Commentary: Ruckus over US Democracy Summit a sign of insecure Singapore?

Published:Dec 6, 202305:04

SINGAPORE: I chided myself this week for studying concerning the outcomes of the Democracy Summit on Friday (Dec 10) like some obsessive stalker not invited to the marriage of an ex. News broke this week of US President Joe Biden’s holding court docket over 100 nations at what was touted as a gathering of world leaders to counter a rising tide of authoritarianism. The implication, to cite a overseas coverage cliché, is that for those who’re not on the desk, you’re on the menu. Inferring so, some in Singapore have been deeply disillusioned we weren’t invited. Political commentators gave their two cents over how that is typical American behaviour - pondering of Singapore in phrases of a nation bereft of free speech, illiberal of differing political beliefs and trigger-pleased in terms of caning individuals. (Really? It’s been over 25 years since Michael Fay.) Ambassador-at-large Prof Tommy Koh criticised the omission on Thursday.Singapore ought to have been invited, Prof Koh stated, as a result of it satisfies what he sees as crucial standards for democracy - with free and truthful elections, a structure guaranteeing elementary freedoms, an unbiased judiciary and the rule of legislation. Now, Singapore was not the one nation to have felt irritated at this perceived slight. The Democracy Summit additionally sparked a buying and selling of disagreeable barbs elsewhere - like this gem from a Russian political analyst writing within the Global Times and evaluating the assembly to “a mistress of a brothel teaching morals … to school girls”. Chinese media additionally went all out to throw shade at whether or not America actually nonetheless represented the very best democracy has to supply and urged that democracy has a broader definition China too would have fulfilled. But does that sound a bit too “if you can’t beat them join them”? 


The large Singapore reactions have been shocking as a result of it felt like déjà vu. 

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