Indonesia: July 30, 2004

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  As the largest Moslem country on the planet, Indonesia also serves as a model for how democracy can work in a Moslem nation. It does work, although not as smoothly as it does in most other democracies. Islamic terrorism is being fought and terrorists prosecuted and jailed. Religious violence has been confronted and settled through negotiation. The separatist movements are still a problem, especially in Aceh and Papua. But separatism is expected in a country with dozens of major ethnic groups. Predictions that Indonesia was going to collapse into chaos have been made for decades, and never come to pass. The Indonesians always manage to cobble something together, which is not much different from what the other large democracies (like India) have done. Once you give the people the power to decide, they eventually do agree on something that works, although not to every pundit's satisfaction.

 

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