chapter  10
From dwifungsi to NKRI: Regime change and political activism of the Indonesian military
Pages 23

Assessing the political role of the military in the post-authoritarian Indonesia is an important inquiry into the country’s evolution of democratic polity. Since the fall of President Suharto in May 1998, the military has been pressured by both society and the international community to withdraw from politics, professionalize its institutional orientation, subordinate to the principle of civilian control and return to the barracks. Yet, a decade after Suharto’s downfall the process of military disengagement from politics is still incomplete, resulting in the formation of ‘defective democracy’ in which civilian and military elites share political power in the democratic system. Military leaders have preserved considerable powers under the civilian governments and they have influenced, albeit not dominated, political decisions and policies of civilian leaders during the post-Suharto era. Why it is that civilian political elites are incapable of navigating the military into the barracks? How can the military yield power under the democratic political environment? The scholarship of Indonesian politics has attempted to answer these questions by analysing the problems of military reform, civilian politics and weak civil society in the newly democratizing polity.1