The halfway point of 2015 is upon us, and usually we like to catch our collective breath to reflect upon events of the year thus far. If only we had the time! Events, trends and controversies have been unfolding nonstop since New Year’s Day, and we see no letup in a frantic pace that, in many ways, has been triggered by the new presidency of Joko Widodo.
Despite being a quarterly journal, Strategic Review attempts wherever it can to bring readers analysis of real-time events, despite the 24-hour news cycle. We’re happy to report two excellent examples of this, starting with our cover story, which looks at the global issue of migrants. Our author William Lacy Swing, a prominent retired American diplomat and head of the International Organization for Migration, uses the ongoing crisis involving Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants landing in boats in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries to explain the global phenomenon of migration and its perils.
We also take a deep dive into the Joko administration’s controversial – and, one might say, totally unexpected – decision to begin executing dozens of death row drug convicts, the vast majority of them foreign nationals. This controversial policy, our author finds, may be more related to the new president’s domestic political problems than combating a so-called national drug emergency.
Staying at home in Indonesia, we analyze the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the national government’s revenue-sharing formula with its decentralized regions and its impact on good governance, and take a fascinating inside look at the problem of motorcycle gang violence across the country.
Looking abroad, we have a wide variety of compelling essays. Our author looks at how the recent historic thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba could positively reverberate in two Southeast Asian nations, Myanmar and Vietnam. Jumping back into the maritime disputes in the South China Sea, we have two essays: our first author argues that China’s “ancient” territorial claim is highly questionable, while our second author calls on the United Nations to get into the game to help resolve the disputes. And finally, we go behind the scenes at the most recent review conference of the global nuclear nonproliferation treaty.