chapter  Chapter Five
15 Pages

Indonesian Unity and the Cold War

WithPaul F. Gardner

The Republic of Indonesia, which had suppressed a communist uprising and espoused democratic ideals, was among the few bright spots in a darkening Asian landscape. The Indonesian Republic had long sought to catch the attention of the United States. Behind Sukarno’s remarks was undoubtedly a concern that the United States might attempt to draw Indonesia to its side in the Cold War. The Indonesian Republic’s initial parliamentary and party systems, modeled on those of the Dutch, unfortunately mirrored the deep religious, ethnic, and geographical cleavages. Indonesian officials in fact felt a need for economic assistance, but they were less than satisfied with the US response. The Indonesians had also been frustrated by frequent changes in aid levels contemplated by the United States. Indonesia abstained on the United Nation’s vote placing an embargo on China. Merle Cochran’s attempts to draw Indonesia to the side of the United States were clearly ill conceived.