In conjunction with FASS’ 90th anniversary, the Department of Political Science is organising a public lecture series on the Practice of Foreign Affairs. The guest lecturer is former Ambassador and currently Chairman of the Middle East Institute, Mr Bilahari Kausikan.
Date: 30 Jan, 20 Feb, 13 Mar, 20 Mar & 3 Apr
Time: 6pm – 8pm
Venue: FASS LT11 (Click for map)
The synopses for the lectures are as follows:
Lecture One: How to Think about Foreign Policy?
30 January 2019
The first lecture situates the fundamental role of national interests in foreign policy. Why are Singapore’s national interests not better and more widely understood? The talk examines some common errors in thinking about foreign policy, as well as the creation and maintenance of relevance for a small city-state, and why small countries should not behave like small countries.
Lecture Two: Origins I – Relations with Malaysia and Indonesia
20 February 2019
The second lecture conveys the inevitable complexity of relations with Singapore’s neighbours. It provides an overview of the systemic origins of bilateral tensions with our neighbours, focusing on the uses and abuses of history, and the roles of ‘baggage’ and personality. The talk ends with thoughts on how Singapore could manage complexity and cope with competing nationalisms with our neighbours.
Lecture Three: Origins II – ASEAN: Vital but Limited
13 March 2019
The third lecture discusses the origins of regionalism in Southeast Asia. It explains the necessity but also the limits of ASEAN. The talk will suggest that ‘it is pointless to criticise a cow for being an imperfect horse’.
Lecture Four: The New Global and Regional Strategic Context
20 March 2019
The fourth lecture looks at the key factors driving change in the global and regional order. Issues to be explored include: the nature of US-China relations, coping with competing influences, the roles of Japan, India, Australia, Russia and the EU. The talk also offers thoughts as to why the future of East Asia will be multi-polar.
Lecture Five: Future Challenges
3 April 2019
The final lecture in the series examines the interaction of foreign policy and domestic politics. It offers thoughts on how to manage uncertainty and emerging systemic vulnerabilities in Singapore.
Congratulations to Prof Ted Hopf from the Department of Political Science on winning the Albie award from the Washington Post for his journal article, jointly written with Bentley B. Allan and Srdjan Vucetic, entitled “The Distribution of Identity and the Future of International Order: China’s Hegemonic Prospects.”
The Albie award recognises the best work on political economy in 2018. Named after the late, great political economist Albert O. Hirschman, the winning works are curated by Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a regular contributor at The Washington Post. According to Prof Drezner, “The important thing about an Albie-winning piece of work is that it forces the reader to think about the past, present or future politics of the global economy in a way that can’t be un-thought.”
Here’s what Prof Drezner said about the article:
“There has been so much written about the liberal international order this past year. Its critics are piling on, and even its most enthusiastic cheerleaders have doubts. This article, however, suggests that the current hegemonic order is likely to be far more resilient than the pessimists believe. This is because the core ideas animating the current order — democracy and free markets — have far more popular support across the globe than elites tend to assume. Any Chinese effort to challenge or supplant the current order is therefore unlikely to gain many adherents.”
On winning the award, Prof Hopf said, “It is always most gratifying when one’s academic work becomes part of the broader policy debate, especially when it concerns an issue of such contemporary significance as the rise of China.”
Click here to see the other Albie award winners.