Good riddance to Suharto, an “anti-Communist” Cold War cant in the same vein as Mobutu, Marcos, the Duvaliers, assorted Latin American despots, the successive leaders of apartheid South Africa, and that last’s protected Ian Smith. There were real heroes of that struggle. Suharto was not one of them.
And how poignant that he should die on or about Australia Day, since for so very long he fleeced the Australian people on the pretext that he was preventing the emergence of a Marxist enclave on Australia’s doorstep, even though there were in fact plenty of Marxist enclaves on Australia’s very soil at the time.
As the late New South Wales Senator John Wheeldon, a doughty fighter for East Timor, put it, Suharto Finlandised Australia, compelling her to grovel to him just as Finland was made to grovel to the Soviet Union. But at least Soviet military expansion and activity was not financially dependent on Finnish taxpayers.