Indonesia’s Foreign Policy and the UNAOC
On 29th to 30th of August 2014, Indonesia should be felt proud since they have successfully organized the 6th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) –the first in the Asia-Pacific. Through the forum, Indonesia was able to promote the national identity of “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” to 106 countries and more than 1.300 participants, in which 100 of them were Youths coming from across the globe.
The national identity of “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” was socially constructed at the Forum as a universal norms, which is the national identity perceived as a norms of pluralism and unity in diversity. Surprisingly, it was acknowledged by all countries. As a Social construction, “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” basically has a relevant relationship with the Alliance of Civilizations goals where the Alliance wants to promote a harmonious relationship among civilizations in a global level. Nevertheless, there is a relevant question appear about what is the Indonesia national interest in the Global Forum of UNAOC?
Based on this question, this opinion would like to depict a social construction of national identity “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” in context of Indonesia’s Foreign Policy in achieving Indonesia’s national interest through the forum.
National Identity Construction of Bhineka Tunggal Ika
According to Constructivism approach, national interest of a state constructed by the social identity, where this interest are the reflection of the state perception regarding to the international politics situation (Wendt:1992). Within the framework of the UNAOC, Indonesia’s national interest constructed by the shared cultural values on domestic level, that contribute to the contextualization of today’s realities.
The appointment of Indonesia to host the 6th Global Forum of the UNAOC was not merely because of Indonesia is the third biggest democratic country with largest Moslems in the world. Moreover, Indonesia was selected with the deep consideration of three important elements that could live hand in hand in a harmony: modernity, Islam, and Democracy. Those three important elements are constructed through the values of ethnic diversity and thousand of various cultural differences among its people. But importantly, Indonesia has experiencing a reconciliation (in Aceh, Maluku, Poso, and Papua) that has comprehensively contributed to strengthen Indonesia’s national identity of Bhineka Tunggal Ika.
Despite of that, the global contemporary situation has also become the momentum that constructed the national identity Bhineka Tunggal Ika which not only contribute in national level, but also has emerged as alternative universal norms in regional even global level. The intensified radicalism, extremism, and terrorism alongside with the ISIS, the changing nature of global geopolitics in Korean Peninsula, South and East China Sea, and even the challenges of democratization in the Middle East are the realities that international community should face. Unfortunately, the pragmatic and materialistic approach often failure to respond the global contemporary situation.
Indonesia’s National Interest
Basically, Indonesia’s Foreign Policy is the efforts to achieve Indonesia’s national interest. There is reciprocity between Indonesia’s Foreign Policy and the construction of Bhineka Tunggal Ika which could be traced as an inter-mestic dimension, where Indonesia’s national interest interlinked between national and international situation. In simply logic Indonesia’s interest through the UNAOC has two dimension, where on the one hand the construction of Bhineka Tunggal Ika in international community will strengthen Indonesia democracy as well as to improve national security and state’s sovereignty at the national level, and the other hand the construction of Bhineka Tunggal Ika will strengthen Indonesia roles as mediator for peace and trust-builder.
The challenges to tackle the extremism, radicalism and terrorism at national level as the ramification of ISIS is one of the example of why that momentum of Bhineka Tunggal Ika construction become Indonesia national interest. Besides, Indonesia can improve their regional roles in managing regional tension particularly to the South China Sea, or extension of the Indo-Pacific regions.
These two particularly Indonesia’s national interest implicitly expressed on President SBY opening speech at the 6th Global Forum of the UNAOC, where the importance of national identity Bhineka Tunggal Ika can contribute to peace as universal norms, “This is what we are striving for in ASEAN. We are now transforming towards a caring and sharing community under the ASEAN community. We will live in a more peaceful world if we can make this idea (Bhineka Tunggal Ika) as a global norm”. I believe that the national identity social construction of Bhineka Tunggal Ika is not an utopianism, but beyond that it is a optimism as a new universal norms.