Think Tank (6/2020)
The Indo-Pacific: Geostrategic Challenges and Opportunities for Germany and Singapore

The German political foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and RSIS jointly hosted a ministerial forum titled “The Indo-Pacific: Geostrategic Challenges and Opportunities for Germany and Singapore” on 13 November 2020. During the forum, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer exchanged views with her Singaporean counterpart Dr Ng Eng Hen on international security, in particular, t ...

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Disinformation and Fake News
This book is a collection of chapters penned by practitioners from around the world on the impact that disinformation and fake news has had in both the online and social sphere. While much has been said about individual disinformation campaigns in specific countries, this book offers a panoramic view of how these campaigns are conducted, who they target, and how they are spread. By bringing together research on specific countries and international data mined from questionnaires and online studies, the understanding of the term 'fake news' is greatly expanded and the issues we face are brought to light. The book includes contributions by experts such as Jean-Baptiste Vilmer (Macron Leaks), and includes case studies from Asia, such as Singapore and Myanmar, written in an accessible manner for the general interested reader, practitioners and policymakers in the field.
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Life and Work in Post-Soviet Russia
Life and Work in Post-Soviet Russia revolves around the professional and personal experience of living and working in Moscow of a Singapore diplomat, beginning in the aftermath of the USSR's collapse and ending in the first decade-and-a-half of this century. The book seeks to provide readers with glimpses of life in Moscow and Russia in the mid-1990s, as well as in the early years of this century. It deals with not only the sociopolitical and economic challenges of Russia's post-Soviet leaders, but also those facing the man-in-the-street. That the man-in-the-street had to personally bear the brunt of the momentous changes in post-Soviet Russia's rush to reforms is made plain in the book, and not so much the trials and tribulations of his leaders. Life and Work in Post-Soviet Russia also looks to broaden the outlook of Singaporeans, in the first instance, and non-Russians, in general, about Russia, a country which has been portrayed in a negative light by most of the Anglo-Saxon and Western media. This book also gives readers some insight into Singapore's relations with Russia, deals with issues from a personal standpoint without any attempt to inject political science theories into its analyses, and concludes with some thoughts on its future role in the world. For details on the book launch, click here.
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Buddhist Literature as Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy as Literature
Can literature reveal reality? Is philosophical truth a literary artifice? How does the way we think affect what we can know? Buddhism has been grappling with these questions for centuries, and this book attempts to answer them by exploring the relationship between literature and philosophy across the classical and contemporary Buddhist worlds of India, Tibet, China, Japan, Korea, and North America. Written by leading scholars, the book examines literary texts composed over two millennia, ranging in form from lyric verse, narrative poetry, panegyric, hymn, and koan, to novel, hagiography, (secret) autobiography, autofiction, treatise, and sutra, all in sustained conversation with topics in metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophies of mind, language, literature, and religion. Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural, this book deliberately works across and against the boundaries separating three mainstays of humanistic pursuit—literature, philosophy, and religion—by focusing on the multiple relationships at play between content and form in works drawn from a truly diverse range of philosophical schools, literary genres, religious cultures, and historical eras. Overall, the book calls into question the very ways in which we do philosophy, study literature, and think about religious texts. It shows that Buddhist thought provides sophisticated responses to some of the perennial problems regarding how we find, create, and apply meaning—on the page, in the mind, and throughout our lives. “This volume is a significant contribution to the growing critical awareness in the global humanities that scholarship confined solely to Western texts and approaches is seldom applicable to the wider world. While there are numerous books on Buddhist literature with philosophical content and contributions, this one explores the relationship more explicitly, and makes a great reader for courses on world literature, Buddhist literature, or Asian philosophy.” — Michael R. Sheehy, coeditor of The Other Emptiness: Rethinking the Zhentong Buddhist Discourse in Tibet
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Reconstructing Japan’s Security: The Role of Military Crises
Systematically analyses the impact of external military crises on Japanese security policy expansion in the post-Cold War period. Focuses on the widening of Japan's security posture in external security affairs and investigates the causes of this critical change Identifies the external military crisis as a critical determinant of change in Japanese security policy Unpacks the deep structures within the Japanese decision-making processes, especially during and after military crises Examines five key military crises in detail: the 1990-1 Persian Gulf War; the 1994 North Korean Nuclear Crisis; the 1996 Taiwan Straits Crisis, the 1998 Taepodong Crisis; and 2001 September 11 attacks that led to the US-led war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq Draws on over 70 interviews the author has conducted with officials, former officials, and academics in universities and think tanks in Japan, the United States, South Korea and Singapore, including officials who were directly involved in the crisis decision-making process This book is a detailed study of the role that external military crises played in the development and growth of Japanese security policies in the period following the end of the Cold War. This evolution can be seen in the widened role of the Self-Defence Force (SDF) in shaping Japan's security priorities, as well as its proactive contribution to regional/ international security. Focusing on four key case studies - international peacekeeping in 1992, regional defence in 1997-99, global missions in 2003-05, and collective self-defence in 2014-15 - the author argues that the Japanese security policymaking elite achieved security policy expansion by utilizing external military crises as policy windows, inflating and deflating threat elements to circumvent the constraints and justify the implementation of security policy initiatives.
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The US Presidential Election and the Implication for the Situation in East Asia
On 3 December 2020, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) from Indonesia, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) from Japan, and RSIS held a joint webinar on the topic “The US Presidential Election and the Implication for the Situation in East Asia”. ...
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Europe in the Indo-Pacific: Middle Power Patchwork or a Common European Strategy?
On 10 November 2020, the Centre for Multilateralism Studies (CMS), RSIS, hosted a panel webinar on European initiatives and involvement in the Indo-Pacific. Despite the Indo-Pacific being a region of significant interest to Europe, the panellists noted that expectations for greater hard-power ...
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CSCAP Nuclear Energy Experts Group Virtual Meeting
The Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) at RSIS, representing the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP)(Singapore) and Pacific Forum (US CSCAP), co-organised the virtual meeting of the CSCAP Nuclear Energy Experts Group from 10 to 11 November 2020.
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DRUMS: Distortions, Rumours, Untruths, Misinformation & Smears
The Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) at RSIS organised their fourth annual workshop on “DRUMS: Distortions, Rumours, Untruths, Misinformation & Smears” as a three-part webinar series on 1, 2 and 4 December 2020. The webinar series explored trends and iss ...
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Regional Multilateralism in Uncertain Times: Past, Present, and Future
A virtual workshop on “Regional Multilateralism in Uncertain Times: Past, Present, and Future” was organised by the Regional Security Architecture Programme of RSIS on 10 and 11 December 2020. Prof Ralf Emmers, Dean of RSIS, delivered the opening remarks to more than 40 participants comprising ...
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Does the US Need a New Security Framework/Architecture for Renewed Great Power Rivalry?
On 26 November 2020, Dr Adam Garfinkle, founding editor of The American Interest and RSIS Distinguished Visiting Fellow, presented a webinar titled “Does the US Need a New Security Framework/Architecture for Renewed Great Power Rivalry?” Opposing this notion, Dr Garfinkle argue ...
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Middle-Power Diplomacy in the New Era of US-China Competition
On 17 November 2020, RSIS and the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA) jointly hosted a roundtable on “Middle-Power Diplomacy in the New Era of US-China Competition”, with presentations delivered by Assoc Prof Alan Chong, Acting Head, Centre for Multilateralism Studies, RSIS; and Prof Choi ...
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The Courteous Power: Japan and Southeast Asia during the Suga Administration
When Yoshidide Suga recently took over as prime minister of Japan, he tellingly focused his first trip abroad on Southeast Asia. The region has long been crucial to Japan’s foreign policy, and Japan has long been a key external partner to ASEAN and its constitutive states and societies. Japan’ ...
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Implications of the US Withdrawal from Afghanistan
The International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), RSIS, hosted a webinar on the Implications of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan on 25 November 2020. Speaking at the session were Mr Ahmed Rashid, a renowned journalist and author; Prof Amin Saikal, Adjunct Profe ...
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Perspectives on Identity-Based Extremism in the Indo-Pacific
Identity-based extremism is rooted in the ethno-religious identity of a so-called majority “in-group”, and is often used to justify violence against minority “out-groups”. Asia is no stranger to such forms of extremism with the rise of Buddhist extremist groups in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. In Ind ...
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The Science, Politics and Geopolitics of the COVID-19 Vaccine
On 15 December 2020, the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) at RSIS hosted a webinar titled “The Science, Politics and Geopolitics of the COVID-19 Vaccine”. The webinar was delivered by Dr Khor Swee Kheng, Visiting Fellow, United Nations University International Institute ...
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Assessing the Role of TNI in Combating COVID-19 in Indonesia
A webinar to assess the impact of COVID-19 on TNI (Indonesian armed forces) military effectiveness and the nature of civil-military relations in Indonesia was held on 1 December 2020. The RSIS webinar looked into how the TNI could help win the fight against a pandemic, how its capability devel ...
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Freedom and Violence
On 16 November 2020, Dr Irm Haleem, Assistant Professor from the Strategic Studies Programme at RSIS, spoke at a webinar on “Freedom and Violence”. She began her talk by pointing out the common assumption that freedom and violence were inextricably linked. She outlined several reasons f ...
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30 Years of Diplomatic Relations between Singapore and China and Reflections on China-Southeast Asia Relations
The Singapore Ministry of Defence, RSIS and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defence University (NDU) co-organised a Track 1.5 virtual workshop on “30 Years of Diplomatic Relations between Singapore and China and Reflections on China-Southeast Asia Relations”, which took place on 21 ...
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Regional Trends in Inter-Religious Relations
On 17 November 2020, the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme presented their findings on “Regional Trends in Inter-Religious Relations” to an online audience. The presentation marked the culmination of a one-year project to monitor and analyse the trends pe ...
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Saving People or Saving Face? Narratives and the Humanitarian Order in Southeast Asia
On 17 November 2020, the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) at RSIS hosted a webinar titled “Saving People or Saving Face? Narratives and the Humanitarian Order in Southeast Asia”. The webinar was deliver ...
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Between Ambition and Ambivalence: Australian Diplomacy in an Era of Strategic Change
On 27 October 2020, Prof Caitlin Byrne, Director of Griffith Asia Institute and Faculty Fellow of the University of Southern California’s Centre for Public Diplomacy, delivered a talk at the RSIS Webinar titled “Between Ambition and Ambivalence: Australian Diplomacy in an Era of Strategi ...
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Podcast on US Presidential Election 2020 (Pre-election)
In this pre-election podcast broadcast on 27 October 2020, the United States Programme at RSIS examined the state of the presidential horserace between Joe Biden and Donald Trump and what the election means for Singapore and the region. The programme analysed how different a potential Biden ad ...
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Adrian Chong
Abdul Basit
Amalina Abdul Nasir
Christopher Chen
Muhammad Faizal Bin Abdul Rahman
Rueben Ananthan Santhana Dass
Adhi Priamarizki
Amalina Anuar
Irene Chan
Nazia Hussain
Shawn Ho
Adrian Ang U-Jin
Ben Ho
Julius Cesar Imperial Trajano
Nursheila Muez