Jokowi’s Global Maritime Fulcrum after two years: What Indonesia’s South China Sea policy reveals

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo came into office in 2014 promising a new geopolitical doctrine, dubbed the ‘Global Maritime Fulcrum’. It promised to turn Indonesia rightfully back to its archipelagic identity, restore domestic economy, and ensure a rules-based regional maritime order. How has the doctrine been implemented thus far? Particularly with regards to the foreign policy dimension, how has the doctrine performed in the face of growing tension in the South China Sea and in Indonesian waters around the Natuna islands? Why have Jokowi’s South China Sea policies been inconsistent—preferring to settle incidents behind closed doors at one time but visiting the Natunas on a warship at another? What explains Jakarta’s inconsistent South China Sea policies and what do they tell us about the Global Maritime Fulcrum’s prospects and challenges?

About the Speaker

Evan A. Laksmana is a senior researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jakarta. He is also a doctoral candidate at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where he was a Fulbright Presidential Scholar (2011–15). He is currently a visiting PhD scholar at the University of Sydney’s Southeast Asia Centre and has previously held fellowships and research positions with the Lowy Institute for International Policy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. He has published for Asian Security, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Harvard Asia Quarterly, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Defence Studies, Security Challenges, Journal of Strategic Studies, Political Studies Review, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and others. He tweets at @EvanLaksmana.