In recent years, Indonesia has emerged as a robust democracy with a dynamic economy. Now, as the largest and most influential member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Indonesia must leverage its newly acquired strength to confront the challenges facing it and its regional partners, while avoiding foreign-policy recklessness.
A worker carries a portrait of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in front of the palace in Jakarta. Indonesia has overcome past hurdles to become an important political force in the region. AFP / BAY ISMOYO
Indonesia has reason to be confident. Less than two decades after the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis ravaged the economy and provoked a social and political upheaval that ended President Suharto's three-decade-long rule, Indonesia is a member of the G20 and boasts the world's 15th highest GDP.
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