as trying to rally others to the cause. Security arrangements like the AUKUS deal might imply that these efforts are paying off, as America strongly supports Canberra’s efforts as relations with China worsen.

But the realm of trade tells a more complicated story. Canberra’s handling of superpower relations has provided a cost-free lesson for those elsewhere. Australia is the starkest example of a dilemma all countries in the region face: relying on China for economic growth, yet on the United States for security. Canberra’s choices reveal the mistakes behind a mindset that regards suffering economic repercussions for “standing up to China” as a badge of honor—and how a country that takes such an approach would likely stand alone, pundit plaudits aside.

Australia’s tilt against China began in the second half of 2016. But for the most part, Beijing limited its displeasure to the diplomatic realm. The last time a leader’s visit took place was in March 2017, and ministerial-level visits were few and far between.

This changed in April 2020 when Australian political leaders conveyed a distinct impression of coordinating with the Trump administration to attack China over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beijing unleashed a campaign of trade disruption that now affects around a dozen Australian exports—everything from coal to wine.

Despite local boosters of Canberra’s “crazy-brave” approach emphasizing that officials in Tokyo and New Delhi have issued joint statements with Canberra “opposing coercive economic practices,” neither Tokyo nor New Delhi were prepared to even confront China by name.

Indonesia, the indisputable center of economic and strategic gravity in Southeast Asia, declined altogether to sign up to any reference to economic coercion.

The fact is that plenty of capitals have serious concerns about China’s behavior under President Xi Jinping and have far more serious direct disputes with Beijing than does Canberra. But few appear convinced that the Australian government’s approach is preferable to a strategy of cautious hedging.

And why would they be?

Australia is now an outlier in having no senior political dialogue with China and in the breadth of trade disruption it is experiencing.

In June, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered pointed remarks while standing alongside Prime Minister Morrison at a joint press conference: “There will be rough spots [with China]…and you have to deal with that…But deal with them as issues in a partnership which you want to keep going and not issues which add up to an adversary which you are trying to suppress.”

The region also hasn’t missed that while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, insisted in May that the United States “will not leave Australia alone on the field,” Washington has yet to show any interest in bearing a cost to make good on that promise.

In March, the acting U.S. ambassador in Canberra, Mike Goldman, cheered Australia on: “I’d just say keep on doing what you’re doing but with confidence that the United States and other like-minded democracies see an interest in having Australia succeed.” Yet when presented with the latest trade data showing American companies were exporting more commodities to China, filling the gap left by barred Australian imports, the U.S. embassy declined to comment.


Six months after White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell insisted that the U.S. was “not prepared to improve relations” with China so long as Australia was being hit with trade attacks, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is now talking up increased trade with China: “It’s just an economic fact. I actually think robust commercial engagement will help to mitigate any potential tensions.”

After an eight-month review of the U.S.-China trade relationship, this week the U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, announced that the Biden administration was striving for a “recoupling” rather than decoupling. She said her intention was to advance this agenda and tackle ongoing U.S. concerns through direct dialogue and negotiations with the Chinese side.

Meanwhile, Australia’s trade minister, Dan Tehan, has not been able to secure even a phone call with his counterpart in Beijing since he took on the portfolio in December last year.

Ambassador Tai also emphasized that enforcement of the Phase One deal the Trump administration struck with Beijing in January 2020 was a priority. This deal contained numerous Chinese commitments to purchase American goods, putting producers in Australia at an unfair disadvantage.

To be clear: None of this excuses or deflects attention away from Beijing’s bad behavior toward Australia. And, for its part, Washington’s support for American producers and households is exactly what one should expect.

As Michèle Flournoy, a former senior Clinton and Obama administration official, stated last month: “I’m not sure that the White House can control Napa Valley exports of wines to China.”

This complicated balance is well understood in Australia’s region. The one exception, perhaps, is Canberra.

 

Song Hong

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The most important milestone Indonesia need to surmount to be a great regional power is to annex Malaysia, effectively purging the humiliation of 1824 Anglo Dutch treaty. I do not see any solution to Malays' racism problem less a annexation by Indonesia.

Malays are getting cancerous day by day.

A simple 2km (another 2km is Singapore effort) RTS takes 7 years to complete on today's projection.

In comparison 140km Indonesia HSR takes 4 years.


 

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