Neither promoting nor projecting democracy: Indonesia’s middlepowermanship in the Bali democracy forum under Joko Widodo
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Despite the pragmatic character of Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s foreign policy and the regression of the country’s democracy index, Indonesia remains eager for the continuation of Bali Democracy Forum (BDF). This article aims to solve this apparent contradiction using the concept of middle power diplomacy. This article argues that, in contrast to his predecessor, Widodo does not perceive BDF as an instrument to promote or project democracy abroad. Rather, Widodo considers the BDF to accentuate Indonesia’s leadership role in multilateral fora. This ‘middlepowermanship’ challenges the elite-based approach in explaining Indonesia’s foreign policy, which puts a strong emphasis on Jokowi’s personal character traits. The continuation of the BDF under Widodo reflects Indonesia’s default thinking of its status as a middle power.