Washington History Seminar: "Suharto's Cold War: Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and the World"

Event Details

End: December 11, 2023
Contact: rwheatley@historians.org

In Suharto’s Cold War, Mattias Fibiger argues that the Indonesian dictator Suharto used the global Cold War to wage his own domestic and regional Cold Wars. Suharto mobilized international aid and investment to construct a counterrevolutionary dictatorship and promote economic development in Indonesia. He then sought to propagate authoritarian reaction elsewhere in Southeast Asia and contain the threat posed by communist China. As he reshaped Indonesia and Southeast Asia, Suharto worked to preserve the link between his domestic and regional Cold Wars and the global Cold War, managing the challenges posed by détente and triangular diplomacy, the oil shocks and the collapse of Bretton Woods, and the human rights revolution.

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Mattias Fibiger is Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School. A scholar of international relations and political economy in Southeast Asia, he received his Ph.D. in History from Cornell University. He is the author of Suharto’s Cold War (2023) as well as articles and book chapters in publications including Diplomatic History and Modern Asian Studies.

Brad Simpson is Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Connecticut and the author of Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and US-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968 (Stanford, 2008). His current book projects include The First Right: Self-Determination and the Transformation of International Order (Oxford, forthcoming 2024) and a forthcoming history of Indonesian authoritarianism, development, and human rights during the Suharto era. He also founded the Indonesia documentation project at the non-profit National Security Archive. Brad was a Wilson Center fellow in 2013.