Indonesia’s National Role Conceptions: Continuity Amidst Regional Change
This thesis analyses Indonesia's foreign policy in view of role conceptions held by the country's policy and intellectual community and their impact on policy behaviour at the ASEAN level. These role conceptions capture the ways decision-makers perceive Indonesia’s standing and influence in the region and beyond and include the country’s ‘independent and active’ foreign policy doctrine as well as widely held views of the country being a model democracy, a mediator and – increasingly – key actor in regional and global affairs. The research draws attention to how these notions shape Jakarta’s role in ASEAN Community-building and security regionalism. It focuses on a range of initiatives that emphasise ASEAN’s ‘liberal agenda’, including the ASEAN Charter and ASEAN’s approach to conflict resolution and the promotion and protection of human rights. In so doing, it critically reflects on Indonesia’s domestic performance, which stands in at times stark contrast to its agenda on the international stage. I argue that Indonesia’s commitment to promoting liberal norms and values in regional affairs is predominantly instrumental as it aims at consolidating ASEAN cohesion vis-à-vis the influence of external powers in order to advance the country’s regional leadership ambitions and desire to play a more active role at the global level.