Tue, 06 Apr 2004

RI-U.S. relationship

The articles as submitted by Ali Alatas in The Jakarta Post (March 31 and April 1) with all due respect, told us very little that is not already known. It could well be that from a diplomatic point of view, it is better to express an opinion that the relationship between the two countries (USA and Indonesia) are sound and solid, but perhaps in reality they are far from that.

The thinking between the two nations on many issues would indeed be poles apart, despite the fact that the politicians would have us believe something quite different. I often wonder why people in high positions must talk on behalf of their nation, especially in a country like Indonesia that is extremely diverse in its thinking. We always seem to forget that opinions are often dependent upon circumstances, thus diplomatically, a politician may well state one thing, and yet hand on heart he would dearly love to say and do the very opposite.

Ali Alatas says that "Indonesia" cannot abandon due process of law and the essential guarantees of democracy to which the nation has committed itself, but in reality, for that is all that really matters, could he say that Indonesia internally upholds the principles of equality before the law and justice to all of its citizens -- I think not.

One must be extremely careful in criticizing the United States of America (for all its many known failings), or any other country for that matter, if the backyard itself is littered with injustices and legal fiascoes. There is little doubt that Indonesia could have done a lot more in numerous areas.

The people of Indonesia are saying very clearly that little has been done over the past five years -- now can they all be wrong? The other thing of course would be the fact that the vast majority of people know very little about what is going on in this world -- and of course the politicians would be the very last people to relate this information truthfully.

Relationships are basically about achieving a desired objective, and history has showed us time and again that governments are only interested in that, with the body bags just an unfortunate necessity. What it all boils down to is that truth cannot be said, for the truth is too horrendous to reveal.

DAVID WALLIS Medan, North Sumatra