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Pidato Susilo Bambang Yudoyono di West Point [ Akabri nya Amerika ]
West Point, New York, USA, 23-9-2014
The Role of The Military in a Changing World
"THE ROLE OF THE MILITARY IN
A CHANGING WORLD"
PROF. DR. SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
THE WEST POINT MILITARY ACADEMY
NEW YORK, 22 SEPTEMBER 2014
Peace be upon us all,
Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen, Jr., Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy of West Point.
Distinguished Officers and Cadets,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to be here in one of the world’s finest military academies. I am honored for the opportunity to speak before all of you — the cadets, who I believe will become future leaders and commanders of the United States Army. I also believe that many of you not only will be remembered as true patriots of your proud nation, but also the future leaders of this great country.
This is my tenth visit to the United States. My main purpose is to take part in a number of United Nations meetings, including to deliver my last speech as Indonesian President at the UN General Assembly. Truth is, I have been planning to visit West Point for quite some time now, and I am glad that I finally have the chance to do so. Next Friday, I will also speak at the George Washington University.
I feel honored to stand here in a hall that has hosted remarkable figures. I recall the great speeches of prominent soldiers like General Douglas McArthur and more recently by President Obama. This very hall has also given birth to countless U.S. military leaders and without doubt, many more to come.
Let me say a few words about my country Indonesia — although I assume many of you had googled about my country the night before at the order of your instructors.
Indonesia is half way around the world from here. It is the largest country in Southeast Asia -- from east to west it spans a distance equal to that between New York and San Francisco, covering three time zones. We are the fourth most populous nation in the world with around 250 million people. Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world. Indonesia is the world’s third largest democracy – actually, the next largest democracy after India and the United States. Just to illustrate, last July more than 130 million people cast their votes in the presidential election. As a vibrant democracy, Indonesia also enjoys freedom of the press, and respect for human rights and democratic values. We are also an emerging economy, and a member of the G-20, like the United States.
Before I proceed with my speech, just yesterday I spoke with four senior cadets from Indonesian military academy. They asked me to convey their greetings and also a message—I believe never before a Commander in Chief becomes a messenger for cadets, but I make an exception this time.
And their messages are, and I quote, “Greetings to all fellow cadets and instructors at West Point. We are eager to build friendship with cadets from other nations, including from this center of military excellence. We also have strong desire to build harmonious relations among civilizations and faiths, so that this world we all share together will be more secure and peaceful”. End of quote.
Those messages came from Cadets of different religious background. Cadet First Sergeant Major Angger Panduyuda and Kodrat Adiaji, both Muslims; Cadet Robert Willem, a Christian; Cadet Protasius Widianto, a Catholic; and Cadet I Gede Bagus, a Hindu. And just like you, these cadets love their country.
Distinguished Officers and Cadets,
Forty years ago, I joined a four-year military academy in Indonesia. Just like you, I had dreams and goals to become a patriot and a warrior, a successful professional officer, a great military leader, and help shape modern Indonesian military that will successfully accomplish any missions.
In line with the motto of the West Point : “Duty, Honor, Country”, I conducted my years in military service with strong determination. I also prepared myself to sacrifice for my country, and to realize my ideals. During my active service, I carried out a variety of military assignments, including military operations other than war. I served in a peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia and Herzegovina. And I completed all these duties with some sense of joy and at times, anxiety. Accomplishments and also admittedly some disappointments.
I also had the good fortune to experience combat assignments as well as education and training, including those in the US Army such as Airborne and Ranger School at Fort Benning, US Jungle Warfare School at Fort Sherman in Panama, Infantry Officer Advanced Course at Fort Benning, and Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. All of which helped me to become a better professional officer.
In the US Army, and in other militaries, we live and die by a code. We live with a set of values, mindsets and cultures which are unique to military. We are trained to have a “can do” spirit, a must-accomplish mission philosophy, a never give up attitude, strong leadership and effective military management. We are bound by a military traditions founded on cohesiveness and a strong esprit de corps.
You might wonder why I am telling you all these despite the fact that I come from a country very much different from yours. This is because I am convinced that these are what changed and shaped my life, and I believe these could also change you in the future. A positive change that had helped me build ability and capacity to fulfill my state duty as President of the Republic of Indonesia and at the same time as the Commander in Chief.
I am sure that you often heard a theory that your education in the West Point would become an invaluable asset for your future career—be that in the military or in any other professions and careers. These might include entering politics, the business world or government. Some prominent graduates of this institution have proven this theory. Just to name a few, General George S. Patton and General Dwight Eisenhower, and General Douglas McArthur, three remarkable World War II figures. John Francis Reed and John Mondy Shimkus, both are seasoned parliamenttarians. Bob McDonald and Keith McLoughlin, CEOs of world leading companies. William Surles McArthur and Richard Michael Mullain who became US astronauts. And John Mearsheimer, a professor at Chicago University. In a way, my life experience is also evidence to this theory.
For that reason, cadets, you must be thankful to West Point and to your Commanding Officers and instructors who have worked hard to educate and train you with the leadership skill and also life skill that will make the best that you can be under any circumstances.