Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Assessing Indonesia’s normative influence: wishful thinking or hidden strength

By Mathew Davies and Susan Harris-Rimmer

This article takes a critical stance on Indonesia’s normative influence. Whilst normative influence does help explain why Indonesia matters beyond the widespread consensus that it is weak, we also feel that its influence is often overstated. We examine three components of Indonesia’s normative influence, modelling, diplomacy and civil society activism. In each component we assess the strengths and weaknesses of Indonesia and identify where wishful thinking predominates over dispassionate analysis. We conclude by arguing that the Jokowi approach to foreign policy destabilises the traditional make-up of normative influence and, if it is pursued into the future, will lead to a re-composition of that influence.


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