PM Lee and his ministers should come to their senses and realise that conducting foreign relations is not a simple task. It is a vicious world out there where miscalculations and arrogance can lead to unpleasantness or even severe hardship and disaster for the people.
As I can see it you have miscalculated big time. You had relied too much on a Clinton victory. You had thought that the US would always be on your side, in appreciation to your alignment in its larger agenda to contain the rise of China.
Your dream could turn out to be a nightmare after Donald Trump threw a spanner in the works. You had not expected this and there was no plan B.
Nearer to home you also had not expected China, which has now overtaken the US as the world’s number one economy, would start to flex its muscles at you. Statements like “this is not the first time that the vessel had stopped over at Chinese ports” seem too childish.
You were taking China for granted, thinking that they were fools and not offended by numerous foolish statements against them. You also thought that they would take it lying down your perceived alignment with the US to contain their rise.
In short you were slumbering even though the signs of China getting agitated could be easily detected by avid observers. Your MFA and MID guys blundered.
Though many have started to put the blame on the invisible foreign minister, I feel that the PM shares a bigger blame for making all the wrong moves and for uttering silly statements. The highly publicised red carpet reception by Obama may have got into his head.
As things stand now we are clueless as to how the Trump administration would conduct itself. The President elect is so unpredictable. At the same time China has charted a new course in its treating with us. The long standing military training arrangement with Taiwan, which it had hitherto never even commented on, has now become an irritation.
How many friends can we afford to lose in this inter-connected world? Can we afford a fall out with friends in our own neighbourhood in this trying times? Have we become too arrogant for our own good?
Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood