Is Southeast Asia on the cusp of a US-China war?

My colleague, Collin Koh, wrote this recently. The tantalising sub-title, "Is was the endgame in the South China Sea?", is more provocative than the article's argument, actually. Collin's assessment is rather more positive. He accepts that strategic distrust between the US and China will not dissipate overnight, and that "an unfortunate mishap arising from inadvertent … Continue reading Is Southeast Asia on the cusp of a US-China war?

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Can Taiwan defeat China? Yes, but its complicated

Over the last year, there has been increasing talk about the prospect of a war between China and Taiwan. In December 2017, Chinese officials were issuing warnings that the day that any US navy ship visits Taiwan will be “the day that our People’s Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force.” In January 2018, the South … Continue reading Can Taiwan defeat China? Yes, but its complicated

Should (or Can) Singapore Go to War with Malaysia over Water?

Spoiler alert: It shouldn't, and it can't. This topic came up because, two weeks ago, a colleague came up to me and asked, "If we were to go to war with Malaysia now, will we win it?" The return of Mahatir and the water issue was something I wrote about recently. And my response to … Continue reading Should (or Can) Singapore Go to War with Malaysia over Water?

Ben Davis and the Discourse of National Security and National Service

If you're a Singaporean, you will be familiar with Ben Davis, the Singapore-born footballer who now has his own Wikipedia page! What is interesting is that this issue illustrates certain aspects of how Singapore's national security is conceived - both by policy makers as well as members of the electorate. The Official and Semi-Official Discourses … Continue reading Ben Davis and the Discourse of National Security and National Service

The Return of Mahatir and Politics of Water in Singapore-Malaysia Relations

Mahatir was Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003, when he stepped down. Of course, Mahatir today IS the Prime Minister again, thanks to his victory in the May 2018 General Elections. But why is this an issue of focus? Simple: because of simplistic thinking coming out in reaction to his recent comments about … Continue reading The Return of Mahatir and Politics of Water in Singapore-Malaysia Relations

How to not understand a country’s military modernisation

Coming from The National Interest no less! There is nothing inherently wrong with the individual points that the author makes. The author is correct in highlighting the emphasis on maritime and air capabilities in Malaysia's current military modernisation programmes - the littoral combat vessels (based on the French Gowind corvette), for instance, the upgraded Kedah-class … Continue reading How to not understand a country’s military modernisation

Stasis and Hypocrisy in Singapore’s Security Discourse

The blog that inspired this post is relatively old - it was dated 28 July 2017 - but the former high-ranking national security official, from whom I came to know of this - only recently shared it in his social media account. As the title indicates, my reactions can be summarised in stasis and hypocrisy. … Continue reading Stasis and Hypocrisy in Singapore’s Security Discourse