This probably explains the Indonesian government’s attitude toward the American troops and their assistance in the aftermath of the disaster.
Over the last 40 years the Indonesians have used both Russian and American war materiel; the Air Force currently is flying US-made Douglas A-4 Skyhawk aircraft from the 1960s, which are overdue for replacement. The Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs from the 1970s are looking pretty long in the tooth, too; and even the newer F-16s have issues with spare parts. While most of its major weapons systems are US-made, Indonesia is under a US embargo, thanks to US disapproval of Indonesian suppression of East Timorese separatists. Even if the embargo was lifted, any arms supplied by the US would probably have strings attached limiting their utility against other separatist movements --which is the primary reason the Indonesians, beset by several such movements, want modern weapons. One Indonesian politician's response to the US embargo, in mid-December before the tidal wave brought American aid en masse, was succinct: "Go to Hell with your aid!" [bold mine]In spite of the Indonesian government’s method of diplomacy, they may soon be looking squarely in the face of the second wave of the disaster.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) - Malaria could kill up to 100,000 people in coming months across Indian Ocean communities devastated by the Dec. 26 tsunami if authorities do not quickly move to kill mosquitoes, a health expert warned Thursday.What kind of pesticide does the Mentor Initiative use to kill mosquitoes? Anyone know? Surely not this one.
Health agencies were planning to launch a massive spraying campaign in Indonesia - the hardest-hit country - on Friday to kill mosquitoes that carry the disease, said Richard Allan, director of the Mentor Initiative, the aid group leading the malaria campaign in Indonesia.[SNIP]
In communities along the west coast of Sumatra, where almost all buildings were wiped out, the main defense will be pesticide-impregnated plastic sheeting, which villagers use for shelter.
(Thanks to reader Bucky Katt)
INTERESTING ASIDE: Did you know that people born with either the sickle-cell trait or with sickle-cell anemia are far more likely to survive malaria than those who are free of the trait?
UPDATE: Losing the Popularity Contest
Commenter Christopher Taylor points out yet another reason that certain other Indonesians want the westerners out ASAP.
THE spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiah says he is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Aceh's tsunami survivors because of the humanitarian assistance from Australian and US military forces.
A spokesman for Abu Bakar Bashir said the Indonesian cleric, who is on trial for terrorism, regarded the relief operations by Australian and US military personnel as a dangerous development, overshadowing the role of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI). [SNIP]
"It's dangerous, this idea by Acehnese that US and Australian forces are their guardian angels - more popular than the TNI."[SNIP]