Skip to main content

Suharto's Cold War: Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and the World

Date & Time

Dec. 11, 2023
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET


Online Only
Zoom Webinar


In Suharto’s Cold War, Mattias Fibiger argues that the Indonesian dictator Suharto used the global Cold War to wage his own domestic and regional Cold Wars. Suharto mobilized international aid and investment to construct a counterrevolutionary dictatorship and promote economic development in Indonesia. He then sought to propagate authoritarian reaction elsewhere in Southeast Asia and contain the threat posed by communist China. As he reshaped Indonesia and Southeast Asia, Suharto worked to preserve the link between his domestic and regional Cold Wars and the global Cold War, managing the challenges posed by détente and triangular diplomacy, the oil shocks and the collapse of Bretton Woods, and the human rights revolution.

Mattias Fibiger is Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School. A scholar of international relations and political economy in Southeast Asia, he received his Ph.D. in History from Cornell University. He is the author of Suharto’s Cold War (2023) as well as articles and book chapters in publications including Diplomatic History and Modern Asian Studies.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partner (the George Washington University History Department) for their continued support.


Mattias Fibiger

Mattias Fibiger

Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit, Harvard Business School


Su Lin Lewis

Su Lin Lewis

Associate Professor in Modern Global History, University of Bristol
Bradley Simpson

Bradley Simpson

Public Policy Scholar;
Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies, University of Connecticut

Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War. Through an award winning Digital Archive, the Project allows scholars, journalists, students, and the interested public to reassess the Cold War and its many contemporary legacies. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

Indo-Pacific Program

The Indo-Pacific Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on US interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

Thank you for your interest in this event. Please send any feedback or questions to our Events staff.