With a rising China come increasing territorial disputes between Beijing and its Asian neighbors. Most of these disputes are just a sign of China showing its muscle as its claims to most of them are “historical”; in the longest sense of the word.
This is a problem for the United States as it now has to face an increasing assertive China while its economy is in the doldrums. With the problem of a tighter budget, US Navy now expects to station several combat ships in Singapore.
Now while I like the idea of the United States been increasingly vocal about defending freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, I’m not in favor of the stationing of combat ships in Singapore. The main reason is that this is not our fight.
Yes, I know it sounds a little contradictory but the main thing is that Singapore has no territorial disputes (yet) with China. In fact, China is one of our biggest trading partners. So I don’t see how hosting combat ships from the US Navy benefit Singapore. Also, the United States has some 70,000 troops stationed in Japan and South Korea and a military presence in the Philippines and Thailand.
You can say that the United States don’t really “need” to station ships in Singapore. And you can also say Singapore don’t really “need” to have US combat ships in Singapore. Both parties may want to but there’s no real need for the ships to be in Singapore. So…why should Singapore host them?