Welcome to DefenceTalk.com Forum!

By registering with us, you'll be able to discuss, share and private message with other members of our community.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The best strategy to defending Singapore Island

Discussion in 'Strategy & Tactics' started by Twister, Dec 31, 2008.

Share This Page

  1. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,318
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Singapore
    Firn, as usual, thank you for the interesting responses.

    I would be equally happy if we could just say the looking back from the present, Clauswitz is "unable to satisfy the rigour of analytical philosophy or modern scientific methodology and ends up with a work in which is far from scientific in a modern sense."

    Do you need the concept of a 'post-modern' point of view? This concept is subject to some academic debate. Further, my understanding of the idea of a 'post-modern' point of view is not what you have described. I don't really want to debate the idea of what is 'post-modern' if it is not essential to the point you are driving at. ;)

    If I may, I would like to qualify your basis of analysis further on 2 minor points for your consideration:

    (i) Singapore has over 3 million citizens and close to 1 million PRs or professionals on employment passes working in Singapore. We have a very low reproduction rate, such that, population growth has been achieved by net immigration. So our natural talent pool available for defence is small and we work on the long term assumption of a declining birth rate.

    (ii) Singapore has a self imposed cap on defence spending at 6% of our GDP and historically we have spent around 5% of our GDP on defence. Fortune has favoured our economy since independence, which has allowed our defence spending to enjoy constant real growth, especially from the 1980s onwards. From a planning perspective, in the late 1960s and the 1970s, we initially did not expect to outspend our neighbours in defence matters - outspending our neighbours in defence is a phenomenon that is only self evident after the 1997 Asian economic crisis.

    I am reading with interest and I await further posts from you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  2. Firn

    Firn New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    648
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree that the term post-modern is a best confusing and that is far better to state simply that from a present point of view his work doesn't meet the "present" criterias of the social sciences.

    The first minor point addresses an error of mine, as I wrote 4 million citizien instead of resident. The second minor one excaberates in conjunction with the key characterstic of a very shallow available and relative pool of manpower.

    The point on the percentage spent on defense is a very enlighting one.


    A Grand Strategy for Singapore


    Given the inherent complexity of the geopolitical landscape of SE-Asia this can only be very limited, very sketchy and perishable interpretation of what a effective grand strategy of Singapore might look like.



    The key characteristics of Singapore are:

    - wealthy, indipendent city-state with a population of roughly 4 mill. residents
    - heavily urbanized tiny peninsular/island
    - key economic and financial hub of SE-Asia and of the international trade



    The strategic dimensions


    This inherent characteristics combined with those of neighbouring nations shape the strategic dimensions of the state:

    a) a general lack of strategic depth, absolute and relative to its immediate neighbours
    b) an easily disruptable economy with immediate dire consequences
    c) a relative shallow pool of directly available manpower and ressources
    d) a relative high wealth and a high education and technological level
    e) a stabile democracy and a efficient state

    Note: To a certain extent the position of Athen, especially in the Poleponnesian Wars showed similar characteristics.

    I will analyse the points one by one:


    a) The relative strategic depth

    The strategic depth is overall shallow but varies according to the origin and form of the threat considerably. I use the word strategic depth in a broad way to analyse/describe to which degree the geopolitical scape influences the ability of an external state/actor to achieve a decisive victory.

    (I) Against Malaysia the SD on land is very, very limited. The channel offers an excellent defensive line though. Every inch of Singapore's territory is in possible artillery and SAM reach. However even while Malaysia has far greater SD it's ability to supply itself over land with the ressources needed for war are very limited and depend on Thailand.

    Same goes for the SD of air and sea against the main peninsula, while it is good against the Malayisan part situated on the island. Malaysia is unable to sustain war with its domestic production and ressources expect food and water and trades over the sea. All this routes and the necessary facilities of trade might be endangered by a superior navy and airforce.

    (II) SD against Indonesia

    (III) SD against the PRC

    (IV) SD



    b) An easily disruptable economy

    The deep reliance on external trade for the most basic of goods and for comparable wealth of the city-state of Singapore combined with the shallow strategic depth make it potentially very suscitable to an external attempts to disrupt,severe or block this flow by sea, land and air. The means to do so are many and far from only achievable with military forms.

    However the importance of state as a trade hub and its strategic position increase also the importance of its peaceful existence in the eyes of those interested in free, open and undisturbed trade, transforming this intrinisc weakness into an important pillar of strenght. Out of necessity political, economical and military support are indirectly or directly even present at times of peace. It is quite probable that an external aggressor might have to face the economic and/or military power of various other actors of this region, among those the USA.

    c) A shallow pool of manpower

    The low number of citizien and the low reproduction make the available pool of manpower very shallow relative to most states in the region. A conflict relative close to the ideal of an absolute war against the most states in the region is unwinnable in the long run.

    d) A high level of education and technological know-how


    This allows Singapore to operate (and partly to develop) cutting-edge military hardware in an efficient and effective way and to integrate conscripts/reservists even into demanding roles with relative ease and speed-
    It creates also closer bonds with regional and international partners due to habitual cooperation.

    e) A efficient democracy


    A highly functional and efficient state is able to manage complex tasks and concentrate his forces on objects of his choosing. This holds true for the entire spectrum of services offered by the state to his citizien and residents.


    Synthesis - A tentative approach of an grand strategy


    So how could one look like?

    The Politik of the Grand Strategy


    The deep non-aligned military, political and economical cooperation with both "solid" and cooperation in differing forms with "difficult" partners.


    (i) Making Singpore irreplacable for the wider net of "solid" partners and "difficult" partners alike. This means strenghening the already existing and mentioned strenghts of this state. A "neutral" fabric which keeps the web of commerce and finance togheter might be for some an attractive prize to win, but it is also for many more a terrible knot to loose. This investments may be the most fruitful and efficient in the long term.


    (ii) Inform international partners about the importance of the sorrounding tradeflow in general and of city-state in spefic and try to influence the perceptions of their institutions and policy-makers. This can be done in a great many ways and is IMHO a very cost-effective way to vastly increase the "strategic depth" of the state.


    (iii) Cooperate closely with the regional partners to increase the security of the tradeflow and the economic and political freedom. There will be much friction and disaccord as Singapore is widely seen as the great profiteer, but it must be undertaken to decrease the chances of low-level and limited attemps to harass and disrupt the lifelines of Singapore.


    (iv) Inform and influence the perceptions of the surrounding populations and decision makers in your favor by acting as a helping hand in times of crisis for te former and by offering excellent non-binding treatment to the latter



    The Military in the Grand Strategy



    b) A solid military force with the capability to dominate/negate the vital sea lanes and airspace and to defeat immediate threads with rapidly mobilized and modern joint armed forces

    (i) A large number of military trained citiziens which can be integrated in times of crisis rapidly to form a relative large and effecitve fighting force. This allows for the effective concentration of force in time and space to defend the small territory of Singapore, see Clausewitz (Chapter 8, Superiority in numbers):

    "Much more frequently the relative superiority—that is, the skilful assemblage of superior forces at the decisive point—has its foundation in the right appreciation of those points, in the judicious direction which by that means has been given to the forces from the very first, and in the resolution required to sacrifice the unimportant to the advantage of the important—that is, to keep the forces concentrated in an overpowering mass. In this, Frederick the Great and Buonaparte are particularly characteristic." 1


    (ii) Relative limited manpower and relative high wealth mean that the armed forces will have to rely to a great extent on expensive technology, organisation and training to achieve an efficient military force. A high amount of the "Vernichtungsprinzip" (firepower) in combination with the "Bewegungsprizip" (mobility) has all major conflict been able to ease the need for manpower up to a certain extent.Modern, highly mechanized and networked armed forces with overwhelming firepower are even with relative few men fearsome opponents. This raises the stakes greatly for any potential invader. 2


    (iii) A powerful navy and a powerful airforce are able to greatly harrass, disrupt and block the ability of opposing states to operate efficiently, more so in the spefic geopolitical environment of SE Asia. The great importance of trade for the funcition of almost any industrial or even semi-industrial nation is well known. A large number of relative soft targets is needed to allow a modern economy to operate and to sustain the war effort.


    (iv) A powerful navy and airforce are also capable to make an sustainable invasion by almost all nations almost impossible and keep the trade routes, the lifelines of Singapore under most conditions open. They are also able to assist the armed forces in limited and rapid offensive actions.


    (v) The ability to deliver "surgical" strikes on a large scale and to defend itself against sustained air,land and sea attacks by firepower is of great political importance in a limited conflict as it may allow Singapore to contain limited attacks by external forces without being forced to large land offensives. This is especially important because the all of the tiny surface of the island might be under some condition in artillery or bombing range. A effective, yet limited response increases the chances of goodwill and support by parters and allies.


    Notes:

    1. It is of course only a part of the whole, even if a very important one. He continues:

    "We think we have now allotted to the superiority in numbers the importance which belongs to it; it is to be regarded as the fundamental idea, always to be aimed at before all and as far as possible.

    But to regard it on this account as a necessary condition of victory, would be a complete misconception of our exposition; in the conclusion to be drawn from it there lies much rather nothing more than the value which should attach to numerical strength in the combat. If that strength is made as great as possible, then the maxim is satisfied; a review of the total relations must then decide whether or not the combat is to be avoided for want of sufficient force."


    2. See also the following, the concept of which is IMHO timeless (Book V, The relation of the three arms) "Now, if the combination of the three gives the greatest strength, it is natural to inquire what is the best absolute proportion of each, but that is a question which it is almost impossible to answer.

    If we could form a comparative estimate of the cost of organising in the first instance, and then provisioning and maintaining each of the three arms, and then again of the relative amount of service rendered by each in war, we should obtain a definite result which would give the best proportion in the abstract. But this is little more than a play of the imagination. The very first term in the comparison is difficult to determine, that is to say, one of the factors, the cost in money, is not difficult to find; but another, the value of men's lives, is a computation which no one would readily try to solve by figures.

    Also the circumstance that each of the three arms chiefly depends on a different element of strength in the state—Infantry on the number of the male population, cavalry on the number of horses, artillery on available financial means—introduces into the calculation some heterogeneous conditions, the overruling influence of which may be plainly observed in the great outlines of the history of different people at various periods.

    As, however, for other reasons we cannot altogether dispense with some standard of comparison, therefore, in place of the whole of the first term of the comparison we must take only that one of its factors which can be ascertained, namely, the cost in money. Now on this point it is sufficient for our purpose to assume that, in general, a squadron of 150 horsemen, a battalion of infantry 800 strong, a battery of artillery consisting of 8 six-pounders, cost nearly the same, both as respects the expense of formation and of maintenance.
    "

    Form the same chapter:

    "On the other hand, the nature of a war may have a notable influence on the proportions of the three arms.

    First, a national war, kept up by militia and a general levy (Landsturm), must naturally bring into the field a very numerous infantry; for in such wars there is a greater want of the means of equipment than of men, and as the equipment consequently is confined to what is indisputably necessary, we may easily imagine, that for every battery of eight pieces, not only one, but two or three battalions might be raised.

    Second, if a weak state opposed to a powerful one cannot take refuge in a general call of the male population to regular military service, or in a militia system resembling it, then the increase of its artillery is certainly the shortest way of bringing up its weak army nearer to an equality with that of the enemy, for it saves men, and intensifies the essential principle of military force, that is, the destructive principle. Any way, such a state will mostly be confined to a limited theatre, and therefore this arm will be better suited to it. Frederick the Great adopted this means in the later period of the Seven Years' War."


    @OPSSG: I would once again welcome your criticism.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  3. Firn

    Firn New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    648
    Likes Received:
    0
    I will perhaps modify the post further, best if with some input of experienced members.
     
  4. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,318
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Singapore
    Save for minor modifications or specific comments below in 'blue', I broadly agree with your attempt to analyse the vulnerabilities.

    See my comments below on each point and I hope you will find my comments helpful.

    In the discussion on strategic depth, I would simply say that:
    Singapore, in physical terms lacks strategic depth viz a viz our immediate neighbours (like Malaysia and Indonesia). Given our small size and population, our country would be logically seen as vulnerable and difficult to defend from a military perspective. ​

    I broadly agree with your idea but would bring across essentially the same point in a simpler manner:

    b) The Singapore economy is dependent on International Trade

    Singapore as a city state is not self sufficient in the production of food, energy and raw materials. Given that Singapore is entirely dependent on trade, any disruption in trade flowing through the region would have an adverse effect on Singapore, Singaporeans and our economy. However, given Singapore's geo-strategic importance, external powers would likewise be concerned with any disruption in the trade passing through the region. Singapore has chosen to align her commercial interests with that of the external powers (like the Australia, Japan, US and even China), such that any unilateral attempt by any immediate neighbour to disrupt trade would be viewed unfavourably by the external powers.​

    Delete the last line in 'blue' and insert the following:

    If Singapore is drawn into a conflict of attrition with any of our bigger immediate neighbours, such a conflict would not be viewed as conventionally winnable.​

    Agreed.

    I believe the modified text above is a more accurate description of Singapore and our government.

    I make no comments here.

    Save for minor addition in 'blue' above, I make no further comments.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  5. Firn

    Firn New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    648
    Likes Received:
    0
    I edited my post due to the changes OPSSG proposed.


    A sketchy Grand Strategy for Singapore




    The strategic properties

    The key characteristics of Singapore are:

    - wealthy, interdependent city-state with a population of roughly 4 mill. residents
    - heavily urbanized island
    - key economic and financial hub of SE-Asia and of the international trade



    The strategic dimensions

    This inherent characteristics combined with those of neighbouring nations shape the strategic dimensions of the state:

    a) a general lack of strategic depth, absolute and relative to its immediate neighbours
    b) an easily disruptable economy with immediate dire consequences
    c) a relative shallow pool of directly available manpower and resources
    d) a relative high wealth and a high education and technological level
    e) a stable democracy and an efficient state

    Note: To a certain extent the position of Athen, especially in the Poleponnesian Wars showed similar characteristics.



    a) General lack of Strategic depth

    Singapore, in physical terms lacks strategic depth viz a viz our immediate neighbours (like Malaysia and Indonesia). Given our small size and population, our country would be logically seen as vulnerable and difficult to defend from a military perspective



    b) An easily disruptable economy

    The deep reliance on external trade for the most basic of goods and for comparable wealth of the city-state of Singapore combined with the shallow strategic depth make it potentially very susceptible to an external attempts to disrupt,severe or block this flow by sea, land and air. The means to do so are many and far from only achievable with military forms.

    However the importance of state as a trade hub and its strategic position increase also the importance of its peaceful existence in the eyes of those interested in free, open and undisturbed trade, transforming this intrinsic weakness into an important pillar of strength. Out of necessity political, economical and military support are indirectly or directly even present at times of peace. It is quite probable that an external aggressor might have to face the economic and/or military power of various other actors of this region, among those the USA.



    c) A limited pool of manpower


    The low number of citizen and the low reproduction make the available pool of manpower very limited [delete:shallow] relative to most states in the region.



    d) A high level of education and technological know-how


    This allows Singapore to operate (and partly to develop) cutting-edge military hardware in an efficient and effective way and to integrate conscripts/reservists even into demanding roles with relative ease and speed-
    It creates also closer bonds with regional and international partners due to habitual cooperation. A conflict relative close to the ideal of an absolute war against the most states in the region is unwindable in the long run.



    e) Singapore is a capable state with a capable government


    A highly functional and efficient state is able to manage complex tasks and concentrate his forces on objects of his choosing. This holds true for the entire spectrum of services offered by the state to his citizen and residents.



    The Politik of the Grand Strategy


    The deep non-aligned military, political and economical cooperation with both "solid" and cooperation in differing forms with "difficult" partners.



    (i) Making Singapore irreplaceable


    Do so for the wider net of "solid" partners and "difficult" partners alike. This means strengthening the already existing and mentioned strengths of this state. A "neutral" fabric which keeps the web of commerce and finance together might be for some an attractive prize to win, but it is also for many more a terrible knot to loose. This investments may be the most fruitful and efficient in the long term.



    (ii) Spread the word


    Inform international partners about the importance of the surrounding trade flow in general and of city-state in specific and try to influence the perceptions of their institutions and policy-makers. This can be done in a great many ways and is IMHO a very cost-effective way to vastly increase the "strategic depth" of the state.



    (iii) Cooperate and help regionally

    Cooperate closely with the regional partners to increase the security of the tradeflow and the economic and political freedom. There will be much friction and disaccord as Singapore is widely seen as the great profiteer, but it must be undertaken to decrease the chances of low-level and limited attempts to harass and disrupt the lifelines of Singapore.


    (iv) Inform and influence people and nations

    Shape the perceptions of the surrounding populations and decision makers in your favor by acting as a helping hand in times of crisis for the former and by offering excellent non-binding treatment to the latter



    The Military in the Grand Strategy


    A solid military force with the capability to dominate/negate the vital sea lanes and airspace and to defeat immediate threads with rapidly mobilized and modern joint armed forces is a pillar in the grand strategy.



    (i) Welltrained and Organized citizien-soldiers


    A large number of military trained citizens which can be integrated in times of crisis rapidly to form a relative large and effective fighting force (but this force is untested in war). This allows for the effective concentration of force in time and space to defend the small territory of Singapore, see Clausewitz (Chapter 8, Superiority in numbers):



    (ii) Networked Hightech - capable Soldiers

    Relative limited manpower and relative high wealth mean that the armed forces will have to rely to a great extent on expensive technology, organisation and training to achieve an efficient military force. A high amount of the "Vernichtungsprinzip" (firepower) in combination with the "Bewegungsprizip" (mobility) has all major conflict been able to ease the need for manpower up to a certain extent.Modern, highly mechanized and networked armed forces with overwhelming firepower are even with relative few men fearsome opponents. This raises the stakes greatly for any potential invader. 2



    (iii) Keep the lifelines open


    A powerful navy and a powerful airforce are able to greatly harrass, disrupt and block the ability of opposing states to operate efficiently, more so in the spefic geopolitical environment of SE Asia. The great importance of trade for the funcition of almost any industrial or even semi-industrial nation is well known. A large number of relative soft targets is needed to allow a modern economy to operate and to sustain the war effort.



    (iv) Deny invasions by Sea and Air


    A powerful navy and airforce are also capable to make an sustainable invasion by almost all nations almost impossible and keep the trade routes, the lifelines of Singapore under most conditions open. They are also able to assist the armed forces in limited and rapid offensive actions.



    (v) Precise and Effective Firepower


    The ability to deliver "surgical" strikes on a large scale and to defend itself against sustained air,land and sea attacks by firepower is of great political importance in a limited conflict as it may allow Singapore to contain limited attacks by external forces without being forced to large land offensives. This is especially important because the all of the tiny surface of the island might be under some condition in artillery or bombing range. A effective, yet limited response increases the chances of goodwill and support by partners and allies.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
  6. Firn

    Firn New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    648
    Likes Received:
    0
    After having written "A sketchy Grand Strategy for Singapore" I also understand why Israeli were considered to be the best trainers and advisers for the creation of the armed forces of Singapore. :D
     
  7. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,318
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Singapore
    Territorial disputes between neighbouring countries like Vietnam and China, if mishandled can lead to armed conflict. In this case, Vietnam shares a 1,400 km land border with China and both parties signed a bilateral land-border treaty (LBT). On 1 Jan 2009, both parties signed an aide memoir on the completion of the land border demarcation, which has significantly reduced the chance of armed conflict between Vietnam and China over their joint land border. RSIS has issued a working paper on 'The Implementation of Vietnam-China Land Border Treaty: Bilateral and Regional Implications' and I have enclosed the link if for those are interested in China-ASEAN developments.
     
  8. Firn

    Firn New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    648
    Likes Received:
    0
    I gave it a quick look, perhaps a more closer one will follow.

    Such territorial disputes are a constant source of uneasiness and may be like the rough surface of a matchbook in times of crisis. It seems that the treaty has smoothened it considerably.
     
  9. G00dEgg

    G00dEgg New Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not to challenge anyone's view in this very long and meaningful thread. My view is somehow different from most. (At least I think so.)

    To put is simple, Singapore is nothing but a piece of rock. If you going to look at the whole region (put singapore in the middle and draw a perfect circle of around 35 nautical miles.) If talking about the land available to be developed into something like singapore. We could put Johor, bintan, tebing tinggi and riau island in the radar. All it takes is determination.

    Can someone tell me honestly that if Singapore is really irreplaceable? My answer to this question is that Singapore is expensive to replace.

    I believe that the post Sketchy Grand Strategy is very comprehensive one and a good strategy. Which basicaly it is based on the fundamental of Total Defense.

    All the talking is based on the traditional warfare that all of us can remember from movies like saving private ryan. A full scale war like that can escalate. only if the following chain of event happens.

    1. North Korea carry on firing its satelites that normally fail to orbit and drop off the sea of korea and japan. With NK naval vessals carry on harassing South Koreas fishing vessals.
    2. Japan is increasingly irritated by the move and eventually decided to send some warships to check out on the activity of the lanuch. China is unhappy of such high performance naval vessel coming too close to China and suspect them of doing surveillance.
    3. Korea peninsula conflict is imminent as NK threaten to use untested and unproven Nuclear tech.
    4. US companies like Lockheed Martin will try to push Taiwan to buy expensive system by using the Korea conflict as an environment to justify the purchase. If Taiwan disagree, LM will make it a public matter.
    5. With such progression, the two carrier battle group will be activated to oversee the progress of the Korea peninsular and Taiwan's conflicy. China will view this as a chance to take Taiwan using military might when US military influence is at the weakest point.
    6. With no Carrier presence in SEA. Things will be interesting.

    Above senario will unlikely to happen but highly possible. Unlikely is because the Obama administration is trying hard to avoid this.

    So can we rely on the Americans on Singapore Defense issue? Well it had been pointed out in previous post that Singapore is not intending to do so.

    Conventional warfare is highly not possible in the next 20 years. With Malaysia thinking of biting Singapore. Thailand would start to react againest the South Thailand Muslim Radicals as Malaysia would be highly involved with the fight with Singapore. If Indonesia wants to join the fun will have a strong tug on the eastern side where Australia is. Australia will join the fun too from the Papua N.G side.

    No matter whose flag fly in the end. Singapore will perish for sure. Because a war torn Malaysia can slowly get back on its feet with its support from internal consumption and internal production. War Torn Indonesia could face problems like seperatist movement out of control. Still Indonesia would still be Indonesia.

    The best strategy for Singapore to survive is no doubt a strong Defense Force. It is important for Singapore to get ASEAN going with these few important factors.
    1. Build the foundation of the ASEAN economy to be inter reliant. We could build industries that are interreliant. For eg. Ship building, Ship protection
    - As I know that Malacca straits has characteristic that not all dry bulk could pass thru due to depth limits and such. We could have a Ship coy just to address this problem and create new limits for bigger ship to transverse this strait so that such trade can benefit all members
    2. We have to draft an ASEAN human rights standard into the constitution that is on par with the Western World. We need absolute determination to do this and once it is done actually we have no fear that burma and vietnam wouldn't comply. It is like EU dealing with eastern European pro soviet nations. If trading as ASEAN member is attractive enough burma problem could be solved.

    Bottomline. Singapore Survival is basically based on the whole Asia's military balace and stablility. Any Taiwan or Korea or Both conflict could jeopardise Singapore's survival. Our Military force is based on a model that no one can threaten us with Military might. And any Military might against us could worst case become a Mutally Assured Destruction with WMD and nuclear is not used.

    I wonder who will read this lengthy post of mine. . . . . :nutkick
     
  10. FutureTank

    FutureTank Banned Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,259
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Australia


    Singapore need not be attacked territorially, or even militarily to be attacked.
    Its value is primarily in its strategic position relevant to global trade networks. Blockading this position will affect a large number of global actors, but primarily China and Japan, but also India. However, breaking this blockade would require fixed wing air support, and neither Japan nor China currently possess this capability. On the other hand neither Malaysia nor Indonesia have the naval capability to conduct a naval blockade opposed by either Japan or China. So who does?

    India is the only state in the region that has the capability to conduct a naval blockade, and to oppose either Japan or China in relief of such a blockade. India can do so by blockading the Great Channel exit from the Andaman Sea without even having the need to challenge Malay or Indonesian navies, and forcing the Singaporean naval forces to negotiate operations through Malay or Indonesian territorial waters, a precarious political situation.

    Who has interest in the demise of Singapore? Only a state that sees itself as a potential replacement of Singapore. Neither Indonesia (in Ache), nor Malaysia or Thailand have the money to create such an infrastructural replacements. On the other hand India can make this infrastructure investment in the Andamans, and if it concludes some sort of agreement with China, a logistic hub can be created in Yangon to allow the entire trade lane to be moved from sea to land, bypassing Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and making Japan, South Korea and Vietnam and of course Taiwan dependent on the Chinese land route connected to Hong Kong and Shanghai. Strategically it would be a considerable economic shift in regional power positions, particularly from Chinese perspective, and would bring India as a far more relevant participant in the economics of South and East Asia than it is now.

    When the Chines start building high capacity high speed railway lines into Burma, and India announces expansion of the port facilities on the Andaman islands Singapore should consider the campaign to have begun. Until then there is no reason to worry about Singapore's "Grand Strategy" :)
     
  11. Wooki

    Wooki Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Messages:
    354
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    USA
    stick to models

    This is flat wrong.

    Singapore is important because it sits on the global trade"Mother" SLOC--- period. India and the Andamans sit on the same SLOC, so a "blockade" of that SLOC also destroys India and the Andaman's ability to take advantage of it. They feed off the same oxygen. Cut it off they both suffer.

    As to political difficulties in going through Indonesian waters; there are none as there is a thing called "free passage" in International law. Look it up, as it disqualifies your position.

    As to unloading a ship and railing it across country only to be reloaded in Hong Kong, so it can get to Japan (as that is where the SLOC goes) It is inefficient in the extreme and will never happen.

    The only place on the global mother SLOC (that circumnavigates the globe) where unloading; transit across land; and then reloading to continue on the journey is in the USA where cargo is unloaded at Longbeach and then reloaded at Newark for transit to Europe or the other way for transit to Japan.

    This rail link has to compete with the Panama Canal. It has only become competitive since Maersk bought our Sealand, but now there are plans to expand the Panama Canal and Oh, the Chinese (COSCO) have created a hub 50 miles offshore from Miami.

    In other words if you don't rail, you have two options:

    1. Panama Canal
    2. Drake's Passage

    In your scenario you have Selat Sunda and every other strait to Torres Strait that will out perform your high speed rail link to everywhere except the Western Chinese Provinces.

    Rail, even though it delivers at approx. 430 ton miles per Gallon, cannot compete against a 100Kton mother ship on a liner trade that delivers same cargo at approx. 3500 ton miles per gallon. In other words the ship can afford to sail around your "blockade" of Singapore.

    Therefore your premise is incorrect and your thought process ill informed.

    Let's talk about something you know about; For example: Making plastic models. I have a passing interest and I am sure you can make a better contribution to the DT community if you actually start discussing a topic that is within your skillset.

    cheers

    w
     
  12. FutureTank

    FutureTank Banned Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,259
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    It seems to me you misunderstood

    "Mother" SLOC? You forget how Singapore was created. It was created to allow European trade to reach Asia, and European, or British power to be projected in Asia. Singapore doesn't serve either role now, particularly so in the last decade at least.
    The "oxygen" you speak of used to be pumped in, and now it largely flows out.

    I was talking about warships going through Indonesian waters in time of war.

    Oh really? Its a lot easier to power trains with electricity derived from Chinese or Indian nuclear reactors than to have ships sailing around the Malay Peninsula and the coast of Vietnam.

    In case you had not noticed, the traffic is increasingly FROM China and India, so the transloading done in Singapore is often minimal. What Singapore does provide is administrative, technology support and logistic services to the vessels. There is also the refinery business. And of course Singapore is a significant exporter itself. However, mostly it is a competitor to China and India. A smaller competitor, but one none the less that provides an additional distraction to SE Asia where India used to be the economic core before the arrival of the British and other Europeans.
    China on the other hand is more interested in bringing Taiwan, South Korea and other East Asian states, maybe even Japan, into its sphere of economic power, as it was before European arrival.

    So explain why this rail link will compete with the Panama Canal? The PC was built in a different age.

    Surely you jest! Drake's Passage? Are you familiar with modern port technology? Containers can be offloaded onto rail and be off to Shanghai in a matter of 3-4 hours after vessel's arrival, moving overland that is largely independent of weather the vessels have to cope with. More important is the pressure this will place the other states in the region to cou-tau to China and India.

    I'll check your figures unless you would like to quote your sources.

    Your opinion...
     
  13. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,318
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Singapore
    G00dEgg, welcome to DT. You should take a moment to post an intro on your background, so that the other DT members can get to know you. If you are inclined to read more to further inform your posts, I would recommend 2 additional articles including:

    (i) a 2004 article called 'Straits, Passages and Chokepoints' by Jean-Paul Rodrigue on the topic of petroleum distribution; and

    (ii) a older article called 'Chokepoints: Martime Ec Concerns in SE Asia' by John Noer with David Gregory prepared for the US National Defense University / Institute for National Strategic Studies.

    These articles are recommended readings by a blogger called Eaglespeak.

    The Strait of Malacca supports the bulk of the maritime trade between Europe and Pacific Asia, which accounts for 50,000 ships each year. The strait is approximately 800 km long and between 50 to 320 km wide (2.5 km at its narrowest point) and has a minimum channel depth of 23 metres (roughly 70 feet). It is the longest strait in the world used for international navigation. Close to 30% of the world’s trade and 80% of petroleum imports to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan transit through the strait. As the main passage between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Malacca is an unavoidable bottleneck, with the Strait of Sunda (Indonesia) being the closest alternative.
     
  14. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,318
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Singapore
    The Little Red Dot

    1. The "Little Red Dot" is an epithet for the nation of Singapore that used to refer to Singapore in a disparaging manner by former Indonesian President B.J. Habibie. But has come to be used by Singaporean citizens with pride despite the country's limited size. And because Singapore resides in a region with larger and ambitious neighbours (with Indonesia and Malaysia being over 2,680 and 470 times bigger than Singapore, respectively) that can be suddenly hostile. Singaporeans understand that peace we enjoy must be defended. That is why the mission of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is to enhance Singapore's peace and security through deterrence and diplomacy, and should these fail, to secure a swift and decisive victory over the aggressor. As we say in Singapore, when life gives you lemons, Singaporeans strive to be the best lemonade supplier in the region.

    2. The opening sequence of the Normandy landing in movies like Steven Spielberg's 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan, encourage the layman to think of in terms of ‘old school’ or World War II versions of amphibious warfare (where troops storm the beaches in a hail of bullets and artillery fire) or in a force-able entry scenario for the US Marines. In contemporary amphibious warfare, sending Singaporean forces to storm ashore against heavily defended beaches with defensive beach obstacles and layered defences is a fools errant, as the SAF lacks this force-able entry capability. Rather, amphibious operations, conducted by the SAF, seek to exploit the element of surprise by applying the combat power, precisely at a location and time that is deemed advantageous by higher command.

    3. Amphibious ships provide Singapore with a basic capability to conduct raids, demonstrations and withdrawals from the sea, in lightly or unopposed landings from Endurance Class vessels stationed about 3 km to 8 km from shore. Given that 25% of beaches can take landing craft, 75% of coastlines are accessible by hovercraft and 95% can be accessed by small boats, the operational art of contemporary amphibious warfare prefer to land Singapore's forces on beaches in areas with little or no opposition. Therefore, Singapore's four Endurance Class vessels provide the SAF with a capability to conduct manoeuvre warfare in the littorals of the near abroad, in a synchronised manner while utilising its air and naval power to destroy or disrupt enemy C4I, lines of communications, and logistics. This capability enables the Singapore Army's combined arms divisions to be relevant and decisive in meeting a range of threats within Singapore's threat matrix.

    4. Singapore is a maritime nation and the Singapore Navy provides with a crucial capability to secure Singapore's Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs). SLOCs are crucial to a port city connected to the maritime commerce of all of the Indo-Pacific region (i.e. the Malacca and Singapore Straits). More than 3,000 vessels call Singapore every week. Dedicated intra-Asia services connect Singapore to many of the smaller ports, whereas the big vessels on the services from North America and Europe represent the main connections not only to the markets outside Asia; but also to all the major ports in Asia (i.e. Shanghai, Hong Kong, Busan, and Tokyo). To secure our SLOCs, the Singapore Navy has conducted a spectrum of operations that includes:-

    See this short video on how the Singapore Navy defends Singapore everyday as backgrounder : http://youtu.be/7LzwBEIFu_8

    (i) participating in an international search and recover operations for a missing airliner -- a frigate (with an organic sikorsky S-70B), a missile corvette and the MV Swift Rescue were deployed to assist in the search and locate operations in the South China Sea for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, which went missing on 8 March 2014 (until the Malaysians acting on new radar and satellite data, terminated the search in that area and relocated the search to other areas). In another unfortunate search and recover mission, on 14 January 2015, the Singapore Navy finds fuselage of crashed AirAsia jet flight QZ8501;

    (ii) conducting ongoing counter-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden under CTF-151, in Operation Blue Sapphire. Singaporean boarding teams from the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) have faced off with pirates and sank their attack skiffs in Operation Blue Sapphire (see: http://youtu.be/MpFPwXcENIE). In April 2016, Singapore Takes Over Command of Multinational Counter-Piracy Task Force for Fourth Time; and

    (iii) conducting disaster relief operations in the near abroad after the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004, in Operation Flying Eagle. RSS Endurance was the first foreign navy ship to re-establish a life-line to Meulaboh (a coastal town in West Sumatra that was previously completely cut off after the tsunami). Singapore's contributions to Indonesia included the deployment of three Endurance Class LPDs, eight CH-47 Chinooks and four Super Pumas, six C-130s, two F-50s, a mobile air traffic control tower (see this video: http://youtu.be/jnZVrs5Sjp4). Following from that experience, Singapore in 2014 stood-up the Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre. ​

    5. While the Singapore Army continues to train for jungle warfare and urban warfare, it must also adapt to the three megatrends identified by David Kilcullen, where he sees the future of warfare against non-state actors as urban, littoral and connected (see his 2012 article on: "The City as a System: Future Conflict and Urban Resilience"). The data suggest that this is the environment in which future conflict will occur. This is not a futuristic prediction, but rather a projection of trends that are evident now, and an assessment of their effects on cities as they exist today. The future is hybrid and irregular conflict combining elements of crime, urban unrest, insurgency, terrorism, and state-sponsored asymmetric warfare — more Mumbai in India, Mogadishu in Somalia, Zamboanga in Philippines, and Tivoli Gardens in Jamaica. The SAF understands that if they are to shape events on land, they need the ability to project power into the connected coastal urban areas (i.e. people using cell-phones for data access in coastal cities) and in the littoral domain surrounding growing ASEAN cities. Richard J. Norton's 2003 Naval War College article, "Feral Cities" has a concept that is useful. A “feral city” is defined by Dr. Norton as:-

    "A metropolis with a population of more than a million people in a state the government of which has lost the ability to maintain the rule of law within the city’s boundaries yet remains a functioning actor in the greater international system." ​

    6. In 2004 Singapore's defence budget was SGD8.6 billion and in 2013, it was SGD12.2 billion. In other words, defence spending has kept pace more or less with inflation and going forward that Singapore's defence spending to continue on this trajectory that more or less keeps pace with inflation, over the long term. According to IHS Janes' estimates, the RSAF receives 53% of the SAF's total procurement budget (with the navy and army receiving 26% and 19%).
    7. Speaking at the Committee of Supply or Budget Debate on 7 Apr, Dr Ng told Parliament that although there was no specific intelligence of any imminent plot against Singapore, intelligence agencies had indicated that almost all cities, including Singapore, were targets. But as today’s threats continue to evolve, so too must the SAF adapt, said Dr Ng. "Studying what happened in Paris, Jakarta, and Brussels, the SAF will enhance its incident response." Terrorism was a challenge that the Ministry of Defence and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) had identified a decade ago. We should also take note of the fact that Singapore's defence budget has increased, in response to an urgent need to recapitalise certain categories of ageing defence assets - such as the retirement or upcoming end of life of the following:

    (1) the last F-5 squadron (replaced with a 2nd squadron of F-15SGs) and lethality upgrades to the F-16C/Ds (with AESA radar and new weapons),
    (2) the 4 KC-135R (to be replaced with 6 A-330 MRTT),
    (3) the 40 Searcher UAVs (replaced with the Heron-1 and Hermes 450 UAVs),
    (4) the fleet of V-200s (replaced with the Protected Response Vehicle - Renault Higuard),
    (5) the older suite of air defence radars, including the FPS-117A (replaced by the ELM-2084 Multi Mission Radar, the existing Giraffe AMB, the 200 SHIKRA radar and the future Ticom 55 aerostat); which will provide a extremely high resolution air picture for Singapore's air defenders,
    (6) the older ground based air defence missiles, including the I-Hawk missiles (replaced with the Spyder air defence missile firing units and the ASTER 30),
    (7) new helicopters to replace the old fleets of Super Puma and some of the CH-47D Chinook helicopters,
    (8) old AEVs, ARVs and VLBs like the M728 AEVs (replaced with the AEV, known as the Pionierpanzer 3 Kodiak), the old ARVs (replaced with the Buffel Armoured Recovery Vehicle), and the old M60 based VLBs (replaced with the Biber Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge),
    (9) old land-rover vehicles (replaced with the Protected Combat Support Vehicle - URO VAMTAC and the Ford 550 ambulances),
    (10) older sat com 3 tonner (replaced with the MAN 5 Ton Very Small Aperture SAT Comm),
    (11) the 11 Fearless Class Vessels (to be replaced with 8 LMVs),
    (12) the last 2 Challenger Class submarines (to be replaced with 2 Type-218SGs),
    (13) the replacement for the AMX-13S1 and so on (too lazy to list further). ​
    8. Winston Churchill described the British defeat at Singapore in 1942 as 'The greatest disaster ever to befall British arms'. On 15 February 1942, the British Imperial garrison of Singapore, surrendered to a numerically smaller Japanese assault force. The British military intelligence officer Hughes-Wilson attributes the intelligence effort at Singapore as having four fatal flaws as follows:

    (i) underestimation of the enemy;

    (ii) fragmentation of effort;

    (iii) lack of resources; and

    (iv) no influence at the highest levels of command and control. ​

    9. Learning from the above past mistakes, Singapore understands that to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed. Good intelligence is of crucial importance to a small state, like Singapore. The security problems faced by Singapore go beyond the traditional need for intelligence on state actors from the past. Today's threats faced are multi-faceted, trans-national and complex. Singapore understands the need to have the ability to gather information to conduct counter-terrorism operations against both state and non-state actors. Singapore is not shy about learning from others, and as events unfold, someone in Singapore, is observing, gathering intelligence, acting on that intelligence, and learning from that incident.

    (i) To tackle the threat of ISIS at the source, the SAF has extended its deployment of an Imagery Analysis Team (IAT) in the Middle-East, Dr Ng announced. Last year, the SAF deployed a KC-135R tanker to support air-to-air refuelling operations, and an IAT as part of the multi-national coalition effort to combat ISIS. The IAT was tasked to monitor suspected terrorist facilities and activities to help the coalition in disrupting supply chains that feed networks in the region. Dr Ng noted that coalition commanders had commended the IAT's efforts, and asked the SAF to continue their deployment.

    (ii) The SAF is also stepping up intelligence-sharing with Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States, and Australia. This will provide early warning for Singapore, allowing authorities to apprehend terrorist suspects that intend to do the country harm.

    (iii) To strengthen practical cooperation, Singapore will co-organise the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise with Brunei, Australia and New Zealand in May 2016.

    (iv) To guard against cyber-attacks, the SAF will double the number of cyber defence personnel in the Cyber Defence Operations Hub by 2020, he announced. These cyber defence personnel will use more artificial intelligence and big data analytics to better detect and respond to cyber threats. The SAF will also shore up the security of its network and hardware, and build greater security design into software design. ​

    10. In any strategy for defending Singapore, we must embrace apparently contradictory notions (at least on the surface) - as we need to engage difficult partners and yet deter difficult partners at the same time. A sophisticated understanding of security strategy needs to deal with the idea of politik as it is used in the German tradition.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  15. Hashiva

    Hashiva New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2016
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Arizona
    Singapore is smaller in size but one of the moderanised country in world. The general felicities as well as army everything they are doing is of a good quality. You can see some positive growths of there army in Google news results.
     
  16. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,452
    Likes Received:
    539
    Location:
    In the rum store
    No one line posts.
     
  17. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,452
    Likes Received:
    539
    Location:
    In the rum store
    No more one line posts, or you will be sanctioned by the Moderators. You have already had one polite reminder.
     
  18. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    2,574
    Likes Received:
    555
    Location:
    Darwin NT Australia
    There was one strategy that failed miserably, 75 years ago today.

    Today we commemorate the capitulation of Singapore Island in 1942 when nearly 80,000 allied troops surrendered to a very much smaller Japanese force and entered into just over 31/2 years of miserable captivity from which many did not return.

    Not really OT but historically On topic. I'm sure that many of those mistakes and vulnerabilities have been studied and gamed by our modern successors.
     
  19. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,318
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Singapore
    Malaysia welcomes talks with Singapore on maritime dispute: Mahathir

    This is to be expected with Mahathir bin Mohamad as PM of Malaysia (after the parties worked out an alternative way to allow Malaysia to defer for 2 years the High Speed Rail Project for S$15 million). This is no longer 1991 and the same bag of tricks by a Malaysian politician for short term political gain should not and cannot be allowed to work again. We should not fall for the same tricks again - after all an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. It’s not a game of us vs them. Be calm, do the sensible and necessary. Thereafter, Singapore has to move forward with confidence.

    For background, on 25 Oct 2018, Malaysia issued Federal Government Gazette P.U. (B) 587 “Declaration of Alteration of Port Limits for Johore Bahru Port”. This unilaterally and arbitrarily extended the Johor Bahru Port Limits. Apart from the fact that Singapore has never accepted their territorial claims, the recent purported extension of the Johor Bahru Port Limits goes beyond what even Malaysia itself claimed as its territorial waters. Out of the blue, Malaysia is claiming these territorial waters that belong to Singapore. On 5 Nov 2018, Singapore issued a Third Person Note (TPN) via demarche. Singapore also issued a second TPN via demarche on 29 Nov 2018 to protest the Port Circular and Notice to Mariners.

    Airspace management over southern Johor also came into the spotlight on 4 Dec 2018, after Singapore and Malaysia traded conflicting views over the issue. Under the current arrangement, management of the airspace over southern Johor is delegated to Singapore, meaning that Singapore provides air traffic control services in that airspace. This arrangement was agreed upon in 1973 by Malaysia, Singapore and other regional states, and subsequently approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). A bilateral agreement was then signed between Malaysia and Singapore in 1974. As expected, Malaysia says it now wants to reclaim this "delegated airspace."

    This video shows Malaysia’s escalation via the unilateral deployment of non-military vessels off Tuas. This is provocative, as it is an attempt to new facts on the ground and do not set the right tone for Singapore-Malaysia relations, going forward.

    As I said above, it’s not a game of us vs them. Be calm, do the sensible to increase patrols and the necessary to protect our interests by filing diplomatic protests while showing resolve by conducting publicised mobilisation of our standby force.

    In any strategy for defending Singapore, we must embrace apparently contradictory notions (at least on the surface) - we need to engage Malaysia and yet deter Malaysia as a difficult partner at the same time. A sophisticated understanding of security strategy needs to deal with the idea of realpolitik. In realpolitik, the key consideration is given to present circumstances and local factors, rather than moral or ethical premises. While a war of attrition might not be an option against Malaysia in this case, Singapore can afford to slowly raise the stakes of their decision to seek confrontation in our port waters off Tuas, with our naval capability.

    Thankfully, over the last 27 years, Singapore's strategy of improving our military capabilities to respond across the spectrum have raised the stakes for any potential aggressor. In 2018 Singapore’s defence budget of SGD14.76 billion (US$11.2 billion) is almost double that of the Malaysian defense budget of US$5.68 billion, which is why they will seek to escalate via the grey zone. Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said on (Friday) 7 Dec 2018 that Malaysia had proposed to Singapore that both countries “cease and desist” from sending assets into what it called a “disputed area”is comical.

    - The clowns in the Malaysian government create the problem.

    - When Singapore agencies respond to defend our interests, they say that the solution to the problem Malaysia created in the first place is for Singapore to:

    (i) cease defending our interests; and

    (ii) accept responsibility for the problem the Malaysians created!

    Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said, also on (Saturday) 8 Dec 2018, that with the "risk of escalation cannot be underestimated" in the ongoing dispute. "The ground situation is tense. The ships are in close proximity with one another and we know that some ships are armed, so the risk of escalation cannot be underestimated. Accidents might happen,” he had said. “We urge all parties to revert to the pre-Oct 25 status quo ante for things to calm down. And there are ways to do this under international law without prejudice to Malaysia."
     
    ngatimozart likes this.
  20. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,318
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Singapore
    Geopolitics assumes two things: first, that human beings have a preference to be loyal to the people and the places they were born into; second, that the character of a nation is determined to a great extent by geography, as is the relationship between nations. The term "geography" includes the physical characteristics of a location, but it goes beyond that to look at the effects of a place on individuals and communities. These are the foundation of geopolitical forecasting.

    Opinion and reputation have little to do with national power. Whether the current Malaysian PM is loathed or admired is of some minor importance but the fundamentals of Malaysian power (or rather its lack of power) is overarching. Nor do passing events like disputes over port waters or air space have much to do with national power, no matter how significant they appear at that moment. The basic geometry of Malaysian weakness viz a viz it’s more powerful neighbours, like Indonesia, and Thailand does not change. While Singapore’s geopolitical potential may be limited, we are not in danger of fragmenting further unlike Malaysia, as a country of 2 unequal parts, split along the fault-line of East and West Malaysia. Have a look at the history books. Malaysia will always be weaker than Thailand. Si Rat Malai was the former administrative division of Thailand. It included the four northern states of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, and Terengganu in British Malaya annexed by the Axis-aligned Thai government after the Japanese invasion of Malaya.

    That is why Singaporeans, as their equals, should pity Malaysia, as their leading party in the ruling coalition (be it UMNO, Bersatu or Pakatan Harapan) are traditionally poor geopolitical chess players, rather than get angry at their antics. It is irrational of the Malaysians to seek a quarrel with Singapore as an equal at the negotiating table. It’s either a stalemate, as a best case or they lose out in private negotiations (and that is the most likely). But losing to Singapore in a military engagement is not the worse case scenario. The worse case scenario is further fragmentation of Malaysia - where the regions lose confidence in Dr M’s ability to lead (with Anwar due to take over the hot seat by May 2020). The 2013 Lahad Datu standoff from February to March 2013, is instructive of the need for Malaysia to defend and police Sabah from terrorist threats arising from the Philippines. A military conflict with Singapore will result in the loss of Malaysia’s ability to defend Sabah.

    As George Friedman noted, China, is most often mentioned as the challenger to the US. But if we look at matters from a geopolitical lens, we can understand China’s weakness. Read his analysis of China’s weakness to understand the Malaysian geopolitical dilemma (and not the Malay dilemma as wrongly framed by Dr. M). The Malaysians are 5 chess moves away from becoming a weak state (a step removed from being listed in the Fragile States Index). A fragile state has several attributes. Common indicators include a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption; involuntary movement of populations; and sharp economic decline.

    With the back to the future Dr M and his newly formed Bersatu party perpetuating the same race based entitlement politics (aka a variation of the Bumiputra policy) as its core ideology and method of mobilising political support, Malaysia’s accelerated and increased weakness for the next 20 years is assured. Dr M’s policies as UMNO party leader (when he was previously PM), from 1981 to 2003, failed Malaysia. The Dec 2018 quote below illustrates his back to the future mindset for his Bersatu party:

    “They (the Malays) want somebody to protect them... and they believe that only Malays can protect them so they want this party. If we (Bersatu) don't cater to them, we (Pakatan Harapan) will not get their support and we will always lose,” said Dr M in a media interview.

    IMO, unless the government in power is inclusive of the aspirations of all Malaysians, the same ‘80s back to the future approach the second time around to nation building (with the world’s oldest PM in power), is likewise doomed to failure.

    Singapore has 'alternative sources' for eggs: AVA says after Malaysia warns may limit exports

    Malaysia seafood export limits 'not likely to have significant impact' on Singapore supply: AVA [Channel NewAsia]

    Ultimately, due to Malaysian choices, trade between Singapore and Malaysia will not grow in a healthy manner. Singapore has had a food security plan since the 1980s and any reduction of trade in a specific area, like egges or seafood due to Malaysian choice will hurt Malaysia more.

    BTW, under the May 2018 agreement between Malaysia (with Pakatan Harapan in power) and Singapore (with the People’s Action Party in power), the express service of the high speed rail (HSR) is expected to start by 1 Jan 2031 instead of 31 Dec 2026. Malaysia will also have to pay abortive costs amounting to about S$15 million before the end of January 2019 for suspending the project. Additionally, if Malaysia does not proceed with the project by 31 May 2020, it will also bear the agreed costs incurred by Singapore in fulfilling the HSR Bilateral Agreement, according to a joint statement by both countries on the matter. Read more at KL-Singapore HSR: What you need to know
     
    Cadredave and t68 like this.