One of the bases of Indonesian foreign policy was planned out during Mohammad Hatta’s speech on the September 2, 1948 in front of the National Committee Workers’ Body. The Free and Active policy is an instrument for Indonesia to achieve global freedom, mutual respect and peace. However, current development portrays the need to revitalize Indonesia’s Free and Active policy.
“Indonesia is no longer rowing between two corals (ed. not taking any sides between two influences in international political landscape). Indonesia now is rowing through so many corals, and storms, and sharks in ocean,” said Dr. Abdurrahman Muhammad Fachir – Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia – during his opening remarks in the Convention on Reviewing the 70 years of Free and Active Foreign Policy (5/9).
At the Senate Hall of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), A.M. Fachir also stressed the importance of this convention bridging dialogue to develop Indonesia’s Foreign Policy into a more comprehensive level. The political principle will later become an important investment, in addition to the demographic bonus and status as a democratic country with the largest Muslim population in the world, to achieve the target of Indonesia Gold 2045.
Dr. Paripurna S.H., M.Hum, LL.M – Deputy Rector for Cooperation and Alumni Affairs in UGM – expressed his hope for Indonesia to develop with other countries by utilizing the principle of Free Active policy, which is in line with the spirit of Pancasila Ideology.
This Convention was held by the Department of International Relations UGM in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and the Indonesian International Relations Association (AIHII). Prof. Dr. Mohtar Mas’oed from DIHI UGM and Wildan Sena Utama S.S., MA., Department of History, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, UGM also presented in the event.
Prof. Mochtar has seen Free-Active policy in realist perspective which was the answer to global political condition. At that time, it dominated by conflict between two ideologies. On the other hand, constructivist understands Free and Active policy as a reflection of the values believed by Indonesian leaders, especially Moh. Hatta, who thought that international relations needed to be fostered with humanity and not just political rationality.
Viewed from the game theory, Free and Active foreign policy is strongly influenced by the domestic politics. Especially whether leaders adhere to the spirit of internationalism and the 1945 Constitution as well as the ability of the state to carry out foreign diplomacy. While externally, the implementation of political principles is also influenced by the implementation of foreign policy in general. In the future, Free and Active policy will be increasingly relevant to the international politics that are shifting to G-Zero. In other words, relations between countries are no longer based on clicks / groups driven by superpower countries but more to initiative-based and shared interests.
Wildan Sena Utama S.S., MA considered Free and Active policy as an actualization from internationalism believed by Moh. Hatta, who had studied in the Netherlands. Hatta saw the necessity for Indonesia to govern the direction of its own foreign policy, instead of depending on external circumstances and influence. This was relevant looking back to the context of the Cold War which occurred not only in Europe, but in Asia. Foreign policy that influenced by external factor would be very risky for a newly independent country like Indonesia.
Free and Active foreign policy takes into account national interests and geopolitical configuration. The implementation of the principle can be seen within the Asia-Africa Conference where Indonesia could manifest independence by making the Conference a space for dialogue for Asian-African countries.
The Conference has also become a manifestation on the value of Active, namely by gathering 25 newly independent countries and was considered weak to have a dialogue and declare the value of peace in the world. This action strengthened Indonesia’s position by giving recognition the figure of Indonesian leader.
Closing his presentation, Wildan considered that implementation Free and Active Policy in the era of President Joko Widodo needed to be inline with Nawacita and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Strategic Plan 2015-2019. There are four main focuses, namely (1) the implementation of economic diplomacy; (2) achievement of the World Maritime Axis; (3) expansion of ASEAN Leadership; and (4) increasing Indonesia position as a middle power at the global level. Free and Active Policy must then be developed into a diplomatic instrument that not only emphasizes on economic aspects for national development alone, but also as an instrument that pays attention to the strategic, political and cultural dimensions in order to realize the ambitions of the nation and support national interests.
Writer: Willibrordus Bintang Hartono
Editor: Imas Indra Hapsari
Translator: Novrisa Brilliantina