Diplomacy & Deterrence
Q1:‘Military deterrence plays a greater role than diplomacy in maintaining politicalstability.’ Do you agree? Explain your answer.Military deterrence involves the use of armed forces to deter any potential aggressor.
Singapore has adopted several deterrence strategies. The first is building a citizen armed forceso as to be militarily self-reliant and ready to fight off aggressors within a short time span.Secondly, Singapore has ensured that all civilians have a part to play in protecting their countrythrough Total Defence. Through this defence, any potential enemy who wants to attackSingapore will not only have to fight the SAF, but also take on all Singaporeans. This will makethe enemy realize that attacking Singapore would be a costly attempt which should be avoided.Thirdly, Singapore has built a defence industry which is responsible for building up the fightingcapabilities of the SAF and maintaining weapon systems and equipment in the best condition.This ensures that the SAF remains self-reliant in essential weapons and equipment and theperformance of the SAF is enhanced. Lastly, Singapore engages in military cooperation with thearmed forces of other countries due to shortage of suitable training areas. Military cooperationtakes the form of bilateral and multilateral defence exercises. Through this, the SAF will be ableto improve their combat skills as well as forge strong military ties with the other countries whichwill enhance Singapore’s security.
However, diplomacy involves forging relations with other countries to promote commoninterests and resolve conflicting interests in a peaceful manner.
Singapore practices threetypes of diplomatic relations – bilateral, regional and international. Since its independence in1965, Singapore has established
with many countries to serve its interests.Some of the benefits of its bilateral relations are new trading opportunities, transfer of technology and skills and the exchange of cultural ties with other countries. Singapore alsoextends a helping hand by providing humanitarian aid to developing countries in the event of crisis such as natural disasters. Secondly, Singapore joined ASEAN, a
.As a member of ASEAN, Singapore actively tries to maintain peace and prosperity in SoutheastAsia. For example, it has taken on a leadership role in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) whichallows ASEAN members to discuss important issues with other countries. Singapore alsoshares its technological knowledge and expertise with other ASEAN countries like Vietnam tohelp in their industrialization efforts. Finally, Singapore joined the UN, an
. It uses its UN membership to voice its opinions on world affairs and regularlysends in police, SAF and civil service officers on UN peacekeeping missions to variouscountries. Hence, by building close personal ties and extending goodwill with other countries,Singapore will be able to seek help from its friends in times of need. Additionally, if other countries benefit from Singapore’s help, then there is less chance of Singapore beingthreatened by them. The establishment of trade partnerships with numerous countries willminimize chances of conflict as both parties will have much to lose. It is in this way thatdiplomacy is able to maintain political stability.
Both diplomacy and deterrence are equally important because one factor cannot makedo without the other.
Both act as twin pillars of Singapore’ defence policy. Although diplomacypromotes greater cooperation and understanding between countries, it does not guarantee thatothers will naturally reciprocate these feelings. Therefore, deterrence strategies must be put inplace, not to threaten others, but rather to safeguard Singapore’s sovereignty in the event of anattack.