Date: 04-14-2003

This report includes:

1. Asian Voices On War: In Singapore, Neither Pro-US Nor Anti-Iraq But Pro-Singapore

2. Living With A Climate In Transition: Pacific Communities Plan For Today And Tomorrow


To offer perspectives on the war from outside the United States, the East-West Wire will occasionally feature reports, observations, analyses and viewpoints from respected and influential Asian and Pacific Island journalists who have participated in East-West Center programs.

Asad Latif is assistant foreign editor at The Straits Times in Singapore and was an East-West Center Jefferson Fellow in Spring 2001. He contributed this article to the East-West Wire.


SINGAPORE -- Singapore did not want war, hoping that Baghdad would disarm in keeping with the U.N. Security Council's demands. But that did not happen.

Singapore is not involved on the military side of operations, but it participates in the coalition for the immediate disarmament of Iraq. The reason for its interest in Iraq's disarmament is its concern over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It has thrown its weight behind the United States because the U.S. is the only power that can deal effectively with the threat of these weapons landing in the hands of terrorists.

Singapore's stance on the war is not shared by Malaysia and Indonesia. There is a view that the island-state could have stayed anonymous about its support for the coalition so as not to highlight differences with its immediate neighbors. However, there is no reason why it should be defensive about upholding its national interest. The question here is not about being pro-U.S. or anti-Iraq, but pro-Singapore.

In keeping with sentiments elsewhere in the world, some Singaporeans oppose the war in Iraq primarily because of the cost it exacts in innocent lives, limbs and property. What is heartening is that the war has not led to a division between Muslim and non-Muslim Singaporeans. Even when Muslims disagree with the United States, they do understand, by and large, that the war is not against Islam. Likewise, non-Muslims in Singapore who oppose the war cut across religious lines and take a stand on humanitarian grounds.

2. LIVING WITH A CLIMATE IN TRANSITION: Pacific Communities Plan for Today and Tomorrow, by Eileen Shea, AsiaPacific Issues, No. 66, March 2003. To read this East-West Center publication, see AsiaPacific Issues No. 66

Eileen Shea is the East-West Center's climate expert. She can be reached at 808-944-7253 or

Earth's climate is in a state of flux. Whether in terms of relatively short-term shifts, called climate variability, or long-term climate change associated with greenhouse gases, consequences of changing climate conditions appear unprecedented.

Losses due to weather-related disasters have soared recently — especially in the Pacific, where island environments, societies, and infrastructures are particularly vulnerable. For generations, human response to climate events has been just that: response after the fact to phenomena that neither residents nor scientists adequately understood.

Now, a growing body of information about the causes of climate events is enabling Pacific Islanders and others to anticipate events and move past being victims to become informed planners. This new knowledge can only be successfully applied via dynamic partnerships between science and society. Particularly promising is the emerging field of climate-risk management, in which disaster management and climate science communities unite, forming model partnerships to plan for the inevitabilities linked with the planet's variable and changing climate.
This is an East-West Wire, copyright East-West Center