ABSTRACT

Singapore’s leaders have consistently approached the matter of foreign policy from the conventional realist perspective of a small state obliged to cope with a world that was potentially hostile and without common government. Deputy Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, in discussing the security options of small states in a speech in October 1984, before he entered political life, suggested that: ‘The world of states shares many characteristics with the world of beasts’ and that ‘goodwill alone is no substitute for astute self-interest’.1