Indonesia has shown it can develop democracy and confront extremists on its own. Pakistan clearly needs sharp reminders.
When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Indonesia earlier this year, she said: "If you want to know whether Islam, democracy, modernity, and women's rights can coexist, go to Indonesia."
Indonesia and Pakistan, two non-Arab states, account for a quarter of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims. If democracy flourishes there, it could influence democracy's progress in other Muslim, but Arab, lands. American diplomacy toward Indonesia is quite different from its approach to Pakistan.
In the case of Indonesia, the tenor is dictated more by Indonesia than by the United States. In the era of Sukarno, the nation's first president after independence from the Dutch, Indonesia moved far to the left and cozied up to Communist China. An abortive coup, and a horrifying purge that took at least 200,000 lives, left the Indonesian Communist Party decimated and a searing memory upon the nation's psyche. Indonesia moved back to the political center, and amity with the West, but was determined not to be anyone's pawn.