Thursday, 19 November 2020

Singapore Military Strength

For 2020, Global Firepower ranked Singapore 51st out of 138 countries

Fortunately, our neighbours are ranked higher. Indonesia is 16th, Malaysia is 44th. Philipines is 48th.

Even Myanmar is ranked higher at 35th.

Of course, Myanmar and Philippines are not immediate concerns or relevant.

We have no quarrel with them.

Historically, we had Konfrontasi with Indonesia and some diplomatic spats with Malaysia.

So it is good that they are ranked higher.

If we were ranked higher, it may engender some insecurities with our two "abangs". 

And the hypothetical question of the outcome of a military conflict between Singapore and Malaysia has been considered. Here's a scenario played out:

The conclusion is that SG may be able to prosecute a minor victory, but our lack of strategic depth means any victory would be a pyrrhic victory. Or short-lived. 

Which makes sense.

I don't completely agree with the strategy as played out in the video, but the YouTuber is not privy to SG's defence doctrine and plans. It is their best guess based on what public facts they have.

A less analytical video is a simple presentation of facts/statistics:

This is just a video presentation of the stats from Global Firepower.

Which is wrong about SG's Submarine strength. They list "0" for submarines. But we have at least 5 and getting more.

And we are ranked 4th in terms of the deadliest navies in Asia. 

But it is fine that we are just ranked 51st behind Malaysia, and Indonesia.

It is fine that the average Malaysian still believes that MY can beat SG by simply turning off the water.

If it means that our neighbours do not feel the need to prove the superiority their august position deserve, so much the better.

But of course, war is inconceivable at this time, and we do not plan for war. But we are prepared for it. 

Or is it the other way?

There are two ways to ensure stability and peace.

One is to appear unthreatening. SG's small size predisposes others to consider us to be non-threatening. And certainly, SG's prosperity and success is dependent on regional and international peace and global peaceful trade and economics. And there is certain truths to SG's strategic depth or lack thereof. And certainly, we do not have delusions as to our military strength nor do we harbour imperialistic ambitions. As our continued prosperity (and perhaps even survival) is contingent on peace and global cooperation, our commitment to peace is not in doubt.

The other way to ensure peace is what Singapore has called the "poisoned shrimp" strategy - to promise pain if any belligerent were to try to swallow us whole. Mahathir is convinced of this. So we can assume that the Malaysian leaders are aware that SG is too tough a nut (or too poisoned a shrimp) to "eat". Indonesia has a myriad of concerns, and this little red dot is of no consequence to Indonesia.

The rest of Asean is too far away for Singapore to be of strategic interest to them.

Besides, China is knocking on the South China Sea's door.

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