DENPASAR, Indonesia -- Under the leadership of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, U.S.-Indonesia ties have progressively strengthened since he first took office in 2004. Yudhoyono earned a masters degree in the U.S. and has never hidden his liking for the States. So it came as no surprise when, in November 2008, the former general-turned-president called for a U.S.-Indonesia strategic partnership, later renamed a comprehensive partnership.
The move was in turn welcomed by U.S. President Barack Obama, who himself is sentimentally attached to the archipelagic nation where he spent a part of his childhood. Soon after Obama's inauguration, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated the administration's commitment to work toward such a partnership, guided by a concrete agenda.
While the two leaders share a mutual fondness for each other's country, the partnership itself is based on rational foreign policy objectives, and is designed to frame U.S.-Indonesia bilateral relations for the next decade. As such, it is meant to cover issues of importance to both nations -- including educational exchanges, trade and investment cooperation, climate change policy, food security and non-traditional security issues, such as the fight against terrorism, trans-national drug syndicates and people smuggling, among others.