The pragmatic ‘little red dot’: Singapore’s US hedge against China

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Abstract

The cornerstones of Singaporean foreign policy towards the United States and China are constituted by security considerations, economic liberalism and a dedication to pragmatic non-alignment. Above all, pragmatism has led the Singaporean approach to the Eastern and Western powers. Diplomatically, Singapore aims to be neutral and free from alliances, even in its close relations with both the US and China. Security-wise, Singapore has called for the involvement of the US in Asia Pacific across the Cold War and Post-Cold War periods as a hedge to local regional powers, particularly in light of China’s military modernisation. Access to the large American consumer market has been considered crucial to Singapore’s economic ‘miracle’ but the American share of trade has declined in recent years as trade with Asian partners, and particularly with China, has accelerated. Singapore maximises economic opportunities through growing market ties with China, while avoiding bandwagoning. Singapore hedges its cultural, spatial and economic proximity to China with robust diplomatic, military and economic relations with the US and through regional participation in ASEAN and international organisations. By doing so, Singapore pursues its grand desire to remain uniquely Singaporean.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalLSE IDEAS
Volume15
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Singapore, China, United States, Foreign Policy, Security

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