Singapore's Grand Strategy

$32.00 SGD

Ang Cheng Guan (author of NUS Press' Southeast Asia After the Cold War: A Contemporary History and Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict, 1978-1991)

Even small states can have grand strategies. Singapore, despite its poor natural resource endowment, small population and territory has often been described as punching above its weight in international affairs. Part of this stems from the way Singapore integrates the different diplomatic, political and defence-oriented tools at its disposal in a strategic manner. This is a fresh and useful diplomatic, defence, and security history of Singapore, from independence in 1965 through the 2020s period of strategic realignment. 

Most previous studies of grand strategy have focused on super- or at least middle powers, but Ang's book builds an important contribution to international relations and strategic studies in showing how the concept can help explain the strategic posture and achievements of small states as well. Moreover, he brings a historian's perspective to a subject usually tackled by political scientists. The result will be useful and important for scholars in these fields. The author's well-crafted retelling of the Singapore story from an external perspective will be compelling for more general audiences as well.

"This book offers a powerful account of the evolution of Singapore’s grand strategy, stretching from the 1960s to the 2000s. It shows that size does not limit the ability of states to develop a successful objectives-resources alignment. It will generate further inquiry into the conditions that drive small states' strategic competence." – Thierry Balzacq, Sciences Po, Center for International Studies, Paris

"This is a solid and insightful study of the fundamentals of Singapore’s foreign and defence policies, explained as an overarching Grand Strategy. Developed by three of Singapore’s most influential strategic thinkers--Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Keng Swee and S. Rajaratnam--the Singapore Grand Strategy, initially driven by the compulsions of a new and small state seeking to survive in a difficult neighbourhood, eventually evolved into a set of underlying principles consistently guiding the country’s international and defence posture since 1965. The core elements of the Grand Strategy are clearly explained in this carefully researched and well contextualised study." – Tan Tai Yong, Singapore University of Social Sciences


Ang Cheng Guan is Professor of the International History of Southeast Asia at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. 

Publication Year: 2023
208pp / 229 x 152mm
ISBN: 978-981-325-223-3