Joko Widodo Can’t Save Indonesia from Extremism

Indonesian president Joko Widodo apparently won his electoral rematch with Prabowo Subianto by a solid if not overwhelming margin. That almost certainly is to the benefit of Indonesia and its neighbors.

Subianto is a putative strongman, made an army general by his father-in-law, the late dictator Suharto. Subianto commanded the brutal Special Forces and was cashiered for having kidnapped regime opponents. He sought political support by encouraging Islamic extremism.

Nevertheless, in response Widodo, informally known as Jokowi, abandoned his more liberal views and appealed to the same intolerant forces. Indonesia’s reputation as home to a tolerant Islamic faith continues to erode.