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The dominant role of the Indonesian military has long been a characteristic feature of the Indonesian political scene. But how did this dominance emerge? In "Genesis of Power", Dr Salim Said delves into the circumstance of the Indonesian military's inception during the struggle for independence in the 1940s and the perceptions of its first commander-in-chief, or Panglima Besar, General Sudirman, to answer this question. In General Sudirman's view, there were a number of reasons for the military's dominance, including the fact that the military was a self-created institution rather than one established by the government or a political party; the fact that he was elected by his troops rather than by the government; the weakness of indigenous political and governmental institutions at that time; and the experience of running a military government for eight months during the guerrilla war period, which led to the Panglima Besar's perception of the military as the main defender of the country's sovereignity and to the consequent assertive role of the military. In an epilogue to his historical account, Dr Salim observes that while the legitimacy of the military's participation in politics has remained unquestioned, new circumstances following General Sudirman's death have constantly forced it to redefine the precise nature of that participation. "Genesis of Power" will be important reading for all those concerned with the contemporary history of Indonesia and Southeast Asia. "Genesis of power" will be important reading for all those concerned with the contemporary history of Indonesia and Southeast Asia. "Dr Salim Said is head of International Relations of the Indonesian Film Festival and Chairman of the Jakarta Arts Council. He spent six of his 25 years as a journalist with the newspaper of the Indonesian armed forces, "Angkatan Bersenjata.
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