The Long Shadow of the Cold War: The Cold War Policies of the United States towards Asia and their Impact on Indonesia

  • Baskara T. Wardaya (Author)


In its Cold War policies toward Asia, the United States aimed at seeking economic recovery and geopolitical stability while controlling the process. Along with securing Southeast Asia as an important market and source of raw materials for itself and its allies, the intent was also to rehabilitate Japan and other Cold War allies. In Indonesia these policies resulted in US support for the massive anti-communist purge that began in Indonesia in 1965. This paper intends to show that in Indonesia, the US these policies were a success, as shown by the ouster of President Sukarno and the massive purging of the alleged members of the Indonesian communist party (PKI), as well as the installation of a new and pro-Western government. These successes, along with the benefits that accrued, left the United States reluctant to press the Indonesian government to deal with issues related to the purge. The refusal of the Indonesian government to deal with the 1965 anti-communist purge, in turn, has made it impossible for the purge’s victims and survivors to seek justice and reconciliation on the matter. As a result, decades after the end of the Cold War, they continue to suffer from its impact.


Cold War, United States, Indonesia, 1965, anti-communist purge, history