President Worries About Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia?Nearing the 100-day mark as president of Indonesia, Megawati Sukarnoputri warned Sunday that the world’s fourth most populous nation is in danger of breaking up.

“If [violence] continues, we will split into lots of small races, into lots of small countries, all of which will be weak in the face of outside forces,” Megawati said at a ceremony commemorating the birth of Indonesia’s nationalist movement in 1928.

“We will become the Balkans of the East,” she said.

The president passes the 100-day milestone on Tuesday. Despite Sunday’s warning, she is increasingly accused of doing little to defuse multiple ethnic and religious conflicts.

Analysts say Megawati’s vague appeals for rival groups to end hostilities by simply working together indicate she underestimates the political complexities facing the vast archipelago.