The violent riots which have hit the streets of Jakarta in the last two days and which have involved tens of thousands of demonstrators have obviously given vent to feelings of massive discontent. It is true that in the first instance the main objects of student anger were Japanese business interests which have achieved a stranglehold over several key areas of the Indonesian economy.
Contrary to popular belief, the Vietnam war has not ended. Indeed, ever since the beginning of negotiations back in 1968 between the United States and North Vietnam, the war has constantly escalated in so far as it has gradually engulfed Laos and Cambodia as well as the two Vietnams, and involved ever more destructive American fire power.
For some weeks now, all the headlines of the world’s press have been concentrating, quite properly, on the Middle East war, the emerging oil crisis and the continuing saga of political corruption and deceit within the United States. We have had, therefore, little or no opportunity to be reminded of the forgotten but unrelenting war in Indochina.
The new year is scarcely a month old. Yet we have seen enough to know that the fires raging in different parts of the Middle East and North Africa will not easily abate – and that the firefighting efforts of Western governments may prove no more successful than in the past.