By Adam Schwarz
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Additional resources for A Nation in Waiting: Indonesia's Search for Stability
In August I965 Sukamo" health worsened, an event which seems to have sparked the last fatal crack in his governing coalition. Less than two months later came the abortive coup which marked the: beginning af the end of the Old Order. Why did Guided Democracy follow parliamentary democracy into the dustbin of history? 40 Soeharto has avoided this pitfall, at Xeast so far. Rather than juggling together what he perceived as incompatible social forces under civilian leadership, Soeharto enormously strengthened the power of the state, made the military the pre-eminent political institution and distanced from power those not willing to play along with the new rules of the game.
Just laok sound, You never hear a nrinister m&e a major pronouncement without it being noted that he just emerg4 from a meeting with Suharto, or that it. was the President" wish that it be so. Suhmo has no interest in creative and independent actions. Look at the people around him now. Even when they know big mistakes are being made, they remain silent and agree, No one has any guts. In January and February, 1966, the test of wills between Sukarno and Saeharto picked up steam. Desperately seeking to shore up his Fading authority, Sukarno sought etear expressions of support.
Which these interests are bottled up and can be expressed on1y through violence. In the prevailing climate of 5deological absolutism" in Buyung Nasution" sords,S1 in which the mechanisms for resolving disputes had all but withered away, Muslim groups and the military came to adopt an uncompromising 'us or them' attitude @ward the Communist Party. And after the killing was over, many Indonesians seemed to shrug off the massacre as something 'the co nists had corning to them'. Abroad, the massacre was acknowle-dged as a Cold Wm victory over unism, With stunning insensitivity, Erne magazine described the eradication of the Communist Party as 'The West" best news for years in Asia"s2 Despite the absence of a public debate over the meaning of the slaughter, or perbaps because of it, the massacre hangs like a cloud over the New Oder, its memory relegated to a musty corner of history but not, by any means, expunged.
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