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Saturday, October 01, 2005


More bombs in Bali...

via Samizdata (this post was going to be a comment over there, but it got too big; thousand-word comments are reserved for poorly-adaptive sociopaths.)

If I were John Howard, I'd find out who the governor/ mayor of Bali was, get him on the phone and tell him: "I just want you to know that Australia congratulates you on declaring independence from Indonesia. Welcome to the free world."

The mayor/governor would no doubt reply "Er, we haven't declared independence!" Howard would retort, "Yet."

The precedent is East Timor, where Australia intervened in support of independence for a former province of Indonesia that had been the target of violent terrorist acts committed by persons from elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago.

Indonesia is not a nation, properly so called (a political unit defined by a shared myth of values); it is an empire (a political unit in which diverse groups with no common values are held together by force and/or fear). There is no particular reason why Irian Jaya, Sumatra and the Moluccas should all be ruled by the same bunch of Java-based crooks; it was one of those things that just sort of happened when the Dutch East India Company's back was turned.

Empires fall. The "Evil Empire" controlled by Russian communists fell when the emperor (Gorbachev) realised the costs of holding the empire together had become unbearable. Let's see if Indonesian president Yudhoyono has the makings of a Gorbachev.

After all, I suspect that his choice may be to end up like Gorbachev or end like Godunov.

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