Sat, 22 Jan 2000

An aircraft carrier in sight?

Outwardly, the sea has calmed down and the "sharks" have been chased away, though some are still swimming around; they are called shark provocateurs. Yet Mr. Clinton from the USA found it necessary to send special emissaries from the White House, such as Mr. Summers and U.S. Ambassador Robert S. Gelbart, to assure President Abdurrahman Wahid, popularly known as Gus Dur, that the USA is backing him up with all available means, including, I believe, an aircraft carrier, if the situation calls for it.

The rumor came from nowhere and people were talking about a rift which was developing between the highest executive circle and the military or just some of them.

In Latin American or South America, even in Middle Eastern countries, under similar suspicious conditions a coup attempt might have been already underway. Admittedly the Americans have a sensitive nose for that kind of stuff, rightly or wrongly, with or without unfounded prejudice.

It was clear from the outset that there were groupings in society led by discontented elements, who, for whatever reasons, wanted to make life for the coalition government under a president with a big heart (he is willing to forgive president convict Soeharto, mind you, but after a fair trial) and a swift tongue (though causing frowns, it is better than a bad tongue), unbearable.

There is suspicion that another influential political leader with a rapid-fire tongue is eagerly waiting for his turn to sit in Gus Dur's seat, so the rumors say. Why are land sharks or crocodile politicians often so shortsighted that they can't see that the best policy is to allow this administration to function, at least for a few years more, before judging its merits and any shortcomings considered so serious that a mass resignation of the Cabinet is called for. Have we to go once more through a period of costly democratic trials and errors?

For fifty years, this nation waited before it got a truly democratic framework after the general election last year. The international community is just began to show confidence in the new leaders, who have still to mature and acquire more experience in the running of state affairs. At least the new players, with God's help, hopefully so, are imbued with a new spirit of dedication to the welfare of the whole nation through democratic means, by avoiding the mistakes of the past and abandoning greed for selfish purposes, by aggressively reaching for the highest human endeavor and honor.

The presence of aircraft carriers are not needed if the sea gets calmer and opposition leaders and their armed supporters are willing to wait until the next general election.