This article explores the discourse and practices of Indonesian foreign policy under President Yudhoyono (2004-2014) by using the lens of strategic culture. Based on Ole Waever's idea of discursive structure, and by combining these with Neumann and Heikka's idea on strategic culture as the interplay between discourse and practices, this article seeks to comprehend the effort to reconstruct Indonesia identity that was articulated during Yudhoyono regime. Therefore, the conduct of foreign policy during Yudhoyono, especially the doctrine of navigating the turbulent ocean, was used as a tool to further examine the actual discourse and practice of Indonesian strategic culture at the time. Using the Hansenian methods of poststructuralist discourse analysis, we gathered the speeches made by Yudhoyono and his officials during the timeline of the research. We then charted the emerging patterns of Yudhoyono’s policies, compared the actual policies with the discursive rhetoric and narratives from the official sources, before finally assessed the appropriateness of the discursive patterns by looking at the initial and historical ideas (and practices) of Indonesian strategic culture. Based on our findings, we argue that the initial discursive structures of Indonesian strategic culture, formulated during the history of the nation (as argued by Sulaiman in 2016), limited the choices for foreign policies during Yudhoyono’s regime. This limitation forced Yudhoyono to cling into more inward-looking foreign policy rather than his initial aim for outward-looking options.
- Identity construction
- Strategic culture
- The discursive structure of identity
- Yudhoyono’s foreign policy