China misunderstand Singapore? Really?
Tommy Koh wrote a piece titled ‘What China misunderstands Singapore’ in the ST on 21 Oct 16. Before dealing with the content of what he said, let me just take a broad view of what the article is trying to say. My first point, is the author assuming that the Chinese are not that clever and did not understand what Singapore is all about? If that is the case maybe Singapore can loan one of its super talented diplomats to help the Chinese understand Singapore. Even our journalists and political thinkers are all full of themselves and wanting to teach the Chinese how to run their country.
Oh, they did not know that Singapore is a multi racial country and is in the middle of a sea of Muslim states and have different kinds of problems and issues to think about. They did not understand or got no intelligence to understand that Singapore needs the Americans to use might is right to protect Singapore from its neigbours if they turned hostile.
Ok, let me deal with the straw men that were raised to be shot down. I would not deal with every little piece of thing the author said but just a few pertinent points for discussion. The Chinese, because Singapore has a Chinese majority country, ‘has given rise to unreasonable expectations on the part of China towards Singapore’. Now what are these unreasonable expectations and why are these unreasonable? ‘They feel that since Singaporeans are fellow Chinese, we should have a better understanding of China’s policies than other Asean countries. They also expect Singapore to support China’s policies.’ The first expectation, a better understanding of China’s policies, unreasonable? Even without the Chinese majority, any foreign officer or leader in charge of foreign affairs are expected to try to have a better understanding of the policies of big powers. Whether he/she agrees is another thing. It will only be an issue when taking a position. What is so unreasonable about a better understanding of another country’s position?
The second expectation, Singapore to support China’s policies. This would be unreasonable when the policies are against the interest of Singapore. And if it is a case of a tussle between two super powers, it would be unreasonable for China to expect Singapore to support China against another superpower. Likewise it would be unreasonable for Singapore to support another super power against China. Ok, this part is only true if Singapore really wants to be neutral. See, we can see clearly why China is unreasonable but blind to our own unreasonableness. Oh, I forgot, we support US position, or not really support US position, is because we are supporting principles, supporting international laws, supporting freedom of navigation, and these seemed to be the same as what the US is supporting, so we are not supporting the US against China, we are not unreasonable. My eyeballs are rolling. To say this kind of argument is clever is as good as saying snake oil salesmen are very clever.
I do not want to rehash why the kangaroo court is not UN backed and is not about international law or freedom of navigation is affected or someone is more principled and someone is not.
How many reasonable people, principled people, really believe, honestly believe, that the kangaroo court, the way it was set up and the way judgement was passed, is about international law, upholding international law and about principles, justice and fair play?
I will touch on the other 3 ‘misunderstandings’ if I feel exasperated enough to touch on them later, one at a time.
A kangaroo court is a kangaroo court, UN backed or not UN backed. And this kangaroo court was definitely not UN backed. And its decision was nothing binding and nothing about international law. It abused international law by its rubbish interpretation of reefs and islands. Not all international judges are intelligent and the kangaroo court is a good example to prove how silly these people can be.