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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

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The GW Hatchet

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Indonesia’s president talks terrorism, peacekeeping and the Cold War

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of the Republic of Indonesia, emphasized the importance of promoting peace among countries in Southeast Asia. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of the Republic of Indonesia, called for promoting peace among countries in Southeast Asia at GW on Friday. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer
This post was written by Hatchet reporters Jasmine Baker and Julia Arciga.

President of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono spoke Friday to a packed audience in the Jack Morton Auditorium, discussing how Southeast Asia has recovered from the Cold War and what role Indonesia’s neighbors can play.

It was the only speech the diplomat, who is also referred to as “the thinking general” for his reforms to the Indonesian military and government, gave in the District. He leaves office Oct. 20.

Here are three highlights from his speech:

1. A treaty to forge peace

Yudhoyono wants all Indo-Pacific countries and global powers to sign a treaty to maintain strong relations among all Asian countries, which he said have constantly competed against each other instead of working together to improve the region since the end of the Cold War.

He did not lay out specifics for what the treaty could entail, but emphasized that unity would help ease tensions in the region.

“[Asian countries] do not wish to be divided again,” he said. “We do not wish to be pulled in different directions. We are determined to be a coherent Asian community, at peace with one another and at peace with the world.”

2. Aiding each others’ fights against terrorism

Yudhoyono said Asian nations need to take a stand against the terrorist organization ISIS, which he said promotes violence and radicalism. He said the countries should work together to prevent acts of terrorism instead of focusing only on their own goals.

“Individually, as well as through international cooperation, [Indonesia is] putting extra effort to contain and fight radicalism, extremism and terrorism,” he said, though he did not detail the steps the country is taking to prevent terrorism.

3. The U.S. and Asia

Yudhoyono said he believes the U.S. should lead an effort to repair relations among countries in Southeast Asia, which have struggled to recover since the end of the Vietnam and Cold wars.

“The Cold War may be over, but now we are in danger of living in an era of ‘hot peace,’” he said. “Instead, let us build an architecture of peace and put all of our energies, our best creative skill, into that task.”

He added that world powers must create an international environment in which smaller nations, like the Republic of Indonesia, can succeed.

“Geopolitics is back. What I see is not pretty. You can see and feel that new chill in the international system,” Yudhoyono said. “We must stop and reverse this trend. In that endeavor, the United States will have to play a key role.”

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