Indonesia: By Jingo

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We don't want to fight, but by jingo, if we do, We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money, too.*

Indonesia's President Sukarno, who sorely lacks troopships, trained soldiers and hard cash for his threatened invasion of Netherlands New Guinea, is banking on jingo power to persuade the world that he means business. Though Sukarno last week slightly softened his repeated demand for immediate sovereignty over Netherlands New Guinea, allowing that "sooner or later" will be good enough, Indonesia's government and armed forces acted as if the country were already at war. Officials set up blood banks, ordered air-raid drills, recruited volunteer troops. Through Djakarta's streets tramped Irian Barat (West New Guinea) Liberation Front recruits toting antique rifles and bamboo spears. At the airport, Sukarno kept eight (of ten) Soviet-supplied TU-16 jet bombers on permanent display.

Inviting foreign newsmen to visit Macassar, Indonesia's invasion headquarters in the Celebes, Sukarno saw to it that the streets were draped with banners proclaiming in plain English: WE WILL GIVE OUR LIVES FOR IRIAN BARAT. No less clear to Western correspondents was the combat unreadiness of ill-fed, ill-disciplined, ill-conditioned infantrymen who, as one put it, "seemed exhausted after a 30-minute demonstration that would scarcely have tired a Finch College hockey team."

Blaming Russia. While ebullient crowds chanted "Merdeka!" (Freedom), shopkeepers droned a phrase more appropriate to Indonesia's runaway economic problems. "Tidak ada" was their invariable reply when asked for bread, sugar or cooking oil—"We don't have any." A rice shortage, caused by severe drought last fall, has brought a 300% price increase in the nation's staple food in three months. Gasoline and auto parts are virtually unobtainable, and Sukarno's war scare has caused hoarding and profiteering in many other goods.

Indonesia has been pushed toward economic breakdown by spendthrift use of foreign exchange (down from $300 million in 1960 to an alltime low of $10 million) and a slump in exports that since 1959 has transformed a $300 million trade surplus into an estimated $50 million deficit for last year.

Intriguingly enough, the Red-lining Indonesian government now blames the economic crisis partly on Russia, which has given $371 million in aid since 1956 but demanded that the money be spent on prestige projects that in many cases have yielded nothing but Red ink. A super phosphate plant scheduled for central Java has been postponed by the Soviet engineers' discovery that the area is poor in phosphate. The only visible result of a $250 million credit bestowed by Khrushchev in 1960 has been a voluminous survey detailing the need for more surveys. On projects only partly financed by Russia. Indonesia has had to pay salaries up to $700 a month to Soviet technicians, and buy heavy construction equipment from the U.S. when Russian machines proved inadequate.

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