A villager taps a rubber tree, Lubuk Beringin village, Bungo district, Jambi province, Indonesia (Photo by Tri Saputro for the Center for International Forestry Research).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the impact of falling oil and commodities prices on resource-exporting countries. A prolonged commodities slump has caused Indonesia’s economy to slow drastically. Last year, Indonesia saw its slowest growth rate since 2002; the currency lost 11 percent of its value; and trade levels were at their lowest since the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. In an email interview, Arianto Patunru, a fellow in the Arndt-Corden department of economics at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy, discussed Indonesia’s economy and its dependence on commodities […]

A Vietnam People's Navy minesweeper during a search and rescue exercise with the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea, April 12, 2014 (U.S Navy photo by Chief Fire Controlman Steven Newberry).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the South China Sea territorial disputes and the various claimant countries’ approaches to addressing them. Last week, Vietnam protested China’s construction of two lighthouses on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, saying the construction violates Vietnam’s sovereignty. In an email interview, Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discussed Vietnam’s claims to the South China Sea. WPR: What are Vietnam’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, and with what other countries do they overlap or […]

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo delivers his speech before Parliament members ahead of the country's Independence Day, Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 14, 2015 (AP photo by Tatan Syuflana).

On Oct. 20, 2014, Joko Widodo, popularly referred to as Jokowi, was sworn in as Indonesia’s new president—a champion of the people and pin-up for clean, open and efficient governance. What a difference a year can make. Over his first year in office, the limits to Jokowi’s power, political agenda and capacity to manage complex relationships have been repeatedly exposed. Powerful political oligarchs, an entrenched and entitled bureaucracy, an army eager to reinvigorate its relevance and a corruption-riddled justice sector—to name a few—were always going to present significant challenges to Jokowi’s presidency, and they didn’t delay. One of the most […]