Recently returned from serving as U.S. Consul General in Surabaya, Robert Pollard discussed (in off-the-record remarks) Indonesia's transition to democracy and the problematic experiment of introducing pluralism at both the federal and local levels. During his tenure, his consulate—which covers Indonesia's eastern half—reported regularly on such issues as democracy, elections, internal security issues, and political Islam. He is thus uniquely qualified to offer an American perspective on Indonesia's opportunities and challenges.

Dr. Pollard joined the Foreign Service in 1984. In addition to Indonesia, he has served in Thailand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Austria. Next month, he will transfer to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he will be the Deputy Chief of Mission.