Indonesian reaction to the recent bomb blast in Bali that killed 180 people is another example of the consequences of U.S. interventionist policies. According to an article in the Nov. 7 issue of the New York Times, a common perception among educated Indonesians is that the CIA, not Islamic terrorists, set off the bomb in order to secure support for the U.S. government’s upcoming war on Iraq.
Why would Indonesians arrive at that conclusion? Because they haven’t forgotten the U.S. government’s intervention in their country some four decades ago. As the Times article points out, the CIA helped Indonesian army generals to effect a regime change in 1965 that resulted in the ouster of the country’s founding president Sukarno “after he incurred Washington’s displeasure for many years.”
Even worse, the common perception among Indonesians is that for the next three decades, the U.S. government then proceeded to support the authoritarian efforts of Sukarno’s successor, Suharto, to suppress Islamic expression.
U.S. officials, meanwhile, simply cannot understand “why conspiracy theories about the United States are so prevalent in Indonesia.” In their minds, the U.S. government is just an innocent babe in the foreign woods that never does anything bad to people and that the Indonesians must simply hate America for its freedom and values.
But U.S. officials are wrong. It is the U.S. government’s decades-long interventionist policies that are at the root of deep foreign resentment of the United States all over the world. And as long as the American people permit their government’s interventionist foreign policy to go unabated, foreign anger, hatred, mistrust, and terrorism against America will continue.