The Alignment of Small States: Singapore and Vietnam
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS
Pagination or Media Count:
Chinas economic growth and military modernization over the past decade presents a foreign policy challenge to Southeast Asia. The balance of power in Asia, so long dominated by the United States, is beginning a shift toward China. At the same time, China is growing more assertive toward its neighbors. This thesis seeks to explain how Singapore and Vietnam are reacting to this change. Using the existing literature and the historic example of Finlands policies in the last century, it presents alignment behavior as a negotiating process between states. These negotiations are both constrained and driven by realist concerns, existing institutions, and domestic politics, which affect the speed and the form that changing relationships and alignments take. Presented in this manner, this theory offers two distinct explanations for the policies of Vietnam and Singapore. In Vietnam, the concern over the threat of China, coupled with a lingering mistrust of the United States, has led to a distributed balancing approach that spreads Vietnams security reliance among a number of regional powers. In Singapore, the limited threat China presents and the resolution of other regional threats relaxes the need to balance and enables Singapore to view the rise of China as an opportunity.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History