Singapore is free trade in physical form. Situated on the world’s busiest waterway – the Strait of Malacca – Singapore presides over all trade between Europe and East Asia, and all Middle Eastern oil sales to East Asia. It is the world’s busiest port and transshipment point. Therefore, trade of oil and other commodities form benchmarks for financial markets the world over. Add in a high value-added manufacturing sector, and Singapore is one of the most technologically advanced and richest countries on the planet.
It also is one that is fairly nervous about its place in the world. With a population under 5 million, it is the midget of its neighborhood. It has gone out of its way to maintain as strong a relationship as possible with the country that enables the free trade order to exist: the United States. Singapore is one of only a small handful of countries that maintains a berth at all times for any U.S. aircraft carrier that might want to stop by for a visit.
To learn how Singapore will fit into the American alliance structure of the future, see Chapter 9 of The Accidental Superpower.