Handbook on the Politics of Small States
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Handbook on the Politics of Small States

Edited by Godfrey Baldacchino and Anders Wivel

Comprehensive and timely, this Handbook identifies the key characteristics, challenges and opportunities involved in the politics of small states across the globe today. Acknowledging the historical legacies behind these states, the chapters unpack the costs and benefits of different political models for small states.
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Chapter 19: Enlarging Singapores foreign policy: becoming intermediary for diplomacy, transportation and information

Alan Chong


As a small state aspiring to First World economic status, Singapore has adopted both conventional and unconventional strategies to achieving this, thus avoiding being completely constrained by the play of regional political and economic forces. The single overarching motivation behind the enlargement strategy is to serve the international community in exchange for the latter’s succour and other protections. One under-explored aspect of this strategy is the Republic’s intermediary functions for the international community of states in diplomacy, maritime and air transportation, and information flows. In diplomatic terms, Singapore pursues an omnidirectional posture of developing friendly ties, short of rigid alliances, with all states regardless of ideology and resource base. In terms of maritime and air transportation, Singapore inherited and augmented geographical and colonial advantages. In terms of information, the Republic hosts filmmaking post-production facilities for leading Western entertainment companies and offers itself as a base for global news reporting on Asia. Increasingly, the Republic is also hosting testbeds for the digital economy. In sum, this case study offers some lessons for small states attempting to succeed economically and strategically by exploiting globalization.

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