25 March 2015
The close bilateral ties between Singapore and the United States centred on friendship between Mr Lee Kuan Yew and successive American leaders. He established institutions to pursue strategic interests of both countries in a pragmatic partnership.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who died on 23 March 2015 aged 91, has been the most instrumental factor in the development of Singapore’s relations with the United States. In fact, bilateral ties were initially very much centred on the friendship between Mr Lee and successive American leaders who deeply respected his strong conviction, clear big-picture vision and extraordinary strategic leadership.
The Vietnam War could be said to have strengthened Mr Lee’s cachet and standing with Washington. Mr Lee saw American participation in the Vietnam War as buying time for non-Communist states in Southeast Asia, and played a role in stiffening US resolve to resist Communism. Singapore’s independent and non-aligned foreign policy orientation gave him great credence within the American policy establishment, as a neutral party supporting their military campaign in Vietnam.
…Ong Keng Yong is Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. This commentary, which appeared earlier in Today, is the first in a series on the Legacy of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 01/12/2015