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The Un-American Vision of Barack Obama – Thomas Sowell

Years, and sometimes decades, pass between my visits to movie theaters. But I drove 30 miles to see the movie 2016: Obama’s America, based on Dinesh D’Souza’s best-selling book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage. Where I live is so politically correct that such a movie would not even be mentioned, much less shown.

Every seat in the theater was filled, even though there had been an earlier showing that day, and more showings were scheduled for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I had to sit on a staircase in the balcony, but it was worth it.

The audience was riveted. You could barely hear a sound from them, or detect a movement, and you certainly could not smell popcorn. Yet the movie had no bombast, no violence, no sex, and no spectacular visual effects.

The documentary itself was fascinating, as D’Souza presented the story of Barack Obama’s life and view of the world in a very conversational sort of way, illustrating it with visits to people and places around the world that played a role in the way Obama’s ideas and beliefs evolved.

It was refreshing to see how addressing adults as adults could be effective, in an age when so many parts of the media address the public as if they were children who need a constant whirlwind of sounds and movements to keep them interested.Dinesh D’Souza’s own perspective, as someone born in India who came to America and became an American, provided a special insight into the way people from the Third World often perceive or misperceive the United States and the Western world.

That Third World perspective is Obama’s perspective, D’Souza demonstrates in this documentary, as in his book — and it is a perspective that is very foreign to that of most Americans, which may be why some believe that Obama was born elsewhere.

D’Souza is convinced that the president was born in Hawaii, as Obama claims, and argues that it was not only Obama’s time living in Indonesia and his emotionally charged visits to his father’s home in Africa that have had a deep and impassioned effect on his thinking.

The story of Barack Obama, however, is not just the story of how one man came to be the way he is. It is a much larger story about how millions of Americans came to vote for, and some to idolize, a man whose fundamental beliefs and values are so different from their own.

For every person who sees Obama as somehow foreign, there are many others who see him as a mainstream American political figure — and an inspiring one.

This D’Souza attributes to Barack Obama’s great talents in rhetoric, and his ability to project an image that resonates with most Americans, however much that image may differ from, or even flatly contradict, the reality of Obama’s own ideological view of the world.

What is that ideological view?

The Third World, or anti-colonial, view is that the rich nations have gotten rich by taking wealth from the poor nations. It is part of a much larger vision, in which the rich in general have gotten rich by taking from the poor, whether in their own country or elsewhere.

Whatever its factual weaknesses, it is an emotionally powerful vision, to which many people have dedicated their lives and for which some have even risked their lives. Some of these people appear in this documentary, as they have appeared throughout the formative phases of Barack Obama’s life.

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is just the most visible and vocal of a long line of people who played crucial roles in Obama’s evolution. When Wright thundered about how “white folks’ greed runs a world in need,” he captured the essence of the anti-colonial vision.

But many of the other mentors, allies, family members, and friends of Barack Obama over the years were of the same mind-set, as this documentary demonstrates.

More important, the movie 2016 demonstrates how so many of Obama’s actions as president of the United States, which D’Souza had predicted on the basis of his study of Obama’s background, are perfectly consistent with that ideology, however inconsistent they might be with the rhetoric that gained him the highest office in the land.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at theHoover Institution. © 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

The Un-American Vision of Barack Obama – Thomas Sowell – National Review Online.

Recap: Worldwide Field Development News (Jun 8 – Jun 14, 2012)


This week the SubseaIQ team added 1 new projects and updated 25 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Asia – SouthEast
Salamander Enters Rig Sharing Agreement
Jun 14, 2012 – Salamander Energy has entered into a rig sharing agreement for use of the Ocean General (mid-water semisub) to begin its exploration drilling campaign in the North Kutei basin, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The rig will be on contract starting July 1, 2012. The company has committed to drill the South Kecapi, South Kecapi side-track, North Kendang and Bedug prospects and has an additional four-option well slots under the contract to allow follow up drilling in the event of a success. The prospects are located in the Bontang and SE Sangatta PSCs. It is estimated that drilling in the company’s North Kutei acreage will commence in the fourth quarter 2012.
Exploratory Drilling Commences at Ratnadewi Prospect
Jun 12, 2012 – Niko Resources reported that drilling has commenced at the Ratnadewi-1 prospect in the Lhokseumawe Block using the Hercules 208 (MC jackup). The prospect is situated offshore Indonesia.
Niko to Explore Lebah Prospect in August
Jun 12, 2012 – The Discoverer Seven Seas (DW drillship) is slated to commence drilling at the Lebah prospect in the North Ganal block offshore Indonesia in August.
AWE to P&A Atlas-1 Well
Jun 12, 2012 – AWE will plug and abandon its Atlas-1 well due to a high percentage of carbon dioxide. AWE was targeting a carbonate reservoir sequence that, together with the nearby Lengo gas discovery, was thought might contain up to one trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas. On June 7, 2012 AWE announced that it had drilled the well to 2,011 feet (613 meters), and that indications of both methane and carbon dioxide had been detected within the upper part of the Kujung carbonate reservoir section.
Project Details: Atlas
Adira Energy, Noble International Accept LOA
Jun 13, 2012 – Adira Energy reported that Noble International has accepted a Letter of Award, which will enable Modiin Energy to execute a detailed drilling contract on behalf of the Gabriella consortium partners, including Adira and Brownstone Energy. Adira has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Modiin Energy authorizing Modiin Energy to enter into a drilling contract with Noble Drilling and/or any of its affiliates to drill the Gabriella License prior to the revised spud date of June 30, 2013. To the extent possible, representatives of Adira shall participate in the negotiations with Noble Drilling regarding the Agreement. The consortium will now finalize the agreement to secure the Noble Homer Farrington (mid-water semisub) for a minimum of 75 days for a program that is expected to include one well plus sidetrack. Effective once the agreement has been signed, Adira grants Modiin Energy an irrevocable option to purchase from Adira a 15 percent participating interest in the Yitzhak License.
Project Details: Gabriella
Adira Energy Granted Gabriella, Yitzhak License Extensions
Jun 12, 2012 – Adira Energy announced that the Ministry of Energy and Water of the State of Israel has granted an extension of the dates for the execution of a drilling contract and the spudding of the first well at the offshore Gabriella and Yitzhak licenses. For the Gabriella license, the new contract execution date is Sept. 1, 2012; submission of an environmental study is now slated for July 20, 2012; and the new spud date is June 30, 2013. For the Yitzhak license, the new contract execution date is Sept. 1, 2012; submission of an environmental study is Sept. 1, 2012; and the new spud date is Oct. 30, 2013. The submission date of the Environmental Study was moved forward, and Adira management believes that they will be met by the deadline.
Project Details: Gabriella
N. America – US GOM
Petrobras Detects Small Leak of Hydraulic Fluid at Chinook
Jun 13, 2012 – Petrobras reported that a “small leak” of hydraulic fluid was detected during commissioning of a submarine system Sunday at its Chinook field in the GOM. Petrobras did not disclose the volume of the fluid that leaked. The company has notified U.S. officials of the leak, as well as set up an internal commission to evaluate the cause of the incident, reported Dow Jones Newswires. The field is still being developed with first production slated for later this year.
Project Details: The Greater Chinook Area
BP Brings Galapagos Project Online
Jun 12, 2012 – BP has commenced production from the deepwater three-field Galapagos development –Isabela, Santiago and Santa Cruz ??? in the Gulf of Mexico. The three fields are connected via a flowline loop to the BP-operated Na Kika host platform, situated about 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of New Orleans in 6,500 feet (1,981 meters) of water. Production is slated to ramp up by the end of the month from the Na Kika facility, which has an output capacity of 130,000 bopd and has been modified to handle additional output from the fields.
Project Details: Na Kika
ATP Resumes Production at Telemark Hub
Jun 11, 2012 – ATP reported that production at the ATP Titan platform has resumed, which services the company’s Telemark Hub. Production from the ATP Titan, shut-in since May 14, resumed after the operator of the Mars pipeline temporarily shut in the pipeline to allow for the tie-in of a new offsetting platform which has now been completed. Production at the ATP Titan is proceeding as expected and will ramp up over the next few days.
Project Details: Telemark
S. America – Other & Carib.
Niko Spuds Shadow-1
Jun 12, 2012 – Niko Resources has spudded the Shadow-1 well, located on the 2 (ab) Block, offshore Trinidad, using the Rowan Gorilla III (ILC jackup).
Series of Short-term Production Interruptions Occurs on Processing Facility
Jun 8, 2012 – Nexus Energy reported that a series of short-term production interruptions have occurred due to an intermittent electrical fault at the Patricia-Baleen gas processing facility. Production at the facility has been suspended, with outage expected to continue until the fault is identified and fixed through an offshore intervention program. The location of the fault has not yet been determined and could be within the Santos or Nexus offshore facilities. A vessel has been mobilized and is scheduled to arrive at the field on June 15, 2012, depending on weather, to commence the inspection and rectification works. The facility receives gas via a pipeline from Bexu???s offshore Longtom field.
Project Details: Longtom
Africa – West
Tullow Oil Intersects Good Quality Oil in Paon
Jun 8, 2012 – Tullow Oil reported that the Paon-1X exploration well in the CI-303 license offshore Cote d’Ivoire has intersected good quality light oil in a Turonian fan system. Paon-1X, the first deepwater exploration well drilled in the license, encountered 102 feet (31 meters) of net oil pay in a gross interval of 243 feet (74 meters) of turbidite sands. Pressure data indicates that this interval contains a continuous hydrocarbon column and samples show that it is a light oil of 41 degrees API. Further analysis is required to determine reservoir quality and the extent of the fan system. Following completion of logging operations, the well will be suspended for possible future use in appraisal and development operations. Drilled by the Eirik Raude (UDW semisub), the Paon-1X well reached a final depth of 16,699 feet (5,090 meters) in a water depth of 7,195 feet (2,193 meters).
Project Details: Paon
Europe – North Sea
Lundin Temporarily Suspends Albert Drilling
Jun 14, 2012 – Noreco reported that exploratory drilling on well 6201/11-3 in Production License 519, targeting the Albert prospect, has been temporarily suspended until August. The Bredford Dolphin (mid-water semisub) is moving to a Norwegian yard to complete its five-year renewal survey before returning to complete the Albert exploration well.
Project Details: Albert
Bridge Energy Acquires Stake in Boa Field
Jun 14, 2012 – Bridge Energy has signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement to acquire a 1.55 percent working interest in the producing Boa field from OMV Limited for a consideration of $18.1 million. The interest will add production of 250 bopd to Bridge. The unitized field extends across the UK/Norway median line and lies 88.65 percent in Norway Block 24/6 and 11.35 percent in UK Blocks 9/15a and 9/15b. The field was developed in 2008 as part of the wider Alvheim area development with three subsea development wells tied-back to the Alvheim FPSO operated by Marathon. Oil from Boa is shipped by shuttle tanker while gas is exported into the UK market via the Beryl SAGE system. The field is expected to produce until 2022.
Project Details: Alvheim
Statoil Gets Govt Nod to Drill at Troll
Jun 14, 2012 – Statoil was granted consent to drill on the Troll field using the COSLInnovator (mid-water semisub). The consent applies to drilling, completion and plugback on the field in a water depth of 1,093 feet (333 meters). Statoil’s contract with COSL Drilling Europe for use of the COSLInnovator has a duration of eight years from the start of the contract.
Project Details: Troll Area
Xcite Reaches TD at Bentley Well
Jun 13, 2012 – Xcite Energy has reached a targeted depth of 9,646 feet (2,940 meters) at well 9/3b-7z on the Bentley field. A reservoir section in excess of 2,000 feet (610 meters) has been drilled with 100 percent net pay and sand control screens have been run successfully. The top reservoir, at 3,609 feet (1,100 meters) true vertical depth, is higher than previously encountered in any part of the field to date, thereby giving an oil column depth of approximately 121 feet (37 meters). The remainder of the planned operations, including installation of the smart completion equipment (enabling individual laterals to be flowed, co-mingled or shut-in), the down-hole pumps and commissioning of the processing equipment will now be undertaken prior to commencing production testing.
Project Details: Bentley
Antrim Eying Fyne Development
Jun 13, 2012 – Antrim Energy has been granted an extension for the submission of a Field Development Plan for the Fyne field in the UK sector of the North Sea. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) notified the operator that it has extended the deadline for submission of an FDP for the Fyne field from June 2012 to January 2013. Antrim also anticipates DECC approval of the transfer to Antrim of the working interests of the other two partners in the License, Premier Oil UK Limited and First Oil Expro Limited, as well as the transfer of operatorship to Antrim from Premier. Once DECC approves the transfers, Antrim will be operator and hold 100 percent working interest in the Fyne License. The license target date for first production remains in the fourth quarter of 2014. Antrim continues its work on the design of a small SPAR production facility to determine its suitability for Fyne and surrounding fields in the Greater Fyne Area. In parallel with this work, Antrim is seeking joint venture partners to participate in appraisal and development of the Greater Fyne Area discoveries, including West Teal in Block 21/24b (Antrim 100 percent).
Project Details: Fyne
Apache Spuds Tryfan Well
Jun 13, 2012 – Apache has commenced exploratory drilling at the Tryfan prospect located in UK Block 3/17. The operator reported that Tryfan is an Eocene channelized sand play in the northern North Sea which benefits from a strong seismic amplitude response. The well is estimated to take around 25 days to complete.
Project Details: Tryfan
Norwegian Parliament OKs Edvard Grieg Development
Jun 11, 2012 – The Norwegian Parliament has approved development and operation plans for Lundin’s Edvard Grieg field, formerly Luno. This is the first project to progress to the development phase in the oil-rich Utsira High area of the Norwegian North Sea. The Edvard Grieg field is estimated to hold about 186 million barrels of oil equivalent and is scheduled to come on-stream in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Edvard Grieg development plan includes drilling of 15 wells from a jack-up rig, a processing platform on a jacket structure and export pipelines tied-back to existing infrastructure.
Project Details: Edvard Grieg (Luno, Draupne) Project
Total Receives Consent to Develop Martin Linge
Jun 11, 2012 – Total has received approval from the Norwegian Parliament for the development and operation of the Martin Linge, formerly Hild field. The field, which holds estimated recoverable reserves of 189 million boe, will be exploited using a fixed platform with gas to be exported via the UK pipeline system and oil to be processed and stored on a floating storage and offloading vessel for export by shuttle tanker.
Project Details: Martin Linge (Hild)
CGGVeritas to Acquire Seismic Survey over Ekofisk
Jun 8, 2012 – CGGVeritas will commence a survey acquisition of the Ekofisk field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, as part of the multi-year Life-of-Field seismic program for which it was awarded both the seismic data acquisition and processing. Mobilization is set to begin early June 2012, and the shooting period will last about one month. Production commenced from the Ekofisk field in 1971, and Eldfisk came on stream in 1979. ConocoPhillips operates the license, PL 018, with a 35.11% interest; Total holds 39.90%; Eni holds 12.39%; Statoil holds 7.60%; and Petoro holds 5%.
Project Details: Ekofisk Center
Africa – Other
Statoil Hits Pay in Tanzania
Jun 14, 2012 – Statoil reported that logging results from its Lavani well, offshore Tanzania, has confirmed a new high-impact discovery. The company said that preliminary estimates suggest a resource of three trillion cubic feet of gas-in-place. The Lavani well encountered 312 feet (95 meters) of “excellent quality” reservoir sandstone with high porosity and high permeability. The Lavani well, drilled in 7,875 feet (2,400 meters) of water depth is being drilling by Ocean Rig Poseidon (UDW drillship).
Project Details: Lavani
Anadarko Strikes Again in Rovuma Basin
Jun 11, 2012 – Anadarko has made another significant natural gas discovery offshore Mozambique in the Rovuma Basin. The Atum discovery well encountered more than 300 feet (92 meters) of natural gas pay in two high-quality Oligocene fan systems. According to preliminary data, the latest discovery is connected to the recent Golfinho discovery located approximately 10 miles (16.5 kilometers) northwest in Offshore Area 1. “We estimate this new complex, which is located entirely within the Offshore Area 1 block, holds 10 to 30-plus trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of incremental recoverable natural gas resources,” said Bob Daniels, Anadarko???s senior vice president of worldwide exploration. The Atum well was drilled by Dolphin Drilling rig Belford Dolphin (UDW drillship) to a total depth of approximately 12,665 feet (3,860 meters) in approximately 3,285 feet (1,000 meters) of water.
Project Details: Atum
S. America – Brazil
BW Offshore Signs Operation Contract with Statoil
Jun 12, 2012 – BW Offshore has signed a five-year contract with Statoil for the operation of the Peregrino FPSO, with options for an additional 15 years. The unit is operating at the Peregrino oil field offshore Brazil and BW Offshore will take over operations after a transition period of six months. The Peregrino field is located 53 miles (85 kilometers) off the Rio de Janeiro coast in a water depth of 394 feet (120 meters). Statoil operates the field holding a 60% interest; Sinochem holds the remaining 40%.
Project Details: Peregrino
Petrobras Finds Light Oil in Southern Portion of Sapinhoa
Jun 11, 2012 – Petrobras has found light crude oil at well, 1-BRSA-1045-SPS located in the southern portion of Sapinhoa field at a water depth of 7,222 feet (2,202 meters). The company’s cable tests confirmed that the discovery is of around 27 degree API. Under a ‘Rights Transfer Agreement’, the company is entitled to produce 319 million barrels of crude equivalent in the area. Petrobras is currently trying to drill the well to a depth of 16,590 feet (5,058 meters) to determine the lower limit of the reservoir. After drilling is completed, the company plans to conduct a formation test to determine the productivity of the oil reservoir.
Project Details: Sapinhoa (Guara)

Shell Plans USD 20 bln Investment in Indonesia’s Masela Block

International oil major Shell will invest approximately $20 billion in Masela offshore block, located the Arafura Sea, Indonesia.

According to Reuters, Indonesia’s Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said yesterday that Shell would gradually invest $20 billion between 2013 and 2019.

In December, 2011, Shell acquired a 30% participating interest in the Masela Block (Abadi project). Inpex is the operator of the project with 60% interest.

The Abadi gas field will be developed in phases and that one FLNG plant will be constructed and utilized for the annual LNG production of 2.5 million ton for the first phase development.

First production from the field is expected to begin in 2018.


Obama: Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii

Obama's Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: 'Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii'

Read more:

The Vetting – Exclusive – Obama’s Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: ‘Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii’.

Niko’s Drilling Program in Indonesia Kicks Off


Niko Resources Ltd. has announced start of its exploration drilling program in Indonesia and participation in the company’s twenty-first block in the country.

Niko will partner with Zaratex N.V. in the 5908km2 Lhokseumawe PSC in western Indonesia. The block is located directly adjacent to the giant Arun field (>3.1BBOE) and associated LNG plant. A 3865km2 3D program was acquired on the block and a number of high impact prospects were subsequently identified. Drilling is to commence in the shallow water portion of the block in April with two wells. The Candralila-1 and Ratnadewi-1 prospects will be drilled back to back and if successful will be monetized relatively quickly by accessing the existing extensive local infrastructure.

Niko’s deep water rig, the Diamond Ocean Monarch, is scheduled to arrive in Lhokseumawe in September to drill the Jayarani-1 well. This will be the first well in Niko’s planned program of more than 25 deep water wells in Indonesia. In addition, in the North Ganal PSC in which Niko is a participant, operator Eni will be using the Transocean Seven Seas to drill the Lebah-1 well in the second half of 2012. The Lebah prospect will test the extension of the Jangkrik and Jangkrik-NE discovery trend (>400MMBOE of reserves to date). Eni has already filed a POD for the development of these discoveries and first production is expected in 2015.


Gulf of Mexico Records Largest Demand for Specialised Offshore Vessels


Infield Systems have made a report on the offshore construction activity demand in order to recognize key regions and gauge supply developments stressing the possibility for activity increase due to the arrival of transcontinental pipelines and the deepwater tie-in of various satellite wells matched to an increased level of subsea installations. Demand is expected to reach its peak during 2015.

North America, particularly the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), has been recording the largest demand level mainly because of the availability of assets.

A considerable growth is expected in Asia and West Africa to 2016, supported by West African projects perceived as one of the key constituents of the emergent deepwater market and the region is seen as a key to a continued utilization of strategic assets. The Asian market features numerous countries including Malaysia, India, China and Indonesia, each reflecting differing dynamics, providing a slightly different opportunity for vessel operators who are keen to secure high utilization.

The global recession has affected all offshore developments and oil companies forcing them to restructure their capital cost commitments together with their offshore expansion plans.

Considerable confidence in Global financial markets has been regained. The declining oil price trend seen in Q2 2011 stabilized during Q3 2011. Greatly depending on whether the major economies return to recession, the global oil demand is anticipated to grow, although at a slower rate than expected.

Infield Systems strongly believe that the level of activity for specialist vessels will increase as E&P ventures expect to rise as a result of exploited reserves.

Vessel operators dealing with harsh and remote environments are most likely to be at the forefront of the expected growth. However, Infield Systems expects the global fleet to become more technologically advanced.

Infield Systems’ Global Perspective Specialist Vessels Market Report To 2016 is dedicated to the construction and construction support vessels that are employed in the development of offshore oil and gas fields. The third edition of this ground breaking report provides an in depth analysis of global and regional trends and the supply and demand dynamics for the period 2007 through to 2016.


Niko Expands its Indonesian PSCs Portfolio


Niko Resources Ltd. has been awarded two new Production Sharing Contracts (“PSCs”) in Indonesia. The Company now has interests in 20 Indonesian PSCs including 13 in its West Papua portfolio.

As shown in above, the 8,217 Km2 SE Seram offshore block is adjacent to Niko’s Seram, East Bula and Kumawa blocks and also borders a third party block where the Andalan‐1 well is currently drilling. Niko will have a 100% working interest and operate.

The 6000 Km2 Halmahera II block is adjacent to Niko’s Obi, Halmahera‐Kofiau and Kofiau blocks. Niko will have a 20% working interest.


As It Pivots Toward Asia, America Brings an Undefined Era to a Close


Anindya Novyan Bakrie | December 19, 2011

At the beginning of the 21st century, the Indo-Pacific region, consisting of the Asia Pacific and South Asia, existed in an interregnum. The Cold War and the period that followed had passed into history, and it was time for a new era to begin.

What began, instead, was the Age of Terror, inaugurated by the 9/11 attacks in the United States. However, unless terrorism wins, it cannot define an era, no matter how terrible its tactics and how atrocious its results. This is because neither terrorism nor the war against it can settle the great issues of the day.

Thus, the war on terror could not and did not define the relationship between the great powers of the region, primarily the United States, China, Japan and India. It did not, because it could not, decide the balance of power among these nations on the basis of their economic, political, military and cultural strengths. Terrorism merely postponed the inevitable rebalancing of power in the Indo-Pacific region. The region lived in an interregnum for the first decade following 9/11.

Now, in the closing months of 2011, the United States has terminated the interregnum and initiated a new era. It has decided to pivot to the region in two ways: by expanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement and by deciding to station its troops in the Australian city of Darwin, in a move that could alter the security contours of the Indo-Pacific. No country in the region will be immune to the effects of these changes.

The TPP sends out an economic message that the United States is thinking big. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu last month, US President Barack Obama unveiled the framework of a Pacific-wide free trade agreement involving nine countries.

What had begun in 2005 as an agreement among Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore took on larger-than-life proportions with the inclusion of Australia, Malaysia, Peru, the United States and Vietnam. Japan announced that it, too, would join the grouping.

Covering 505 million people in an economically exciting part of the world who enjoy a gross domestic product of $16.97 trillion and a GDP per capita of $33,546, the TPP is a super-league FTA in the making.

The United States, with the largest economy in the world, has joined hands with Japan, the third largest economy, and several other vibrant economies in a move that could set the cat among free-trading pigeons, including the European Union.

On the strategic front, the message is the same: the Americans are thinking big. The pivot has taken the form of a US agreement with Australia for the eventual deployment of up to 2,500 Marines on rotational missions in Darwin. These numbers are not big in themselves. What is big is the strategic intention behind them. At one go, America has inserted itself in the swiftly-changing scenario in the Indo-Pacific theater created by the military rise of China and manifested in its assertiveness in the South China Sea.

Are the TPP and the coming Darwin deployment attempts to exclude, encircle and contain China? They do not have to be.

China, the world’s second largest economy, is welcome to join the TPP and make it the apex FTA of the future. In the process, Beijing would become enmeshed in the emerging economic architecture of the Indo-Pacific. True, this would mean concessions on its part and agreement to play by the rules of TPP, but then the same rules would bind the other players as well, all of whom would have to make concessions. This is not containment, unless Beijing decides to see it that way.

As for the Darwin deployment, it is an American signal to the Chinese to moderate their naval assertiveness. China’s military build-up leaves no one in any doubt of its desire to protect its national interests in the Taiwan Strait. China seeks to be in a position to deal effectively with the eventuality of American (or other) intervention should Taiwan declare independence and seek foreign help.

But the South China Sea is another matter: It is contested maritime territory. For Beijing to elevate it to a “core interest,” on par with Taiwan’s and Tibet’s place in China’s territorial integrity, cannot but make the other claimants look for support from another great power. America provided diplomatic support to Southeast Asian countries worried about China, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, by reasserting Washington’s commitment to freedom of navigation in the international waterways.

The Darwin deployment reinforces Washington’s military resolve not to let Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea carry the day by default. It is now up to China to recalculate its options. This is not containment — unless Beijing chooses to see it that way.

Indonesia has not been vocal on these game-changing events and developments, but it has a role to play in them for obvious reasons. Even before American strategic thinking recognized Indonesia’s position as a pivotal power in the Indo-Pacific, geography had assigned it that role.

The Indonesian archipelago forms a crossroad between the Indian and the Pacific oceans, and it is a bridge between the continents of Asia and Australia. Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world to form a single state and Southeast Asia’s largest country. With a GDP of more than $700 billion, its economy is the biggest in Southeast Asia and has won it membership of the Group of 20.

Whether Indonesia wishes to join the TPP will depend on a calculus of costs and benefits that must take into account the fact that, for all the nation’s achievements, it remains a developing country. At the moment, what is crucial is that Indonesia contributes to the viability of the Asean Economic Community, whether or not that vision is achieved by 2015.

On the strategic front, Indonesia is not, and will not be, a part of any attempt to contain China. At the same time, however, Indonesia cannot have its options constrained in dealing with the United States, Japan, India or any other country.

This is true not only of Indonesia but of Asean in general. No country in Asean wants to be forced by either the United States or China to choose between the two. Indonesia, as Southeast Asia’s pivotal country, must continue to pursue a free and independent foreign policy that welcomes extra-regional powers without becoming a part of any exclusive agenda they might have.

All in all, these are interesting times in which Indonesia must remain relevant. Or should I say that these are pivotal times?

Anindya Novyan Bakrie is chairman of VIVA Media Group, chief executive of Bakrie Telecom, vice chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), and a presidentially-appointed representative for the APEC Business Advisory Council.


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