ad info

 web features
 magazine archive
 customer service
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story



Page 2


Pangestu: How do you manage the transition where there are still authoritarian regimes? Indonesia is just starting the process. It's going to take time. My main concern is not just political but also social and economic. While you can describe what is ideal to make sure there is a participatory process, how do you get from here to there in a country not used to that kind of system. You have to think about stages: what is important to do in the short term, while recognizing what you want to do in the long term. We have had a change in president, but not the regime. There is a great deal of skepticism that the elections to be held in June will be fair. Only civil society is able to inform people. But again, we're starting from zero. How do you get civic education and awareness started? From the experience of the Philippines, it has to be across the board. Without it, I can't see how you can avoid the money politics and break the mindset that people are used to where local authorities tell them what to do and whom to vote for.

Fukuyama: It might be useful to separate liberalism from democracy. In the West, they are often together. You can talk about elections and representative government, which is part of democracy. There is the liberalism side as well, which has to do with the rule of law particularly in securing property rights. It is worthwhile reflecting on the appropriate timing and sequencing. It may pay off more to focus on the development of economic institutions and put off the development of formal democracy because economic institutions and a liberal rule of law are what create economic growth, [which] is conducive to democracy in the long run. This is a version of [Harvard professor Samuel] Huntington's authoritarian transition, an idea that has been around for some time.

Thomas: Maximizing economic growth especially in the short term, but not having the social and political sustainability, could be problematic. The question is whether the changes taking place in Asia are broadly based. Certainly the experience over the last few years suggests that the sustainability of growth over a long period of time does require concern for the social and political side simultaneously with the economic, and not sequenced one after the other. If that is taken to heart, that would be a big change in development thinking.

Rocamora: Former [Philippine] president [Fidel Ramos] said that [Indonesian] students should let up [their] pressure on President [B.J.] Habibie and let him do his work. That would be a disaster because there are many major issues in the democratization process that wouldn't go anywhere without the students pushing them. Corruption is one. Human rights is another. Of course, there needs to be some thought to how to reassert government authority. In Indonesia, it is very clear that the government has lost authority, not just at the top but at the base - the village heads, the town mayors. But if [reasserting authority] is done by knocking heads or putting people in jail, that would be disastrous because popular pressure and "organized" chaos - many aspects of which are quite negative - are what's pushing democratization.

Pangestu: We've had a total breakdown of authority and respect for the security forces - total chaos. If the problem can't be fixed before the [June 7] elections, then we probably should invite United Nations peacekeeping forces in because you can't hold elections under totally chaotic conditions.

Pei: In Indonesia, the first order of business is to restore political order. If it can't be restored, there can't be any room for political change. Any change will be superficial and unstable. For places like China and Vietnam, the government must seem serious in creating political opening. There is growing public demand for responsive government. But in some countries, there are no legitimate institutions to allow expression, and this will create, in the long run, a very untenable situation.

Pangestu: It's important to make sure people are aware that they have a choice. The elite and the urban [dwellers] are aware. The Philippines used religious organizations. I am not sure that can work in Indonesia. So it's going to be up to the students, media and local NGOs. And how do you avoid money politics? This is a crucial question. One way, based on other countries' experiences, is to empower people economically so they aren't bribed.

Yoo: After elections, whoever is elected should have some legitimacy. Political stability [requires] political legitimacy.

[ Next: Transparency or Bust ]

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.