“Diplomacy is not about being nice, polite or agreeable. It is fundamentally about protecting and promoting the country’s interests, preferably by being nice but, if necessary, by other appropriate means.” (Bilahari Kausikan)
Small states are always vulnerable. It is this sense of vulnerability that keeps Singapore alert. As a small country in Southeast Asia seeking to survive and prosper, Singapore cannot be ordinary. It must be extraordinary. Otherwise, why would anyone want to deal with Singapore rather than with larger countries? Herein lies the central challenge for Singapore in every area, including foreign policy.
Singapore Is Not An Island: Views on Singapore Foreign Policy is a compilation of essays and public speeches by Bilahari Kausikan over the last 25 years. His is a frank and dispassionate assessment of the geopolitical realities to date, and the uncertainties that have emerged. It is for anyone interested to know about protecting Singapore’s interests, nicely or otherwise, in a rapidly changing and complex world.
“Bilahari is one of the finest minds in Singapore’s public service. His unvarnished analysis of foreign policy trends is refreshing as are his thoughts on what they portend for Singapore. This collection should interest anyone who seeks an insight to Singapore’s foreign policy.” (Prof. S. Jayakumar, Former Senior Minister (2009-2011), Deputy Prime Minister (2004–2009) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (1994–2004), Singapore)