With former Indonesian President Suharto in unstable condition after suffering multiple organ failure earlier this month, many wonder if he will pass away without penalization for the war atrocities and financial corruption that ran rampant during his rule of Indonesia from 1967-1998. Some speculate that foreign nations—particularly the U.S.—are hesitant to bring him to justice to avoid tense international relations.
The origins of that hesitation may be found in Bradley R. Simpson’s Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968 (forthcoming March 2008), the first comprehensive history of Indonesia-U.S. relations. Simpson examines how and why the U.S. supported the military regime of General Suharto, a crucial juncture in modern Indonesian history that shaped the country's trajectory and is now reflected in the nation's current tenuous transition into democracy.
Other Stanford University Press titles dig further into modern Indonesian history. Edward Aspinall's Opposing Suharto: Compromise, Resistance, and Regime Change in Indonesia (2005) chronicles the struggles and success of everyday citizens fighting authoritarianism while M. C. Ricklefs's A History of Modern Indonesia Since c. 1200, Third Edition (2002) looks at the nation's history with a broader perspective.