What the US Election 2016 hold for Singapore

US Election 2016

Elections are times when citizens of any country take personal responsibility for the direction of their nation for another term. Voting can be likened to a sacred act in which voters express allegiance to their country and maintain an active role in the government.

The current US election 2016 race isn’t only attracting attention and controversy in the United States of America; it is closely followed across the globe. But, what does the result of this forthcoming US election 2016 hold for the rest of the world? What do other nations think about the campaign that has thrown up several surprises already? What does the winner of this election hold for Singapore?

If there is a right person to emerge a winner in the US election 2016 and get to the White House to deliberate and give Singapore an easier time, that would be Mrs. Hillary Clinton. She is the Democratic candidate who has championed a stronger role for the US around the world, which aligns with Singapore’s need for an American presence in the Asian region to balance against China.

Mrs. Hilary Clinton is 68, and she is also familiar with Singapore since she has been in US politics for years now and has visited Singapore as US Secretary of State in 2012. She is familiar with the Asian political terrain.

On the other hand, the emergence of Mr. Donald Trump would not be impressive for US-Singapore bilateral relationship. Going by the presumptive speeches by the business mogul on this campaign trail so far, the 69-year-old looked defiant and made up to turn the attention of America away from foreign relations and to focus more on the US home front.

Meanwhile, it is amazing to note that Mr. Trump has no foreign policy experience should he be elected during the US election 2016. If he is not well advised, as the new President in the White House, he may rock the country and shake up the ties of the United States with world key players such as Japan and China. In either way, this situation will adversely affect regional security.

US election 2016

US election 2016

Moreover, Republican party Bernie Sanders has publicly condemned free trade, which is very critical to Singapore. Considering these possible outcomes of the US election 2016, Singapore will likely have a better relationship with the US with a Clinton victory.

According to Prof. Tan See Seng, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, a Donald Trump victory in the forth coming US election 2016 will be received by Singapore as hugely problematic. Especially, since Singaporean policy makers view the US-Japan security pact as a key factor in the region’s continued balance and stability. Mr. Trump’s proposed ‘America First’ stance is likely to lead towards isolationism. It could also mean repositioning US ties with Asia after the US election; which President Barack Obama has worked hard to strengthen and keep afloat.

The continual presence of America after the forth-coming US election is welcomed in Singapore for strategic reasons, and it is not far from maintaining the regional balance of power. We have been working at this for long, even before the rise of China. The occupancy of Donald Trump in White House could bring about the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) free trade agreement which Singapore has promoted earnestly.

It will be recalled that The 12-nation agreement is yet to be passed by the US Congress and has been slammed by Mr. Trump, already. He wants more protective tariffs on imports in the US and may also revisit the trade deal, which he sees as more beneficial to China. All these are strictly supported by Mr. Sanders and could affect the US-China relationship badly; it could be bad for Singapore too.

US election 2016

As for Mrs. Hilary Clinton, she is known to Singapore’s leaders since when she was America’s First Lady, later as a US senator, and subsequently as the US Secretary of State and one of the key players of the US pivot to Asia.

Although, she has publicly expressed her concerns over the downside American absence around the world recently. She wants a focused and sustained US leadership. This would be a better pointer to multilateralism to Singapore than the advanced ideologies of Donald Trump and his mate, Sanders.

We know and expect that Mrs. Hilary Clinton’s presidency will not predictably be smooth sailing for Singapore for she is likely to talk tough against the Chinese over the South China Sea. She might also distance herself from the TTP negotiations or be advised against it. The TPP is set to keep America anchored in the Asia-Pacific growth region of the world.

On the flip side, running Republican candidate, Mr. Donald Trump, may prove to be a very different man when emerged as President in the White House after the US election. Some analysts tend to see a pragmatic business person in him. He can always negotiate his way and seek a win-win situation before cutting a deal. He may be full of swagger, but with actual considerations of his escapades as a business person: he cut deals with willing sellers and buyers.

US election 2016

Singapore-US ties will remain steadfast

To most Singaporeans, the forth-coming US election 2016 are huge political drama and Singapore has no say in the outcome of the next US President. The air was cleared in the recent visit of the Prime Minister of Singapore to the White House.

On the summer visit, The Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong said the US-Singapore ties have remained steadfast for decades through three Singapore Prime Ministers and nine US Presidents, and these links will remain regardless of the analytics and the outcome of the coming US election.

In a brief speech at the White House South Lawn, where the Prime Minister and Wife were welcomed by the US President, Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at an official arrival ceremony. The leaders later went into a meeting in the Oval Office, where Mr. Lee said Singapore would maintain her bipartisan relationship with, whichever party that emerge the winner in the US election in November.

He stated the need to continue to build and deepen security and economic relationships of both nations. He did not omit Singapore’s interest and partnership in tackling the scourge of ISIS, terrorism, and other forms of violent extremism. Both armed forces take part in these exercises together and regularly interact with intelligence.

Mr. Lee also said that both leaders would discuss the expanding of their “already extensive cooperation” to areas as smart cities and cyber-security.

Lastly, Mr. Lee pointed that, irrespective of the US election winner, the ties between Singapore and the US are far reaching and beyond the government offices and boardrooms; the ties are from the hearts and minds of the people of both nations.

US election 2016