Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Tommy Koh: Kausikan were you smart enough?

Did Bilahari Kauiskan ever anticipated the situation Qatar has found itself in recently? That was the question that kept circulating in my mind as I read Tommy Koh's article.

Prof Koh took pains to point out to what degree international law was adhered to in the termination of diplomatic relations and economic blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and a few other countries. It is helpful to read again how Prof Koh ended his story.

Kishore Mahbubani long range radar warns of possible break downs in the rule of law in international relations. Therefore the example of Qatar to Singapore is relevant. Prof Koh points out that prior assumptions and certainties suddently did not hold - the Americans did not come to defend Qatar and shockingly took the agressors' side instead.

Yes, unlike Qatar we invest heavily in our defence but please don't have the itchy fingers to use these assets because we have been foolish on the strategic and diplomatic fronts. Our military is not an insurance policy for careless diplomats to turn to but part of our overall diplomatic and security strategy.

Kausikan is very smart but only for an international order that may be going away. I hope it is only a brief hiatus and what are we doing and making sure that we succeed to help create a world system that is still rules based? On this matter we should be bold and bet the ranch because if the rules based global order collapses then our demise is only a matter of time. Go ahead and punch well above our weight.

Because Kausikan has been so candid and generous with his knowledge many including me have benefited much but I figure in this instance he is off the mark. Nevertheless I am sure he cannot missed the warning Chan Heng Chee gave about how skepticism then cynicism become accidental ideology unaware, which is always dangerous for Singapore. The only safe ideology for us is what works.

Update: 7:25 pm

I referred to Chan Heng Chee in the main post. Below is where I got it from her yesterday in the ST.

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