July 2010, Volume 21, Number 3 $12.00Afghanistan & Iraq: Taking Stock Zalmay Khalilzad Scott Worden Adeed Dawisha Liberation Technology Larry Diamond Ukraine: Democracy in Danger? Henry Hale Gwendolyn Sasse S.B. Yudhoyono on the Indonesian Experience Mvemba Phezo Dizolele on the DRC Juan Pablo Luna & Rodrigo Mardones on Chile Ephraim Ya’ar & Yasmin Alkalay on Muslim Attitudes Jacques Rupnik on Václav Havel Judith Kelley on Election Observation The Rise of the “State-Nation” Alfred Stepan, Juan Linz & Yogendra Yadav
6 Journal of Democracy That is because the world will be more—not less—swept by thepowerful force of globalization. Globalization is bringing greater con-nectivity—of people, goods, services, information, and ideas. Nations,communities, families, and individuals will be mutually “exposed” toone another. Prosperity will spread, along with the self-esteem that goeswith it. The middle class everywhere will grow—it is said that, for thefirst time in history, more than half the world’s population can nowloosely be categorized as middle class. In that process, as the middleclasses grow in strength and confidence, sooner or later they are boundto seek greater transparency and accountability in the decisions that af-fect their lives. No political system can ignore this. For all such systems,the choice is either to adapt and survive or to resist and crumble. A Surprisingly Swift Transition Regardless of how one defines that elusive term “democracy,” I haveno doubt that the future belongs to those who are willing to responsiblyembrace pluralism, openness, and freedom. I say this based on the Indo-nesian experience. During the 1970s and 1980s, when we experiencedhigh economic growth, Indonesians found it convenient to stay in our“comfort zone,” an authoritarian system that sought stability, develop-ment, and national unity at all costs. We believed then that Indonesians were not ready for democracy—that democracy was not suitable for Indonesia’s cultural and historicalcircumstances. It was widely held that democracy would lead to nationalregress, rather than progress. Thus, our political development was forcedto proceed through a very narrow and rigid corridor. The certainty of au-thoritarianism was preferred to the uncertainty of democracy. What many of us find surprising is how fast Indonesians ditched thatnotion, and how swiftly we transformed our mindset. Yes, it took somenoisy soul-searching and fierce public debate about the form and pace ofdemocratic change. But ten years after we held our first reformasi freeelections in 1999, democracy in Indonesia is irreversible and a daily factof life. Our people not only freely but enthusiastically accept democracyas a given—as their right—and they increasingly feel ownership of theirpolitical system. This proves that there was a deep-seated democratic impulse amongmany Indonesians that was just waiting to be drawn out. It also showsthat, once individuals and communities get a taste of the exercise of de-mocracy and choice, they are likely to cling to it and fight for it when itis under threat. In short, we have awakened our democratic instinct. Indonesia’s democratic experience is also revealing in another way.For many decades, we lived in an intellectual and political environmentwhich suggested that we had to choose between democracy and eco-nomic growth. “You cannot have both. It’s one or the other,” they said.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono 7And for many years we believed that—and chose economic growth overdemocracy. I do not wish to prejudge my predecessor. But I can tell you thatsuch is no longer the case in Indonesia. Today our democracy is grow-ing stronger, while at the same time Indonesia is registering the third-highest economic growth among the G-20 countries (after China andIndia). In other words, we do not have to choose between democracyand development—we can achieve both! And we can achieve both atthe same time! Indonesia’s democratic experience is also remarkable when one con-siders the doomsday predictions about it only a little over a decade ago.When we first embarked on the path of democracy, there were voices,both internally and internationally, who said we would fail. And whynot? Indonesia was in total disarray. Our economy contracted by 12percent. Ethnic violence flared up. East Timor seceded from Indonesia.Terrorist bombs were exploding. The constitutional crisis seemed end-less. Between 1998 and 2001, we had four presidents: Suharto, Habibie,Abdurrahman Wahid, and Megawati Sukarnoputri. Thomas Friedmancompared Indonesia to Russia, calling it a “messy state—too large towork, too important to fail.” Many predicted that, after East Timor’ssecession, Indonesia would break apart. Some even talked about ourbecoming a failed state. Yet we proved the skeptics wrong. Indonesia’s democracy has gonefrom strength to strength. We held three peaceful national elections onschedule in 1999, in 2004, and in 2009. We peacefully resolved theconflict in Aceh with a democratic spirit, and pursued political and eco-nomic reforms in Papua. We made human-rights protection a nationalpriority. We pushed forward an ambitious decentralization program.Rather than regressing, Indonesia is progressing. There is a larger lesson at work here: No matter how bad the political,economic, and social conditions, no matter how steep the fall to unimag-ined depths, democracies can pull through. There is a way up. There isalways hope, and one should never let go of it. It is important to keep in mind that Indonesia’s democratic develop-ment could have easily gone the other way—on a downward spiral, lead-ing to a crash. I personally believe that there is a “hidden hand” at workhere, guiding us to make the right turns at critical crossroads in history.But I also know that it takes more than luck. Making democracy workrequires faith, discipline, determination, and creative improvisation. One of the key lessons we have learned is that democracy must beconnected with good governance. In the early years of our transition,this was one of the hardest things to do. We were so consumed by theeuphoria of our newfound freedom that governance sometimes suffered.In some places, mismanagement and corruption became worse underelected leaders. Quickly, we realized that democracy is not a panacea.
8 Journal of DemocracyElections alone will not automatically solve the age-old problems ofpoverty, corruption, separatism, and unemployment. And leaders whoindulge for too long in populist rhetoric without producing results willend up hurting the people who elected them. In our case, it was only once democracy was combined with goodgovernance that we were able to strengthen national unity, resolve con-flicts, enhance economic growth, and promote social cohesion. That iswhy I believe it is important for this Assembly to discuss how democra-cies can better deliver results for their people. How do we produce betterleaders? How do we ensure that more democracy means less corruption?How do we make sure that democracy leads to responsible and respon-sive government? The appeal of democracy should rest not just on the power of choice,but also on the promise that it will bring better opportunities to citi-zens. As we try to achieve this, we should always keep in mind thatgood governance is neither a natural feature nor a monopoly of democ-racies. Nondemocracies and semidemocracies can also develop goodgovernance. Every—and I mean every—political system must earn theprecious reputation of delivering good governance and not take it forgranted. I can tell you that one of the key challenges for Indonesia’s demo-cratic development is how to minimize and ultimately do away with“money politics.” This, I know, is a problem even for many establisheddemocracies, Western and non-Western alike. We know that moneyalways follow politics, in a variety of ways. But money politics canseriously undermine democracy because it induces elected leaders andpoliticians to serve their paymasters at the expense of the public good.It also produces an artificial democracy, one that betrays the public trustand crushes democratic ideals. The more money politics prevails, theless the people’s aspirations will be heard, and the more democracy willsuffer. Certainly, fighting money politics will be a challenge for Indone-sia’s democracy in the short, medium, and long terms. One of the reasons our democracy has worked derives from a hardlesson from our past: the need to build a future that focuses on institu-tions and rules, not personalities. History, of course, is full of great menand women. But political systems that depend upon the force of indi-vidual personalities will find it increasingly hard to sustain themselves.As we twice experienced in Indonesia, when a strong personality fellfrom power, the entire system crumbled with him because the systemwas simply a mirror image of the leader. Thus I would prefer to definestrong leaders as those who are able to develop a durable system. That is why it is extremely critical for our democratic developmentto build lasting institutions. In the past ten years, this is precisely whatwe have done. Our periodic elections ensure political accountability andpeaceful turnovers of power. The office of the president is no longer the
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono 9all-powerful dominant executive post that it once was. The military andpolice no longer intervene in politics. There is a system of checks andbalances. The parliament is vibrant and completely independent, andso is the judiciary. The constitutional relations among them are clearlydefined. And the rule of law reigns supreme in our land. All this is important because, while leaders may come and go, thesystem must remain, and democracy must go on. Indeed, when I endmy second presidential term in 2014 (Allah willing), I expect the affairsof the state to continue as usual. That will be a sign of democracy inprogress. Change from Within One of the reasons our democracy has held up is that it is completelyhomegrown. Democracy cannot be imposed from the outside. Democ-racies that are not sourced from within, or that cannot generate home-grown energy, will run out of steam and experience political decay. Yes,our democracy came out of a political crisis triggered by the 1997 finan-cial crisis, which originated from outside our borders. But the desire toget rid of corruption, collusion, and nepotism came wholly from within.The aspiration for political change and reformasi came from within.The determination to rebuild Indonesia anew came from within. Thesethings were not imposed by outsiders, but were the genuine will of theIndonesian people. Of course, we have been open and have learned a lot from our friendsaround the world. Ultimately, however, we are our own stakeholders inour democratic experiment. If we rise or fall, it is because of our owndoing or undoing. It is telling that last year a survey found that some85 percent of Indonesians believed that the country was heading in theright direction. They may not agree with the leader or with the opposi-tion; they may be critical of government policies, as they should alwaysbe; but they believe in their hearts that the system is working, and theyare optimistic about it. To a new democracy like Indonesia, this is veryencouraging. It is a sign that democracy is maturing. It also means that you can never go wrong if you trust the people. Ifthe three Indonesian elections in the past ten years have taught us any-thing, it is that the voters are much smarter than most politicians givethem credit for being. Politicians may wage dirty campaigns, confusethe public with deceptions, spark messages of hatred, try to seduce theminto returning to the past, or promise them the world. Yet ultimately thevoters will make up their own minds, and in the voting booth they willresponsibly, carefully, and rationally cast their vote. What is incredibleis that this is generally happening regardless of the educational or eco-nomic status of the voters. Thus, if we in Indonesia have made the right turns in our recent his-
10 Journal of Democracytory, it is only because the power of judgment rests in the hands of goodpeople who exercise it with great caution. In the last three elections, thepeople have turned out in large numbers to vote. Even though votingis not compulsory, and even though we have a complex system that re- quires voters to return to the voting booth several times within a period of months,We in Indonesia have turnout in Indonesia has been consistentlyshown that Islam, very high. The voters know that there isdemocracy, and a direct and absolute connection betweenmodernity can grow their ballots and the future of their coun-together. try. That is why the most terrible thing to waste in a democracy is the mandate from the people, and the most precious asset tokeep is the public trust. Believe me, once you lose that trust, you willnot regain it. Indeed, I see democratic development as a constant process of ex-panding the opportunities and empowerment of the people. It is a pro-cess that promotes gender equality and brings more women into politics.It is a process that reaches out to those who are still marginalized. It is aprocess aimed at achieving a national consensus on the future directionof the country while preventing a tyranny of the majority. It seeks tobuild a democracy where every citizen can become a stakeholder. For an exceedingly diverse country like Indonesia, that means notjust promoting multiparty democracy but also building a multiethnicdemocracy, and one that guarantees freedom of religion for all. We inIndonesia have shown that Islam, democracy, and modernity can growtogether. We are a living example that there is no conflict between aMuslim’s spiritual obligation to Allah, his civic responsibility as a citi-zen in a pluralist society, and his capacity to succeed in the modernworld. It is also telling that in our country Islamic political parties areamong the strongest supporters of democracy—and they have every rea-son to be. This brand of moderation, openness, and tolerance, in Indonesia andin other societies around the world, is the seed of a twenty-first-centuryworld order marked by harmony among civilizations. It is a sad fact thathumanity has never had the good fortune to enjoy a century without con-flict or contest between civilizations and cultures. But the twenty-firstcentury can be different. It need not—it must not—be a century of theclash of civilizations. It can be a century marked by the emergence of aglobal conscience, working across cultures and civilizations to advancethe common cause of peace and progress. That is why I appreciate the theme of your conference: “Solidarityacross cultures.” It is time for us to build on this solidarity across cul-tures to promote a confluence of civilizations, and thereby to make thetwenty-first century the best in the history of humankind.