Articles

Obama cancellation comes at an opportune moment

The Jakarta Post
08 June 2010

 

Obama cancellation comes at an opportune moment
We know the reasons for the second cancellation of the long-awaited visit by US President Obama. We also know the level of disappointed caused by this inevitable decision. After months of waiting, was getting ready for the return of  Obama  to Jakarta for the first time in 39 years after spending four years of his childhood here. While the reasons for his cancellation are clear to most people, the implications of a second failure to keep his promise are less so. 
The plans for Obama to leave  but it has been in doubt since the weekend, when an effort failed in the saga of the BP Oil Spill. That would have closed off a chance  to stop the oil gusher before August when relief wells are estimated to be completed. As an ad hoc measure, a few days ago BP succeeded in an engineering scheme to contain the oil spill. However, the effectiveness of the cap may not be clear for several days. These are crucial days for America and a severe test of their political, financial and engineering capacity. Mo question that the President should stay with his people.
On the Indonesian side, there is disappointment that Obama will not be here in June to reaffirm the common goals of the US and Indonesia. His visit would have come at a time when we all need restrengthening. We are hopeful that mutual inspiration would arise between the people of the two nations. This has been the common belief, but there is question whether that belief would be realized in the specific circumstances at this particular point in time.
President Obama is not fit to travel now, politically speaking. He is facing a prolonged reality check starting with his travails over the health care bill and his inability to deliver on security-related. For those who do not believe in him, Obama has been reduced to an ordinary mortal, greatly weakened from the man who won the elections by a landslide. Most of the challenges do not come from his own doing, such as the BP Oil Spill. But they weaken him nevertheless, and pose a compelling priority to be emphasized by staying physically close to the problem.
On the Indonesian side, we are not There have been disappointments on both sides, painful reality checks. As spring in Obama’s country turns to summer, the spring of democracy in Indonesia is giving way to a long hot summer of political acrimony. Even as our electoral system matures,  Indonesia politicians cast doubt on the efficacy of our democracy. Obama’s boyhood country has not really grown up. Ten years ago Gus Dur joked that the DPR was like a kindergarten. It is still a kindergarten, grown more raucous because the teacher does not seem to be there.
With Sri Mulyani gone, the Golkar Party is continuing their quest for an  “aspiration fund” - a proposal to allocate Rp 8.4 Trillion (US.6 million) to legislators to develop their election areas – an obvious cover for political slush funds. It would be naïve to suppose that the money will reach the intended targets beneficiaries. Actually the Golkar proposal is consistent with this party’s DNA to blur the border between accountable state funds and political money.
The brazen swagger of party politicians is just a special edition of Golkar’s time tested way of pushing the envelope of public decency. Since the President revealed his weakness by allowing his star cabinet member Sri Mulyani to leave, the celebrations of the political victors have been unbounded. The ruling coalition’s controversial joint secretariat controlled by Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie has backed the proposal to grant each House of Representatives legislator a Rp 15 billion (.6 million) fund.
There are different reactions to Obama’s cancellation in Australia, the other destination for Obama’s excursion to this part of the world, little known here in Indonesia. Some Australians say the change in plans is not due to the BP oil spill. Some newspapers have pointed the finger directly on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as the reason for Obama’s decision not to come. The alleged reason is that Obama does not want to be identified with a leader who is losing political loser? Recently praised as a popular prime minister, Kevin Rudd is facing the collapse of his support base collapse, His personal rating has sunk to 36 per cent from a record high of 67 per cent.
As a reason for Obama’s cancellation,  this Australian explanation is whimsical. But it raises question where the rating of our President stands. If it were still above 60 percent we probably would not be seeing evidence of political weaknesses on his part, dictated by Aburizal Bakrie at every turn. We hope there is no cause for alarm. After all, the government dismissed proposal for the  so-called aspiration fund, saying it would be "unnecessary". "An aspiration fund is unnecessary ... It may cause a confusion in the relationship between the executive and legislative," Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa said Friday. Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said in Monday's plenary session at the House of Representatives the proposal might violate some regulations. He cited the potential of violating the 2003 Law on State Finance, the 2004 Law on State Treasury, the 2004 Law on Local Government and the 2004 Law on Financial Balance between Central and Local Governments.
At this point the government takes a firm stand. They need  to maintain this defense of good governance, and  to this purpose the cancellation of President Obama’s visit is well worth to be taken in stride.

 

by Wimar Witoelar

We know the reasons for the second cancellation of the long-awaited visit by US President Obama. We also know the level of disappointed caused by this inevitable decision. After months of waiting, was getting ready for the return of  Obama  to Jakarta for the first time in 39 years after spending four years of his childhood here. While the reasons for his cancellation are clear to most people, the implications of a second failure to keep his promise are less so. 

The plans for Obama to leave  but it has been in doubt since the weekend, when an effort failed in the saga of the BP Oil Spill. That would have closed off a chance  to stop the oil gusher before August when relief wells are estimated to be completed. As an ad hoc measure, a few days ago BP succeeded in an engineering scheme to contain the oil spill. However, the effectiveness of the cap may not be clear for several days. These are crucial days for America and a severe test of their political, financial and engineering capacity. Mo question that the President should stay with his people.

On the Indonesian side, there is disappointment that Obama will not be here in June to reaffirm the common goals of the US and Indonesia. His visit would have come at a time when we all need restrengthening. We are hopeful that mutual inspiration would arise between the people of the two nations. This has been the common belief, but there is question whether that belief would be realized in the specific circumstances at this particular point in time.

President Obama is not fit to travel now, politically speaking. He is facing a prolonged reality check starting with his travails over the health care bill and his inability to deliver on security-related. For those who do not believe in him, Obama has been reduced to an ordinary mortal, greatly weakened from the man who won the elections by a landslide. Most of the challenges do not come from his own doing, such as the BP Oil Spill. But they weaken him nevertheless, and pose a compelling priority to be emphasized by staying physically close to the problem.

On the Indonesian side, we are not There have been disappointments on both sides, painful reality checks. As spring in Obama’s country turns to summer, the spring of democracy in Indonesia is giving way to a long hot summer of political acrimony. Even as our electoral system matures,  Indonesia politicians cast doubt on the efficacy of our democracy. Obama’s boyhood country has not really grown up. Ten years ago Gus Dur joked that the DPR was like a kindergarten. It is still a kindergarten, grown more raucous because the teacher does not seem to be there.

With Sri Mulyani gone, the Golkar Party is continuing their quest for an  “aspiration fund” - a proposal to allocate Rp 8.4 Trillion (US.6 million) to legislators to develop their election areas – an obvious cover for political slush funds. It would be naïve to suppose that the money will reach the intended targets beneficiaries. Actually the Golkar proposal is consistent with this party’s DNA to blur the border between accountable state funds and political money.

The brazen swagger of party politicians is just a special edition of Golkar’s time tested way of pushing the envelope of public decency. Since the President revealed his weakness by allowing his star cabinet member Sri Mulyani to leave, the celebrations of the political victors have been unbounded. The ruling coalition’s controversial joint secretariat controlled by Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie has backed the proposal to grant each House of Representatives legislator a Rp 15 billion (.6 million) fund.

There are different reactions to Obama’s cancellation in Australia, the other destination for Obama’s excursion to this part of the world, little known here in Indonesia. Some Australians say the change in plans is not due to the BP oil spill. Some newspapers have pointed the finger directly on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as the reason for Obama’s decision not to come. The alleged reason is that Obama does not want to be identified with a leader who is losing political loser? Recently praised as a popular prime minister, Kevin Rudd is facing the collapse of his support base collapse, His personal rating has sunk to 36 per cent from a record high of 67 per cent.

As a reason for Obama’s cancellation,  this Australian explanation is whimsical. But it raises question where the rating of our President stands. If it were still above 60 percent we probably would not be seeing evidence of political weaknesses on his part, dictated by Aburizal Bakrie at every turn. We hope there is no cause for alarm. After all, the government dismissed proposal for the  so-called aspiration fund, saying it would be "unnecessary". "An aspiration fund is unnecessary ... It may cause a confusion in the relationship between the executive and legislative," Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa said Friday. Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said in Monday's plenary session at the House of Representatives the proposal might violate some regulations. He cited the potential of violating the 2003 Law on State Finance, the 2004 Law on State Treasury, the 2004 Law on Local Government and the 2004 Law on Financial Balance between Central and Local Governments.

At this point the government takes a firm stand. They need  to maintain this defense of good governance, and  to this purpose the cancellation of President Obama’s visit is well worth to be taken in stride.

the article as it appears in the Jakarta Post ...................   and their spin in the banner

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3 Comments:

  1. From sen on 08 June 2010 05:20:54 WIB
    Good that Finance Minister Agus has taken a stand. Now SBY has to make a stand. Don\\\'t always sit on the fence.

    I also think that Dana Aspirasi is pork barrel politic and I don\\\'t like it
  2. From Svahmi on 08 June 2010 06:04:26 WIB
    in my opinion, aspiration funds proposal by the coalition which suppported by prominent party Golkar - Democrat and also many oposition figures has shown us the inability of the politician to do their supervisory job as well,after SMI gone they thought its gonna be easier for them to muzzle our State Budget.
    eventhough, one of PDIP figure, ganjar pranowo said that the fund will be guarateed for its accountability, but their decision to push the government to sign the bill are merely just focusing on "their own election teritory", its so translucent that most of politicians in our country are such as Vampire, who drinks our state budget to satisfy their thirst..... we have to do something...something real ..
  3. From Benny Handoko on 08 June 2010 10:48:19 WIB
    Haha Jakarta Post will never like our President therefore the spin in the banner. Love how you put it on the bottom of this article :)

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