Sources of stability in U.S.-Singapore relations, 2001-2016
Lim, Wei Sheng Damien
Malley, Michael S.
Barma, Naazneen H.
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Diplomatic relations between the United States and Singapore date back to 1966, a year after the island-state's independence. From 2001 to 2016, under the tenures of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, relations between the two countries were stable, consistent, and positive, with interactions and collaborations spanning across multiple facets. Nevertheless, these stable relations should not be viewed as a natural course of affairs; U.S. relations with other Southeast Asian countries during the same period vacillated much like a pendulum. This thesis analyzes the reasons underpinning the stable relations between the United States and Singapore during the Bush and Obama administrations. The thesis, which draws on an issue-based comparative case study of two distinct time periods, contends that strong bilateral relations have been based largely on common security interests, with economic interests and common high regard for a rules-based international order being important aspects of their good relations. The close and stable bilateral ties between these two nations are particularly noteworthy because Singapore is not a treaty ally of the United States. This thesis concludes by citing potential risks to this stability posed by hypothetical political changes on each side of this relationship.
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