Vale John Talu Tekwie – Soft power and FTZ

Vale John Talu Tekwie
Vale John Talu Tekwie

My late brother JT was championing of the Free Trade Zone in Vanimo. His work on the the FTZ was progressing very well, until his untimely passing yesterday.

What is Free Trade Zone? According to Wikipedia Free Trade Zone is a class of special economic zone. It is a geographic area where goods may be landed, stored, handled, manufactured or reconfigured and re-exported under specific customs regulation and generally not subject to customs duty.

I pay homage to John Talu Tekwie the brilliant thinker he was.

FTZ was JT’s answer to the Indonesia Soft Power Diplomacy.

What is Soft power?

Soft power is an idea or concept developed by Joseph S Nye, and soft power basically means, according to Wikipedia is, the ability to attract and co-opt or persuasion, rather than coerce (hard power, often meant the military).

Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is non-coercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies

Joseph S. Nye simple explanation a contains in his book of the same name, Soft Power, The means to success in world politics.

First Joseph S. Nye explains that power is the ability to get what you want from others in two ways through coersions and payment, or through attraction and persuasion. Nye says coersion and payment is hardpower, and coersion often meant the size and power od tge military might, and soft power is getting what you want through attraction and persuasion.

In light of the background information and general understand of what Soft Power is, as oppose to what Hard power acvording to Joseph S. Nye.

Who is Joseph S. Nye? Joseph Samuel Nye Jr. is an American political scientist. He is the co-founder, along with Robert Keohane, of the international relations theory of neoliberalism, developed in their 1977 book Power and Interdependence. Together with Keohane, he developed the concepts of asymmetrical and complex interdependence. Wikipedia
Born: January 19, 1937 (age 82 years), South Orange, New Jersey, United States.

Indonesia and its Soft Power diplomacy

We must direct our attention to our closest neighbour and the biggest Muslim nation in the world and its position in the region.

We have long known Indonesia’s military might. A few years Indonesia special armed forces, the Kopassus was rated number one ahead of USA Navy Seals, and the UKs MI5. There is no doubt Indonesias hard power, the power of coersion is undeniable if we see the effects of the East Timor story, and West Papua.

No one, however notice Indonesia switched to the Soft Power approach significantly measured in its Pacific Diplomacy which was dutifully advanced through the likes of the late Franzalbert Joku.

We can see the subtle usage of the Soft Power approach by selling the idea that Indonesia is as much a Melanesian country as PNG, Fiji, SI, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We can understand their persuasive insistence to be part of the MSG as full scale member.

Why has Indonesia Government built the 4 lane Red Brigde from Jayapura to Vanimo, well not exactly Vanimo but the “Batas” or the border.

Indonesia was ahead in the Soft Power approach to enticing trade and commerce in Png through Vanimo.

Indonesia is very serious about improving its economy in the region.

Whilst most of us remain passive and large ignorant on what Indonesia is doing in the region with its influence both political and economy, not so the late John Talu Tekwie.

I met him once at the Kopitiam Coffee Shop and he asked me to drop him off at Hohola one time, along the way, our brief conversation was on the FTZ, he told me how far he gone with it, and it was ready to be submitted for the NEC consideration and approval.

John Talu Tekwie was Png’s answer to Indonesia Soft power in trade and economy, the reason behind Indonesias 4lane bridge tomthe border, its aspiring intention to be a member of the MSG, and off course its answer to the issue of West Papua.

Imagine if the FTZ was approved by the Government, and is fully operational, JMPM dream of attaining the richest black Christian nation in the world will not only be a motivatingly inspired rhetorical dream, but can be an actual reality, in my humble view.

Richest Black Christian is only possible through West Papua attaining self government status, or the full operation of the Free Trade Zone must go ahead, because it is to PNG’s total benefit, the way John Talu Tekwie saw it.

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