Singapore has regarded, and continues to do so, the United States as the indispensable power whose global power and reach Singaporeans are seen as invaluable to the stability, security, and prosperity of Asia. This belief was sorely tested during the presidency of Donald Trump and by China’s growing assertiveness in Southeast Asia. The transition to a Biden-led America will unlikely change Singapore’s perspective on and policy toward the US. That said, its view of the US has not meant and does not mean a commitment to take Washington’s side on every international issue and/or dispute the latter might have with other major powers, especially where Singapore’s interests are thought to be at risk.
See Seng Tan is President and CEO of International Students Inc., a faith-based nonprofit in the United States, and concurrently Professor of International Relations at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His latest books include The Responsibility to Protect in Southeast Asia (2019), The Legal Authority of ASEAN as a Security Institution (2019), and The European Union’s Security Relations with Asian Partners (forthcoming 2021).
Amy Searight is senior associate for Asia and previously served as senior adviser and director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. Dr. Searight has a wealth of experience on Asia policy—spanning defense, diplomacy, development, and economics — in both government and academia. Most recently, she served in the Department of Defense (DOD) as deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, from 2014 to 2016. Prior to that appointment, she served as principal director for East Asian security at DOD and as senior adviser for Asia in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She has also served on the policy planning staff and as special adviser for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in the State Department as a Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow.
Ann Marie Murphy is a Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, and 2019-2010 ASEAN Research Program Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Murphy’s research interests include international relations and comparative politics in Southeast Asia, U.S. foreign policy toward Asia, and governance of non-traditional security issues. Dr. Murphy is a founding partner of the New York Southeast Asia Network and is currently completing a book on the impact of democracy on Indonesian foreign policy with the generous support of the Smith Richardson Foundation.
This event is part of the Southeast Asia Views America: Perceptions, Policies & Prospects virtual conference.
This event is sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, the New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN) and the APEC Study Center at Columbia University.