Suharto (1921-2008)

It seems like the last of the Cold War leaders are starting to pass away. For some of them, it is just good riddance.

Former Indonesian President Suharto checked out earlier today in Jakarta, leaving behind a checkered past that will affect Indonesians for years to come. For over three decades Suharto terrorized his people under his "Orde Baru" or New Order Regime in the name of maintaining "stability," or being a shill for anti-Communist West during the Cold War. He carried out political purges that resulted in the deaths of millions of suspected Indonesian communists and Chinese-Indonesians, and enacted legislation to outlaw communist parties and ethnic Chinese. Lest we forget his invasion of East Timor in 1975 which was notorious for its brutality with a reported 200,000 dead during the length of Indonesia's occupation. While he is credited for some economic growth during his tenure, because of the East Asian financial crisis in 1997 and his increasingly evident corrupt practices, the standard of living went significantly down for Indonesians and his credibility collapsed with all sectors of society. When the Cold War ended and the West didn't need him anymore, Indonesia went into diplomatic isolation and Suharto eventually was forced to resign. In his lifetime he was never prosecuted for the human rights violations or the over $30 billion he embezzled. As a matter of fact, according to Transparency International, Suharto embezzled more money than any other world leader in history.

Moving on...


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