Cablegate: Visit of U/S Burns and Three Aspects of A


DE RUEHJA #1971 3361042
O 021042Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Visit of U/S Burns and Three Aspects of a
Turning Point for Bilateral Relations


1. (SBU) Your visit will be only the second opportunity this year
for high-level, in-depth discussion of the bilateral relationship.
Since the
Secretary's visit in February significant progress has been made in
such fields as education, counter- terrorism, science and
technology, and people-to- people exchanges. Our scene-setter
describes that
progress well. This message briefly describes three
aspects of the relationship that provide the context
for everything we do on specific issues.

2. (SBU) The relationship suffers from inadequate trust on both
sides. The 1990s were a difficult period. The U.S. side
terminated military cooperation
because of human rights violations, which then got
even worse in the tumult that accompanied the end of
the Soeharto government and the independence of East
Timor. The USG stood aside when Indonesia faced the
Asian currency crisis in 1998. As Indonesian
democracy took its first steps, we had adequate
reasons to put little faith in the future here. As a
consequence the security relationship suffered,
business investment stalled, and people-to people ties
dropped off. Although the relationship is now
enjoying a springtime, there are still too few
Americans stepping up their activities and too many
Indonesians who wonder if the USG should be counted on
as a long-term partner. Rebuilding trust is
necessarily an effort that takes time.

3. (SBU) The second challenge is that both sides want
to change the character of the relationship from
patron (or donor) to client into a real partnership.
But the bureaucratic habits on both sides resist
change. We tend to ask how to judge or reward
Indonesia, and often we design programs first and
inform the Indonesians later. Indonesians may try to
imagine how to work with us in Afghanistan or to
collaborate on climate issues, but the long-standing
bureaucratic habit is to wait to hear what programs we
bring from Washington. However, to create a real
partnership we need bilateral accomplishments rather
than unilateral deliverables to characterize high-
level visits. As with trust, changing this
relationship into a partnership is a challenge for
both sides.

4. (SBU) The third challenge is although we both know
that the Cold War and the "unilateral moment" are
past, neither side has a clear picture how the
structures of international relations will evolve.
Surely such change brings opportunity. For example,
Indonesian membership in the G-20 provides an
opportunity for Indonesia to distance itself from Non-
Aligned, Third World posturing and to develop a habit
of responsible, pragmatic leadership. SBY?s work on
climate change and our strong cooperation on counter-
terrorism are both good indications. We also have a
bundle of initiatives in the fields of education,
health, and science and technology that aim to foster
a culture of intellectual rigor, openness to sharing
knowledge, and cooperation. Such a culture could
displace the nationalistic and ill-informed responses
that limit Indonesia's appeal as a partner. Working
together can have a real impact on how Indonesia
defines its role in the 21st century.

5. (SBU) Your staff and Embassy Jakarta have put
together a good program for your visit; the
Indonesians are looking forward to your discussions;
and, there are good odds this becomes an important
milestone in bilateral relations.


© Scoop Media

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