Devide et Impera in Latin or Divide and Conquer is an ancient strategy. Thomas H. Henriksen explains how to adapt it to the war on terror, exploiting the ideological and religious differences of our enemies. Sowing divisions among enemies is as old as warfare. The old story told, it was related to Niccolò Machiavelli and cited the ancient political maxim Divide et Impera, the strategy of dividing to conquer had long been accepted in statecraft and warfare. U.S. military forces have not ignored the tactics associated with pitting one enemy against another. But those tactics have often been subordinated to the American way of war that relies on massive firepower. The global struggle against violent extremism is a highly political conflict where overwhelming combat “punch” is less applicable. By the same token, the extreme ideological and political divisions among the terrorists and insurgents open chinks to savvy and adaptable forces.
Devide et Impera has remained us to Indonesian imperalist, VOC that has existed for decades. And probably world war divided strategy in hundred years ago. However, today, in globalization era, people faces another apperance of Devide et Impera. For an exsist example, the members of ASEAN, Indonesia and Malaysia.
In fact, culminated hatred still happening between Indonesia and Malaysia lately. The controversy about Indonesian wealth and traditional art culture claimed by Malaysia has raised a great wall between them. Here we are, the Indonesian people who lived in the country which has the largest Muslim population. And here they are, the liberal country which has the Islamic Syari’ah (Islamic rules). Two clump countries are « disputing » today and suppose to be so on and on.
The controversy started by geopolitical issue, Sipadan and Ligitan islands. Both of the islands are located on the border of two countries. The condition heats after Malaysia determined even insisted to make Indonesian’s islands to be their properties. More tensions have been raised when Ambalat issue was sticking. For the second time, Malaysia claimed on Indonesian’s property.
In addition, lots of Indonesian traditional foods, dances, clothes, and folklore, were also claimed. Based on my survey in 2008, some Malaysian students of UiTM (Universiti Teknology Mara) told me that Both of Indonesia and Malaysia have the same culture. In case it was learned by the lineage, two countries came from a descendant, Malayan. The imigrants came from Indonesia to Malaysia and they developed some Indonesian cultures in their new place about hundred years ago. In 2004, a Malaysian told me that her grandmom was a javanese.
When some traditional foods are claimed, such as cakes from coconut milk, rendang, etc, I’ve realized that Minangkabau ethnic (West Sumatra, Indonesia) was one of the large population in Malaysia. That’s a government public relations’ remarked in 2008, and He’s Indonesian graduated from Padjadjaran University, Indonesia. Many Indonesian people come to Malaysia and introduced its culture.
There are many problems happened between Indonesia and Malaysia around culture, geopolitical, and labor. I’ve ever asked a chief of education division in Indonesian Embassy to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur about what their effort to save our traditional culture after all of Indonesian nation realized there’re some things « captured » by another nation. And he said they have addressed internally and have visited some universities in Malaysia to introduced its culture. But I told him, they haven’t worked out. High tension raised when my question about Indonesian Labor wasn’t answered perfectly. He remarked that Indonesian Embassy had shortage information stock about some lost labors and faced constraints to fight Indonesian labors’ right were trampled.
Almost all of the media reported about this « fighting ». The more high tension come after suicide bombed J.W Marriot and Ritz Carlton Hotel which the suspected bomber, M. Noordin Top came from Malaysia. It’s aggravate the bilateral relation between Indonesia and Malaysia.
After re-review all the issues happened, there’s alleged that there’re some peoples playing this game. Likely as Chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly Hidayat Nurwahid remarks. He argued that the government and Indonesian people, and so Malaysia need to be aware the possibility of a third party to contest the sheep until the relations between the two countries are often faced with some problems.He added that the most important do to solve the problems is, arising the awareness in both of the countries, including elements of the society and the press, due to some people may trying to disrupt relations between the two countries.
Antara Press Bureau quoted Hidayat Nurwahid, « It could be two countries drum dance on other people, » he said, adding Nurwahid, to anticipate problems that arise again in the future wathaniah ukhuwah needed improvement.
So, are Indonesia-Malaysia the victims of Devide et Impera tactics?