Fire Over Indonesia

At last, a new President takes over the troubled nation. Can she stop things from falling apart?

When the scorpion tanks clattered to a halt outside the Istana Merdeka palace in Jakarta, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid was at first relieved. "Maybe they're here to protect the palace," he said to his daughter. But when she pointed out that the tanks had swiveled their guns toward his balcony, Wahid knew that he had lost a game of brinkmanship. The security forces had switched loyalties to his Vice President, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

For a few days last week, Indonesia had an embarrassment of Presidents. Even after Wahid was impeached and the People's Consultative Assembly gave Megawati his post, the irascible and...

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