An authoritarian state merely a decade ago, Indonesia is now an open, pluralist democracy characterized by consistently high levels of economic growth, a growing middle class and booming foreign investment. Not only is Indonesia geostrategically important in the development of U.S. policy toward Asia, it is also a model for the coexistence of Islam and democracy and a key player in efforts to tackle global deforestation, biodiversity loss and climate change.
On February 7, Brookings hosted a discussion on Indonesia’s natural resources management in the context of the country’s political, economic and rule of law reform efforts, as well as its battle against terrorist groups. The panel also drew lessons for Burma’s political and economic transformation and its management of natural resources.
Brookings Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown provided insights from her recent fieldwork in Indonesia on illicit economies and organized crime; School of Advanced International Studies Associate Director William M. Wise analyzed the rise of terrorist activity in Indonesia; and Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Lex Rieffel discussed how Burma can learn from Indonesia’s economic reforms and management of foreign aid and foreign investment. Senior Fellow Richard Bush, director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.