CONCLUSION from the book:
“Indonesia in de Pacific, Kernproblemen van den Aziatischen Pacific” by Dr. G.S.S.J. Ratu Langie, 1937 (*)
Enriched by the knowledge obtained by reading the previous pages (of the above mentioned book), we see the Pacific problem a bit different. We can agree with the view that the Pacific Ocean for the world of the 20th century will be a world sea, which in importance can equal the Atlantic Ocean.
However there is a graph and line in the dynamic impulses of the Pacific, both cultural-political as well as economic; which curious enough overlap each other totally. From historic-materialistic point of view they should overlap. We have pictured in Chapter II how the interested power groupings are being developed in the Asian Pacific.
From the South, historic colonial powers have entered the Pacific, attracted by the potential wealth of the archipelago, which, to refer to the words of a Dutch poet, “are lingering around the equator like a girdle of precious stones”.
“Far in the South” says Nicholas Roosevelt, “lies the huge island emporium of the Netherlands, the fabulous Indian Archipelago, which attracted the old adventurous merchants in their search for pepper and spices.”
Nowadays pepper and spices have nearly disappeared from world markets, but these “fabulous” islands are able to produce practically unlimited volumes of rubber, sugar, copra and tea, while in its earth iron and petroleum resources are being available. All of these are important for the economy, both for peaceful development for the accumulation of welfare and wealth in the capitalistic cultural power centers, or for uses in state of war, in which the same power centers destroy each others painfully accumulated capital goods and carefully established welfare constructions. Both for war as for peaceful uses these products obtained from above as well as under the ground from the green “girdle of precious stones” are of great value.
The Southern part of the Asian Pacific is purely colonial in construction of its political status, and raw material and agrarian in its economic status. The colonial influences have worked here most intensively both in political as well as economically through strong impulses driven by industrial centers.
More to the North we see Siam and the Philippines, sovereign countries, the last mentioned at least very soon; the colonizing activity current, which is entering from the South, where it has released much potential energy in Malaya and Indonesia has colored the constellation of the middle area (Siam and Philippines) less colonial. Here it meets another, an opposing current, which comes from the only country in the Asian Pacific which was able to maintain its national independence in its fullest, political, economic and cultural: Japan. National initiative in industrialization of the country and national capital accumulation are here in its beginning stadium; foreign capital penetration and industrial initiative have not penetrated this country as much as in Indonesia and Malaya.
If we jump over French Indo-China, a relatively new colony, where French influence has not penetrated deeper then the upper layer of the organization of the country, then we come even more North to the Kingdom of the Middle.
The economic and political emancipation are in full development here; but the three currents collide with each other, the capitalistic power lines coming from the South, the Asian-nationalistic current from the North, and the communist international from the Northwest, coming from Russia. But underneath of the thundering waves of these three power currents, national emancipation develops under the skillful hands of the, in Western countries educated Chinese leaders. National capital has already begun its struggle against penetrating foreign capital initiative.
Even more North we come into the sphere of Japan, where emancipation is fully established, as was described in previous Chapters.
The above mentioned notations describe the scheme, which we can show of the countries going North from the equator, undergoing various gradations, from total colonial dependency (Malaya and Indonesia) with intermediate phases (Siam and the Philippines) towards total national independency. This scheme is valid for both the political as well as the economic division.
The question now asked to me was whether the emerging nationalistic idea which we can observe anywhere, can be incorporated in the politico-economic scheme which we have described above for the Asian Pacific.
We have described in Chapter IV, how in China after a long time of dualism, the sovereignty of this country was totally lost after all kinds of foreign interference into internal matters, where at last in 1922 in the Nine-Country-Charter in Washington the Superpowers have together recognized the full sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Middle.
If we look at the Philippines; in 1898 this country was still a full colony of Spain, where the inhabitants had totally no saying in the ruling of the country. After the Spanish-American war (1899) it came under American sovereignty, to be ruled after two years by a “Philippine Commission” consisting of five Americans and three Philippinos. Shortly afterwards (1907) an Assembly was established consisting of 81 elected members all Philippinos. After a series of reforms the year of decision arrived in 1916, a Senate replaced the Philippine Commission and the House of Representatives replaced the Assembly. In 1935 the Philippines became a Commonwealth – thus independent – and in 1938 or 1939 its complete independence of North America will be declared. This super fast development, which is unique in recent history, could happen through cooperation and under leadership of North-American statesmen in the USA.
Moving South, we come to Indonesia where also developments can be observed moving towards democracy. In 1918 a Volksraad was established as an advisory body, with a majority of Dutch people as members; in 1927 the Volksraad became a council with co-legislative authority, with a majority of Indonesians, and the “Raad van Indie” was extended with two more Indonesian members.
We would like to suffice with this short recapitulation; thus we see that a shift in the spectrum of state structure from North to South, in the direction of an increasing influence of the autochthonous national power lines
The movement from North to South does not imply anything secretive, if we just keep in mind that the potential center of these power lines can be considered as mutually influencing parts of a total, is actually lying in the North. Within the framework of this work, where we set ourselves the task to study the main forces determining the development in the Pacific, we have found it unnecessary to stand still at the national movements in several countries by itself. These are all “Teilerscheinungen” of the main power lines we have sketched in the previous chapters.
All of them together form the enormous defense reaction of the Asian Pacific nations toward the ever-progressing politico-economic penetration of the industrial countries of Western Europe and previously of America.
If we return to Indonesia; here is also a nationalistic counter current, embodied in various nationalistic organizations, which opposes the imperial ideology of the Netherlands. Harsh words have been uttered on both sides; psychologically partly understandable, but it still remains to be the task for thinkers and leaders of both nations to find a constructive thinking, which enables harmony between East and West.
One should not only accept the historic facts as a starting point but one should also accept the signs of the future, which are already visible at sunrise in the East.
The new thinking and aspirations of the East did not just fall on the earth from the moon, but is also the result of a historical evolution, an encounter between East and West, the universal trend of our days.
“Maybe more a carriage than a driving force,” says de Kat Angelino in his well known standard work, “a cosmic energy forced the (Western) nations on earth to step out of their isolation to play their role in the world economic (and stately R.L.) system of which itself is part of.”
This now is the line of evolution, which through all ups and downs, through dark and sunny days, shows itself in strong contours in the pages of history.
(*) Translated from the Dutch language, by Dr. M.Sugandi-Ratulangi, , 8 April 2001.
First on the web: 17 August 2001
One thought on “Indonesia in the Pacific, Central problems of the Asian Pacific”
The last two weeks have shown that Sam Ratu Langie’s outlook for the Asia Pacific has come to a reality.. The financial crisis in Europe and the economic downturn in the US as well as the Chinese “Wirtschafftswunder” has brought the Pacific hemisphere into the spotlight, The APEC meeting in Honolulu, the ASEAN plus meeting in Bali with its various bilateral summits proof that the Asia Pacific region will be a center of growth in the next decade.