Indonesia On The Brink

Everyone wonders what motivates President Suharto to put his country, and himself, at risk of ruin

This is the second year of living dangerously for Indonesian President Suharto. During the first, in 1965, he coolly rode out a coup, followed by massacres that killed 500,000 people, and emerged as the country's leader. In this one, economic ruin threatens to topple him. Yet as the rupiah plunges into worthlessness, the nation's debts go unpaid, the International Monetary Fund suspends emergency aid, and students riot in universities, he blithely has himself reappointed to his seventh five-year term as President.

No dangers appear to faze Suharto. When he stood up to proclaim how he would save the nation last week,...

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