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The Incubus of Intervention

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The Incubus of Intervention
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Product Information
Subtitle: Conflicting Indonesia Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles
Author/Editor: Greg Poulgrain
New Pb 264 pp.
Subject: Politics,Indonesia,History & Biography,America
Condition: Good
Published: 2014

Sukarno was at the centre of the conflict between John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles (Director of Central Intelligence). With the intention of removing Sukarno from power, Dulles’ strategy of ‘regime change’ was well-advanced before Kennedy became president. Indeed, his career in intelligence had started even before Kennedy was born! In 1958, DCI Dulles was at the height of his power. He was not simply targeting the Outer Islands in Indonesia, but the entire Indonesian archipelago – including Netherlands New Guinea where the world’s largest gold deposit was located (and is today still being mined). Unlike Dulles, neither Kennedy nor Sukarno was aware of this El Dorado.

But when the author interviewed Joseph Luns, the former Dutch Foreign Minister who became NATO Secretary-General, Luns said that he had asked the Americans involved to exploit the huge gold deposit jointly with the Dutch. It was their refusal, Luns said, that actually forced the Dutch out of New Guinea. 

When Kennedy and Sukarno in 1963 resolved to work together, US foreign policy threatened to disrupt – unwittingly – Dulles’ own Cold War strategy which was focused on Indonesia. JFK’s wariness, after Allen Dulles’ role in the Bay of Pigs, drew a tongue-in-cheek but prophetic comment: ‘Domestic policy can only defeat us’, he used to say. ‘Foreign policy can kill us’.

Dr. Greg Poulgrain teaches Indonesian History, Politics and Society at the University of the Sunshine Coast, near Brisbane. In 2014 he published Genesis of Konfrontasi: Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, 1945-65 (SIRD, Petaling Jaya).

Dr. Baskara T. Wardaya teaches history at Sanata Dharma University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In 2011–12 he taught history at the University California-Riverside, USA, as Fulbright Scholar in Residence. His works include Bung Karno Menggugat [Sukarno Accuses] (2006); Cold War Shadow (2007); and Truth Will Out (Melbourne, 2013).

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