US-Singapore Relations, 1965-1975: Strategic Non-alignment in the Cold War

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By Daniel Wei Boon Chua

At the height of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, the foreign relations between the United States and Singapore demonstrated the interplay between America’s strategy of containment and Singapore’s efforts at a non-aligned foreign policy. But there is a deeper story. American involvement in the Vietnam War not only held back the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, but also catalysed economic and strategic cooperation between the United States and Singapore. The author argues that Singapore might not have achieved its success so rapidly without the support of the US.

As the war in Vietnam raged on, Singapore became a critical refueling point, also providing ship and aircraft repair for the US military. Commercial and strategic support from the United States lifted Singapore out of the economic doom predicted for the city-state after secession from Malaysia, cessation of Indonesian trade during Konfrontasi and Britain’s military withdrawal. By considering the importance of the US’s role in Singapore’s nation-building, this book provides an important supplement to the well-trodden narrative that attributes Singapore’s success to good governance.

 

“An important addition to the new Cold War history in Southeast Asia. Daniel Chua illuminates the delicate dance between Singaporean principles and American strategic objectives. He charts the story of how the two countries struck a medium between risk and opportunity: “intimacy at arm's length”. The story is one where respective national interests collided as much as they coincided. Richly detailed, finely balanced, and drawing on a wealth of new archival material, this work will appeal to scholars in the US, UK as well as the region. An impressive achievement.” – James Curran, Professor of History, University of Sydney


Daniel Chua is assistant professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


Publication Year: 2017
304 pages, 229mm x 152mm
Paperback
ISBN: 978-981-4722-32-2


NUS Press