Widening aggression against semicolonial peoples, and a question about Indonesia

Nick Fredman nfredman at scu.edu.au
Sun Jul 6 06:33:55 MDT 2003


Fred Feldman said http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/msg32652.html in
relation to the demand "stop military aid to Indonesia" in Green Left
Weekly.

FF: However, I think that, despite intentions to the contrary, a demand
that Australia cease sending arms to Indonesia amounts in the current
world situation to a demand for economic and military sanctions
against the Indonesian government and helps prepare Australian
imperialist actions against the oppressed nation of Indonesia that are
also in preparation today.

Comment:
There's never been any real Australian arms sales, or aid in the form
of hardware, to Indonesia. The former Labor government, which prided
itself on what it saw as a sophisticated "engagement with Asia"
foreign policy, tried to promote this with little success. Apparently
the Aussie-made weapons are just too crap. Military ties with
Indonesia has consisted of officer and general ranks training, joint
exercises, etc. This included the murderous Kopassus special forces.
This was done with rhetoric about "civilising" the Indo military
which wass basically racist. Around $10 million per year was spent on
training Indo troops through the 90s, a significant piece of a then
$10 billion defence budget. Military ties were unilaterally cut off
by the Indonesia government during the East Timor crisis of 1999, and
apparently have not been reinstituted (comrades may remember a couple
of years ago however it was revealed that certain US military ties
with Indo cut off by congress after the 1991 Dili massacre in East
Timor were secretly continued). The Aust gov't have made it clear
recently that in light of the "terror" threat, especially since the
Bali bombing last October, they want increased security cooperation,
joint training etc, and they have been completely supportive of the
onslaught on Aceh.

Whatever the merits of Fred's arguments re arms to Indo, it's clear
the previous form of military ties (now being planned again) were
aimed at tying the Indo military more closely to the Aust state and
imperialism generally, as opposed to military hardware which could
theoretically be used by a revolutionary or anti-imperialist
government, or one threatened by imperialism, which I assume what
Fred is getting at. However I think it's very unlikely there'd be any
serious plans for action against Indo itself in the forseeable
future, as this would only make sense if the place was seriously
falling apart, or under a government which threatened some interest
of imperialism in some way. In the forseeable future the only use for
both military hardware (largely supplied by the US and Britain) and
training is against any rebelliousness among the oppressed
nationalities and exploited workers, peasants and urban poor of the
archipeligo. I don't think we should support the training by
imperialist militaries of TNI officers and cadres just in case they
may in the future have to fight imperialism.

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