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rise

The rise of Indonesia

Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim country by population and is one of South-East Asia’s most dynamic economies.

Located at the juncture between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, it has the potential to become a leading regional power.

However, its location is also a source of considerable challenges that Indonesia will have to manage attentively in the coming years.

Indonesia’s Geography

The very name Indonesia is revealing: it comes from Greek and means “Indian Islands”. As a matter of fact, Indonesia is an archipelago located at the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean, and this is a key factor that has shaped its geopolitical thinking.

In terms of dimension and configuration, Indonesia is a vast but fragmented state. It counts over 18,000 islands; the most important of which are Sumatra, Java, the southern section of Borneo, Sulawesi and the western part of New Guinea.

These islands, covered by a thick rainforest rich in wildlife, have a volcanic origin. This means that Indonesia is vulnerable to seismic events and tsunamis; something that has a negative impact on its human security environment.

The country extends over almost 8 million square kilometres if we take into account its maritime space including the Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ. Combined with its archipelagic nature, this makes it difficult for the central state to exert its power over all the territory; also, because fragmentation is reflected in demographic terms: the population exceeds 260 million citizens divided in more than 300 ethnic groups; and this has important implications on the country’s geopolitics.

Moving on, Indonesia’s position has a deep impact on its foreign affairs. Located at the crossroad between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Indonesia plays a pivotal role for international maritime trade.

Sumatra is the southern boundary of the Malacca Strait, one of the world’s busiest waterways and a strategic chokepoint. But Indonesia also controls other important straits; notably Sunda, Lombok and Makassar. These are all essential for trade between Europe and Asia, but also for the latter’s energy security.

Most of the oil it consumes transits through these narrow passages; which explains their geostrategic relevance. Indonesia hugely benefits from its role as a gateway between the two oceans, but this also brings considerable strategic problems because foreign powers have always been trying to control the archipelago.

This continues today: China, the US, Japan and India all have major interests at stake in the Indonesian Straits, and are trying to expand their influence on the country. Finally, the archipelago also hosts important natural resources like oil, gas, minerals, timber and fish. These commodities are a source of wealth for Indonesia, but also another driver for the presence of external powers.

Indonesia’s Geopolitical Thinking

Indonesia’s nature as an archipelago and its “crossroad location”, a concept known as posisi silang, have shaped its geopolitical thinking since it gained independence from the Netherlands in 1949. Indonesia had to assert its authority over its surrounding seas to ensure its prosperity and security. A first step in this sense was the 1957 Djuanda Declaration, by which Indonesia claimed its sovereignty over all the maritime areas around the archipelago; especially those located between its main islands like the Java and Flores seas.

This stance was later recognized internationally by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982. The Djuanda Declaration was the first step towards a more comprehensive doctrine called “Maritime Archipelagic Outlook”, or Wawasan Nusantara Bahari. First formulated in 1966, this Doctrine still stands today. It considers that Indonesia’s location leaves it vulnerable to foreign meddling and that its fragmented geography endangers the unity of the state; but it is also the basis for justifying Indonesia’s leading regional role.

In geostrategic terms, the doctrine considers Java and its sea as Indonesia’s core, which must be protected from external threats. Applying a mandala logic, it identifies three concentric layers that are the base of Indonesia’s foreign and defence policy.

The innermost circle is Indonesia itself, the middle one extends to South-East Asia and Australia, while the external zone includes the rest of the world. The sea is equally important from a geoeconomic point of view.

Indonesia is a trade crossroad, it has an important fishing industry and its waters host important hydrocarbon deposits, estimated to hold 3.7 billion barrels of oil and 2,900 billion cubic feet of gas. As such, securing the sea has a primary importance for the country’s economy.

Finally, in geopolitical terms, it considers the sea as the space connecting the various islands that form its geographically and culturally fragmented territory. This configuration makes separatism easier, and therefore is seen as a threat to the unity of the state; even though it is also argued that the separation of the different national groups reduces the risk of inter-ethnic conflict. Moreover, the sea is the mean by which foreign powers have reached the archipelago in the past.

Consequently, Indonesia believes that controlling the sea is a precondition to preserve the unity and the independence of the state. In this sense, it seeks to achieve resilience both at home and in neighbouring states, assuming that Indonesia is safe only if the archipelago and the surrounding countries are stable.

Yet, Indonesia must face several challenges. Apart from numerous secessionist movements, some of which have been successful, it must also cope with illegal fishing, smuggling, unauthorized immigration and piracy. The latter was once a major problem, but it has been greatly reduced thanks to multilateral efforts and by improving the living conditions of coastal areas.

Terrorism is also a matter of concern, and several attacks have already taken place.

In economic terms, even though Indonesia’s national strategy emphasizes the cohesion of the state and aims to limit foreign meddling, most of its hydrocarbons and of its resources in general are exploited by foreign corporations. In addition, there is a great disparity between urban areas like Jakarta and the rest of the country, especially outside Java.

Indonesia’s power

Indonesia can be considered a middle power, but it is definitely a rising one. Its GDP is the largest in South-East Asia, and in 2017 it amounted to 3.25 trillion measured in US dollars of the same year in terms of Purchasing Power Parity. This ranked the country as the world’s 7th largest economy, and it is projected to become the 4th by 2050. Indonesia’s steady 5% growth rate is helped by low inflation, a budget deficit under control and a public debt representing just 29% of the GDP. Moreover, saving is quite high at around 32% and investments are flowing in, thus paving the way to a continued growth. The trade balance is positive, driven by the export of commodities like oil, gas, coal, metals and palm oil; but also many other low added-value products such as clothing and electric components. Always in terms of PPP, its per capita GDP reached 12,700 dollars in 2017: a still low figure, but a remarkable progress from past levels. Unemployment is only 5.5%; yet, agriculture still retains 32% of the workforce and around 10% of Indonesians live below the poverty line, with 21% remaining at risk. The country also has real problems in terms of corruption and inequality, and must face notable environmental challenges: rising sea levels, deforestation, and extreme weather are already causing notable losses to its economy and are menacing its human security.

Indonesia’s armed forces are also evolving. It spends about 0.8% of its GDP on defence; and in spite of the emphasis given to the sea, the Army has a greater importance than the Navy. Land forces, notably marines and special forces units trained for asymmetric warfare, are indeed important for such a fragmented country; but the Navy remains underdeveloped. It mainly relies on corvettes, and having only 8 frigates and less than 5 diesel-electric submarines seems insufficient, even though it has a good park of minesweepers and there are talks to buy more subs. Similarly, the Air Force only counts around 40 fighters and some attack aircraft. These two branches have quite advanced equipment and are better than those of most ASEAN countries, but Indonesia will need to expand them to affirm itself as a regional power and to cope with challenges like China’s rise.

Conclusion: Indonesia’s foreign policy today

The maritime dimension, control over the straits, internal stability, autonomy from foreign influences and an active regional role have been the cornerstones of Indonesia’s foreign policy for decades. In 1955, Indonesia held a conference in Bandung that marked the birth of the non-aligned movement of states that did not want to side with neither the US nor the USSR.

Today, it still keeps this stance. Regionally, it supports integration through the Association of South-East Asian Nations, or ASEAN; and it aspires to become its leader. In its relations with external powers, notably the US and China, it attempts maximizing its autonomy by keeping ties with all of them. Indonesia maintains good political and trade relations with both, but it is worth mentioning that it hosts a significant Chinese diaspora which represents around 1% of the population and runs many successful business activities. At the same time, it also cooperates with other powers. Japan and India are important economic partners and security cooperation is growing, especially with the latter. Indonesia also trades with European countries; which are also important arms suppliers.

It is expected that Indonesia’s foreign policy will continue along this line in the next future: trying to maintain its partnership with multiple countries so to maximize its benefit and freedom of action. But in the evolving international scenery of the Indo-Pacific, where the US maintain a strong presence all while China and India are rising, it will be hard for Indonesia not to take sides.

The rise of Instagram and Influencer Marketing

Instagram (also known as IG) is a social networking application made for sharing photos and videos with the help of mobile devices running the iOS or Android (or Windows Phone) platforms. Created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October 2010 and was exclusively available to iOS and an Android version was released 6 months later.

IG created a lot of hype since its early days mainly due to the different types of filters to use in photos and making it available for users to edit photos using the filters in-app right before uploading their contents. IG was able to gather a million users in its first two months, and 10 million by the end of its first year of operation.
While many companies are engaged in direct marketing through their official IG accounts, Influencer marketing has recently become one of the latest and prominent marketing phenomenon- it refers to the promotion of brands and products online, and IG was one of the first social media networks to develop links between brands and influencers.

A key strength was perhaps the added backing by Facebook besides its inherent value of the highly visual posts. Influencer marketing is the notion of brands reaching their target audience through an online influencer- mostly celebrities and successful people with many followers; and pass on to their followers the message they intend to spread. It is true that some brands are considered quite influential themselves, but many firms found working with successful influencers with a large fanbase a great opportunity and an effective tactic to market their products.

The South China Sea Dispute | The Rise of China Mini Documentary | Episode 4

The South China Sea Dispute | The Rise of China Mini Documentary | Episode 4

KJ Vids is pleased to have launched the fourth episode in our Rise of China 2017 documentary series. In this episode you will learn more about the Sino-American conflict in the South China Sea.

Once both China’s dominant economic market and its physical infrastructure have integrated its neighbours into China’s greater co-prosperity area, the United States’ post–World War II position in Asia will become untenable.

The attempt to persuade the United States to accept the new reality has recently become most intense in the South China Sea. An area approximately the size of the Caribbean and bordered by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines and others of Southeast Asia, the sea includes several hundred islands, reefs, and other features, many of which are under water at high tide.

In 2012, China took control of Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines. Since then, it has enlarged its claims, asserting exclusive ownership of the entire South China Sea and redefining the area by redrawing the map with a “nine-dash line” that encompasses 90 percent of the territory. If accepted by others, its neighbouring countries have observed that this would create a “South China Lake.”

China has also undertaken major construction projects building ports, airstrips, radar facilities, lighthouses, and support buildings, all of which expand the reach of its ships and military aircraft and allow Beijing to blanket the region with radar and surveillance assets.

The United States has no doubt about what is driving this undertaking. As a recent Defense Department report notes, China’s “latest land reclamation and construction will also allow it to berth deeper draft ships at outposts; expand its law enforcement and naval presence farther south into the South China Sea; and potentially operate aircraft that could enable China to conduct sustained operations with aircraft carriers in the area.”

China’s longer-term objective is also clear. For decades it has chafed at the operation of US spy ships in waters adjacent to its borders.

While Chinese military planners are not forecasting war, the war for which they are preparing pits China against the US at sea. The powers that dominated China during the century of humiliation all relied on naval supremacy to do so.

Xi is determined to not make the same mistake, strengthening the navy, air, and missile forces of the PLA crucial to controlling the seas, while cutting 300,000 army troops and reducing the ground forces’ traditional dominance within the military.

Chinese military strategists, meanwhile, are preparing for maritime conflict with a “forward defense” strategy based on controlling the seas near China within the “first island chain,” which runs from Japan, through Taiwan, to the Philippines and the South China Sea. A third world war is not inevitable, but if there is to be WW3, it will certainly begin here.

Previous Episodes

Link to Episode 1 | https://youtu.be/MJLpGiHhr8E

In the first episode we had a look at the scale of China’s Economy today and China’s economic development, to understand why China has become a favourite by analysts around the world to become the great power of the 21st century.

Link to Episode 2 | https://youtu.be/73k3v-AxJvM

In the second episode we took a look at the challenges that China will have to overcome in order to assert its influence over the world. Is there a China economic bubble? Will China’s Economy collapse? This video will hopefully develop your understanding of the Chinese Economy.

Link to Episode 3 | https://youtu.be/nvm0V95yjeA

In the third episode we took a look at the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. What are his ambitions? Can he achieve them? In 2012, China’s President, Xi Jinping, said “The greatest Chinese dream is the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

The research for this video was based on an excellent book by Graham Allison called “Destined for War”. If you wish to buy it, using the link below will allow KJ Vids to generate a small commission which would help our YouTube Channel. Thank you.

Amazon Buy Book Link – http://amzn.to/2nGp1Cb

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel

We’re also currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help our operation produce more and better videos. You may donate what you towards our project here – http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kj-vids

Support our content by becoming a KJ Patreon
https://www.patreon.com/kjvids

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All Rights Reserved. Contact info@kjvids.co.uk if you are interested in licensing our content, advertising or working with us in other ways.

China’s Risks and Challenges | The Rise of China Mini Documentary | Episode 2

Please contribute towards KJ Vids research and editing costs at www.fundmypage.com/kjvids. Fund My Page is a safe crowdfunding platform that enables YouTube channels like ours raise funds so we can cover our costs and make more quality videos for you.

The “Rise of China” Mini Documentary | Episode 2 | China’s Economic Risks and Challenges

KJ Vids is pleased to have launched the second episode in our Rise of China 2017 documentary series. In this episode we will have a critical look on China Economy.

In the previous episode (https://youtu.be/MJLpGiHhr8E) we had a look at the scale of China’s Economy today and China’s economic development, to understand why China has become a favourite by analysts around the world to become the great power of the 21st century. In this episode we will take a look at the challenges that China will have to overcome in order to assert its influence over the world. Is there a China economic bubble? Will China’s Economy collapse? This video will hopefully develop your understanding of the Chinese Economy.

In May 2017, the Credit rating agency Moody’s cut China’s debt rating for the first time since 1989 and warned that the country’s financial health is suffering from rising debt and that China’s Economy is showing a slowing economic growth. More recently S&P Global Ratings downgraded China’s sovereign rating for the first time since 1999, citing the country’s greater economic and financial risks. Many other analysts also argue that there is a China debt crisis.

These Fears about debt levels in the world’s second-largest economy have reignited debate over the fundamentals of China’s future – whether the country is leaping over the middle-income trap with a leaner and more sustainable growth model or whether it is on a debt-fuelled path to disaster.

In this episode we will explain China’s economy and take a look into China’s Debt Bubble, China’s State Enterprise, China’s Employment, China’s Competition, China’s Fiscal System, China’s Real Estate, China’s Domestic Consumption and China’s Greatest Fear.

Watch Previous Episode of China Documentary | China’s Economic Miracle

The research for this video was based on an excellent book by Graham Allison called “Destined for War”. If you wish to buy it, using the link below will allow KJ Vids to generate a small commission which would help our YouTube Channel. Thank you.

Amazon Buy Book Link – http://amzn.to/2nGp1Cb

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel

We’re also currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help our operation produce more and better videos. You may donate what you towards our project here – http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kj-vids

Support our content by becoming a KJ Patreon
https://www.patreon.com/kjvids

Website – www.kjvids.co.uk
Facebook – www.facebook.com/KJVids
Twitter – www.twitter.com/kjvids2016
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kjvidsofficial

All Rights Reserved. Contact info@kjvids.co.uk if you are interested in licensing our content, advertising or working with us in other ways.

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