Small countries are worrying over Russia’s and China’s territorial grabs
SINGAPORE—By appearances, this tiny island nation has little to worry about—it is an economic and military powerhouse in which one in six citizens is a millionaire.
But leading Singaporeans are raising a substantial fear—of attack by one of their larger, less-affluent, and sometimes-angry neighbors. The concern is a potential contagion from events thousands of miles away in the South China Sea and Europe, where China and Russia are forcing their will and swallowing the territory of their own smaller neighbors.
“When we see something like Crimea, it sends shivers down our spine because you fear that someone can just come and take you over,” said Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings.
Military trouble for Singapore seems far-fetched. Its military is far stronger and more purposeful than those of its natural nearby rivals, Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore spends 20% of its government budget on its military, making any war improbable and, even if one happened, likely to be short-lived.
In a March speech to parliament, Singapore foreign minister K. Shanmugan said the lesson of Ukraine is that “international guarantees count for nothing. You have to be able to defend yourself.” That is easier said than done.
Bericht auf qz.com