This paper examines how Singapore as a small state will have to navigate a more contested world from a policy-relevant angle. A primary driver of geopolitical contestation today stems from emergent or Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies contributing to the redistribution of geopolitical power to the disadvantage of the established western-led international order. Even as Singapore embarks on numerous programmes to invest in and adopt 4IR technologies, it has to consider geopolitics besides technical specifications and budgetary issues. A small state will have to face trade-offs when it engages the competing big powers to preserve its neutrality and balance relations. It is difficult for small states to emulate each other’s strategies in balancing relations with the big powers given their varying levels of risk appetite and technological adoption, as well as their different geostrategic and geo-economic realities. Nevertheless, there are strategic steps that small states such as Singapore can take to defend its national interests better while investing in and adopting 4IR technologies.
Keywords: Singapore, small states, fourth industrial revolution, emergent technologies, investments, big-power rivalry, cold war, geostrategic imbalance, foreign interference, economic iron curtain.
About the Author
Muhammad Faizal Bin Abdul Rahman is a Research Fellow with the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (with Merit) from the National University of Singapore. He completed his Master of Science in Strategic Studies at RSIS, specialising in terrorism studies. His dissertation examined the grand strategies of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (Daesh), focussing on asymmetric warfare and cities as a jihadi battlespace. Prior to joining RSIS, Faizal served with the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs where he was a Deputy Director and had facilitated international engagements with foreign security counterparts. He also had postings in the Singapore Police Force where he supervised and performed intelligence analysis, achieving several commendation awards including the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award (2009) for operational and analysis efficiency; and in the National Security Research Centre (NSRC) at the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS), where he led a team to research emergent trends in domestic security and monitor terrorism-related developments. Faizal also has certifications in Counter-Terrorism, Crime Prevention and Business Continuity Planning. Faizal is also a regular resource person for international media such as MediaCorp on issues of extremism, terrorism and homeland security; and given lectures at conferences such as the Stockholm Security Conference 2017 and Security Industry Conference (SIC) 2018.
Conflict and Stability / Cybersecurity, Biosecurity and Nuclear Safety / East Asia and Asia Pacific / Global / International Politics and Security / Singapore and Homeland Security / Southeast Asia and ASEAN / Working Papers
Last updated on 07/04/2020