Suharto's Cold War: Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and the World
In Suharto’s Cold War, Mattias Fibiger argues that the Indonesian dictator Suharto used the global Cold War to wage his own domestic and regional Cold Wars. Suharto mobilized international aid and investment to construct a counterrevolutionary dictatorship and promote economic development in Indonesia. He then sought to propagate authoritarian reaction elsewhere in Southeast Asia and contain the threat posed by communist China. As he reshaped Indonesia and Southeast Asia, Suharto worked to preserve the link between his domestic and regional Cold Wars and the global Cold War, managing the challenges posed by détente and triangular diplomacy, the oil shocks and the collapse of Bretton Woods, and the human rights revolution.
Mattias Fibiger is Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School. A scholar of international relations and political economy in Southeast Asia, he received his Ph.D. in History from Cornell University. He is the author of Suharto’s Cold War (2023) as well as articles and book chapters in publications including Diplomatic History and Modern Asian Studies.
The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partner (the George Washington University History Department) for their continued support.
Su Lin Lewis
Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies, University of Connecticut
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