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27-07-2017
RI-ASEAN must consider ASEAN-Eurosia Economic Cooperation as an alternative in dealing with sharpening competition between US and China in Asia Pacific
Author : Hendrajit, Geopolitical analyst of the Global Future Institute (GFI)

In recent years, the global competition between US and China in Asia-Pacific has increasingly intensified. Indonesia, truly pioneering the balance-power strategy between the two poles having been competing since the Cold War in 1950-1990, seems to have a momentum to initiate an alternative economic cooperation in the region.


Therefore, the idea of ​​establishing a strategic cooperation ASEAN-Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has to be considered as an alternative for Indonesia to get out of the trap of the struggle for the influence of the two super powers. More importantly, through the new scheme of economic cooperation, Indonesia could participate in building a new power pole in Asia Pacific.
 
Through the new scheme of economic cooperation, Indonesia and ASEAN will benefit strategically in two ways. Firstly, the emergence of Russia as a new player in the economic and trade arena in Southeast Asia. Secondly, through the UEE scheme, Indonesia and ASEAN will expand the scope of economic and trade cooperation not only with Russia, but also with some other countries in the Central Asia region.
 
As we all know, EEU as an international economic cooperation that was launched in 2015, consists of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Not surprisingly, in its development, some ASEAN countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore are interested in establishing more strategic cooperation with UEE.
 
For example, on June 1, 2016, an agreement was reached between EEU and Vietnam, and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the first free trade zone agreement between EEU and third world countries (in this case Vietnam) would pave the way for EEU to reach similar agreements with other countries. Of course, Indonesia's participation in the EEU scheme is expected by many circles both domestically and internationally.
 
Especially those who aspire to create a new and fairer world economic order amid increasing pressure and insistence on US and Western European blocs to create a unipolar in the fields of economy and trade in Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia in particular.
 
Indonesia as the largest country in Southeast Asia and as a pioneer of the establishment of ASEAN in 1967 should properly consider the idea of ​​building strategic cooperation with EEU.
 
So the idea of ​​establishing an ASEAN-EEU strategic cooperation could be considered as an alternative to the Trans Pacific Partnership scheme supported by the US, UK and Japan or the free trade agreement scheme designed by the PRC through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
 
As we all know, the existence of both TPP and RCEP is actually a reflection of the increasing competition and the struggle for influence between US versus PRC in Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific in general.
 
If in fact TPP and RCEP are both the Proxy War tools between US versus China in the realm of economy and trade in Southeast Asia then considering ASEAN-EEU cooperation constitutes a brilliant alternative idea.
 
Such an idea became even more interesting as Russian President Vladimir Putin said recently that it was necessary to establish a wider partnership between EEU and ASEAN and within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which is essentially an economic and trade cooperation between Russia and China.
 
This means that the idea of ​​building a partnership between ASEAN and Russia seems to be far more strategic than ASEAN-China, considering through Russia, China could be included in the framework of cooperation with Russia through SCO since 2001.
 
However, with the ASEAN-EEU scheme, Indonesia is able to establish Indonesian-Russian-Chinese strategic cooperation in a more mutually beneficial and reinforcing relationship.
 
In other words, in the context of multilateral cooperation involving Russia and China, Indonesia and other ASEAN countries will have a much more favorable bargaining position against the US and EU bloc.
 
Because both Russia and China, basically have a strategic agenda that is much more aligned with Indonesia and ASEAN in creating a much more equitable international economic order in addition to dealing with the efforts of the US and some EU countries to create unipolar world in economic and trade as seen through its support in the establishment of the TPP Agreement. If Indonesia and ASEAN finally succeed in establishing strategic economic and trade cooperation with EEU, besides ASEAN strategic cooperation with Russia and China will be more solid, in its development Indonesia and ASEAN will purposefully gain access to closer and more strategic cooperation with such countries in Central Asia as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan not only in economic and trade, but also in political-security and socio-cultural fields.



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   Book Review
Author : Hendrajit, Dkk
Japanese Militarism : Japan, Between Love And Resentment

A book entitled Japanese Militarism and Its War Crimes in Asia Pacific Region (Hendrajit, ed) was recently sent to me, by the publisher, The Global Future Institute. No doubt, this book made me re-think and recollect my trip to Japan in 1996. At that time, I was warmly received by Japanese families who became my host, invited to travel to various places, and bought souvenirs. The psycological effect of my short visit is that it is hard to imagine that the Japanese people were cruel ones, perpetrators of the massacre of our ancestors, raping Indonesian girls, making them as prostitutes and enslaving our grandfathers to work on various projects.

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