Monday, October 10, 2016

The Fate (or Fallacy) of Melos


Jokowi: Sharp End of the Tightrope

Like it or not, in the new normal, Sino-Singapore relations will need to withstand the stress and pressure of being caught between a superpower and an aspiring one. The Thucydides’ Trap often ensnarls many smaller players.
Peh Shing Huei on how the South China Sea is just one factor in the changing relationship between Singapore and China (link)

A more accurate representation of Sino-American relations in the Asia-Pacific would be a triptych: Asian countries refusing to make stark choices between the two great powers; a calculation that US power will not wane, let alone be withdrawn from the region; and the earnest hope that the two powers can reach a working accommodation ...
William Choong outlines why the time for ASEAN to choose sides hasn't yet - and hopefully won't - arrive (link)

"We can see some countries taking actions that effectively reveal their consistent positions and others are being much more deferential to China, rolling over and waiting for a tummy rub from Beijing."
Ian Storey, quoted by Reuters, on how Indonesia is doing the former (link)

As for Singapore, this is not the first time that its principled foreign policy has required it to stand up to pressure from larger countries. In the past, it has withstood various forms of pressure from not only China, but also Indonesia, Malaysia and even on occasion the US. As a potentially vulnerable small state, it would be dangerous for Singapore to accept that any other country has the right to act as its “big brother”.
Tim Huxley and Alexander Neill in the SCMP (link)

The president says he wants an “independent foreign policy” where ties with the US will be limited while heightened relations with Russia and China will be pursued. Former national security adviser Joe Almonte whom I consider to have a good grasp of our strategic foreign policy unequivocally advises that as an independent nation, we should maintain friendship with old allies, yet still be friends with other nations even if they are enemies of our allies. Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario totally agrees that “you try to get as many friends as possible.” In short, it’s not a zero-sum game.
Babe Romualdez: Hey Rody, You're Doing it Wrong (link)


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