Indonesia – Maritime vision and shifting of paradigm

Maritime vision and Shifting of Paradigm


Sampe L. Purba


According to  geopolitics, a State is like a living organism that needs space , influence regional/ frontier , political power and security of the nation ( lebensraum – F Ratzell ) . England as a Super Power Maritime regime  remarkably noted their motto England Rules the Waves. Its influence declined in the mid- twentieth century, when the fleet could no longer sustain supporting the empire .
U.S. maritime vision, much influenced by the views of Admiral AT Mahan – Former Governor of U.S. Naval War College  who wrote the book ” The influence of Sea Power ” , in 1890 . United States that are geographically isolated in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic in order to be able to excel in war in both areas has to maintain giant troops, including fleets and armour to secure the supply lines and trade wars , intelligence operations , deploying troops , surveillance and intelligence as well as other factors deterrence . It was very expensive. So, besides hard power approach, US  also runs soft power strategy to ensure maritime dominance and hegemony excellence.

United States to design and ensure that all laws and regulations in the sea in line with its National Strategic Interests . For example, in UNCLOS 1982 ( Convention on the Law of the Sea) , stated that archipelagic countries such as Indonesia should open some coridors in its internal territorial sea  to allow and ensure peace and free pass by foreign war fleet or trade ships . In adjacent to  exclusive economic zone , American War fleet can anchor or patrolling the seas . In order to ensure the safety of the path,  countries that have narrow sea lane (choke points) as the Strait of Malacca , the Strait of Hormuz or the Strait of Turkey should open up to the protocol and International cooperation . This is important so that other countries do not necessarily have to build their own fleet strength, a potential threat to American maritime supremacy .
Smart and soft approach is also pursued through organization . International Maritime Organization ( IMO ) for example . The agency has absolute authority like an Admiral King at sea . Shipping in international trade , must comply with the highest standards of practice in relation to maritime safety , efficiency of navigation and prevention and control of marine pollution from ships . Technical airworthiness certification of the ship , crew of the cruise , cargo , insurance law and so on are designed comfortable to developing countries standards such as US and UK . These are creative barriers that prevent small countries from altering the balance of sea control dominance .

As a nation that has 17.000an island , and 2/3 of its  region comprises sea , and  sea bordering  with 10 countries , Indonesia need to have maritime vision . This vision has to be consistently reflected in the paradigm of political, economic , social, cultural and marine-based defenses . Indonesia currently has about 17 agencies , ministries and institutions in charge of marine , but each one has priority, and authority of its own budget, without unity of command and orchestra.
Mangindaan (Defense and Maritime Studies Forum , 2011) said that when charting national interest,  the maritime domain comprises of political, economic , social , and military, with a very strong weight used as drivers for developing the national interest . Maritime management includes government policy toward maritimeship , maritime science and technology , as well as industrial goods and maritime support services .
Maritime is about totality . In the United States , maritime affairs (except military affair) are under the command of an organization , namely U.S. Coast Guards.  This is to ensure the integration and management of marine systems and minimizing sectoral ego . With regards to Indonesia, the question is how much our current development policy, political, and defense have been reflected as  maritime country? Simple indicator is whether has been in place the development of marine-based research centers and university all over Indonesia , the economic development in the border areas and the outer islands, availability of ports , ships , shipbuilding industry, the increased contribution to the development of maritime sectors and the national economy , as well as defense doctrine and posture adjustments to the marine base. Or are we still have land view approach?

We have just held the APEC event in Bali , which is the economic cooperation in the Asia Pacific region, involving ocean as a medium trading transportation . On  the maritime side , have we well prepared ?

Jakarta , October 2013
Writers , professionals and practitioners of global business
Alumni PPRA 49 National Resilience Institute of Indonesia



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