Much welcomed as symbolising the fresh air of freedom when he assumed office, the new President of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid, already is running into political complaints at home. Not that he is there to hear them, and that is part of the problem. For good state reasons, Mr Wahid has spent most of his presidential days - once his cabinet was selected - visiting other countries. He has made quick trips to Japan, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North America, and will call in Beijing next week after concluding an Asean meeting in Manila. Each of these visits has an important purpose. The president wants to improve ties with nations of shared interests, whether distant Islamic societies, nearby neighbours, foreign investors or regional powers. Each of them wants to hear directly how he plans to maintain political stability and nurture economic growth. However, domestic problems don't take holidays just because the president has gone abroad. The festering separatist movement in Aceh, strife in Ambon and the troubles of East Timor are still there, still unresolved and in some ways worse than a few weeks ago. One newly-minted cabinet member already has resigned amidst charges of past corruption, and two others may follow. Crucial relationships between politicians and generals have not been sorted out. Without President Wahid there to lead, not much can be settled. This has not been lost on other politicians. Amien Rais, the ambitious speaker of the national assembly who had hoped to become president, has called on Mr Wahid to stop travelling until 'the situation at home [is] stable'. For example, efforts by lower-ranking officials to negotiate peace in Aceh are floundering; they have called a meeting but so far Aceh representatives say they won't attend. Nothing irreparable has happened. Mr Wahid's ascension to high office is still considered the best of all feasible outcomes. With his great moral influence and folksy manner, the chief executive known to all as Gus Dur may yet persuade the Aceh rebels to settle down, the generals to accept orders from civilians and businessmen to bring home their offshore billions. However, making any of this happen will be extremely difficult if the president is on another aircraft heading somewhere else.