Best Practice in Australia's Foreign Policy: 'Konfrontasi' (1963-66)
Australia's handling of Indonesia's confrontation of Malaysia ('Konfrontasi') constitutes a case-study of best practice in crisis management. A strong minister of External Affairs, working closely with an effective department, persuaded Cabinet to set policy guidelines which would serve Australia's long-term regional interests. Bureaucratic skill and diplomatic flair helped to ensure the success-and so the continuance-of the policy, despite private and public criticism. An independent foreign policy, such as had also served Australia well in the late 1940s in facilitating the decolonisation of Indonesia, not only assisted Britain to decolonise successfully in Southeast Asia in the 1960s, but had lasting results in establishing Australia as a credible regional player and in defining the enduring importance of good working relations with its neighbour, Indonesia.
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