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The following is the second part of an excerpt from a report prepared for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom which held a hearing on the Maluku Islands on Feb. 13 in Washington D.C. The report is by R. William Liddle, an expert on Indonesia of The Ohio State University in the United States.
WASHINGTON D.C.: What are the implications for the United States policy of Abdurrahman Wahid's present and Megawati Soekarnoputri's prospective presidencies? How should the U.S. respond to the continuing crisis in Maluku?
The U.S. should more actively engage the present democratic regime than we did Soeharto's authoritarian New Order, when our policy was influenced largely by Cold War considerations and our appreciation for Soeharto's record of economic success.
Indonesia is an important country regionally (and potentially globally) whose new leaders are committed to achieving national unity, democracy, and shared prosperity, key characteristics of modern societies.
The obstacles to their success are enormous, and the opportunities for outsiders to make a difference are also …