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Singapore’s Diplomacy: Vulnerability into Strength

Author: Kishan Rana
Date: 2006
Singapore is a practitioner of focused, innovative diplomacy, constantly in search of the political space for itself that would overcome its sense of vulnerability resulting from its geopolitical location.

This has entailed involving other states in its well-being, constantly searching for ways to make itself relevant to the international community, through niche diplomacy and a proactive style. It has been creative in its use of regional diplomacy. It runs a relatively small network of embassies, with strong centralized control through its foreign ministry; it has economized on its scarce resource — skilled manpower — through extensive use of ‘non-resident ambassadors’. Poor accountability to publics, attrition of talent and gender inequality are among its few weaknesses. Some, but not all, of its methods are relevant to other small states.

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