Earlier this week we were reminded of the Australian Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan years ago dismissing the Burmese “dissident” Aung San Suu Kyi.
For nearly 20 years, good hearted Indonesians have been telling the Burmese to study the New Order regime that prevailed in Indonesia under Suharto, especially in the early years after he took power in the mid-60s. The Indonesian army, like the Burmese, believed it was the only institution that could possibly keep the country together. It developed the doctrine of dwifungsi or dual function, to allow the military a direct role in politics as well as security.
But at the same time, especially in the early years, Suharto was extremely consultative. He tried to co-opt as many social forces into the New Order as he could and he took expert economic advice from the famous Berkely mafia.
Burchill: This is precisely the period when Suharto’s slaughter of his political opponents, and anyone associated with them, reached its peak. Hundreds of thousands were murdered in one of Asia’s worst bloodbaths. Seems the Burmese junta did just that. Good hearted advice indeed.