South-East Asian nations may wind up taking sides and ‘choosing’ against one another if and when hostilities in the South China Sea involving China, erupt into hostilities far more sinister that what the world sees today.
Such a plausible scenario was laid out at a forum organised by the Institute of South East Asia Studies (ISEAS), Yusof Ishak Institute at the Raffles City Convention Centre.
Before a panel of experts, Kishore Mahbubani, Professor in the Practice of Public Policy and Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore speculated on such a possibility. It was a poser, which left the audience awed and the panel somewhat shifting in their seats for answers.
“Singapore will become isolated”, was the riposte from Dr Malcolm Cook, a senior fellow of the institute owing to nothing more than its geostrategic posturing and the perceived ties it has with Washington.
Thailand being a U.S. ally will also be in the US camp as would be Vietnam, added Cook.
The ‘wild card’, is Indonesia declared Cook saying that Jakarta ‘does not have a single position’, in obvious reference to its vaunted position as one of the founder member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
The swift and furious answers at the forum was characterized by an ebullient atmosphere betwixt the hard rendering of the grave geopolitical implications of Brexit and the election of a trade-baiting president in the United States last November.
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