Populism and foreign policy: The Indonesian case

I. Gede Wahyu Wicaksana, Agastya Wardhana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


While the rise and political implications of populism in Southeast Asia have received significant academic attention, the impact of populist ideology on foreign policy remains understudied. This article tries to narrow the gap by presenting a case study of Indonesia under the first tenure of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), 2014–2019. Drawing on the ideational dimensions of populism, which centers on the anti-elitist characteristic of populist leaders, it proposes three sets of hypotheses. The main expected elements are: an anti-elitist stance and a perception of the victimization of the people; a perception about threatening outsiders; and a pro-people style of communication in the conduct of diplomacy. The empirical findings demonstrate that the substance or objective of Jokowi’s foreign policy does not confirm the anti-elitist and hostile view of foreigners, although longstanding nationalism remains to dominate Indonesia’s foreign policy. Jokowi’s technocratic populism’s intervention is more effective in introducing and altering the processes and forms of diplomacy, suggesting closer linkages between foreign policy and ordinary citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-425
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Politics and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Indonesia
  • Islam
  • foreign policy
  • nationalism
  • populism


Dive into the research topics of 'Populism and foreign policy: The Indonesian case'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this