JC H2 History Tuition Online - An Agenda for Peace - United Nations Essay Notes

An Agenda for Peace

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about the role of United Nations peacekeeping to understand its relevance in the post-Cold War world [Video by the United Nations]

The report
In 1992, the Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali submitted a report titled “An Agenda for Peace: Preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping“. Earlier, the Security Council requested the Secretariat to assess the strengths and limitations of peacekeeping.

Changing context: New challenges
In the post-Cold War world, the circumstances have changed. Boutros-Ghali outlined these shifts in his report:

In the course of the past few years the immense ideological barrier that for decades gave rise to distrust and hostility and the terrible tools of destruction that were their inseparable companions has collapsed.

… With the end of the cold war there have been no such vetoes since 31 May 1990, and demands on the United Nations have surged. Its security arm, once disabled by circumstances it was not created or equipped to control, has emerged as a central instrument for the prevention and resolution of conflicts and for the preservation of peace.

An excerpt from “An Agenda for Peace” report, 17 June 1992.

In view of the changing global context, the Secretary-General proposed a few key concepts, such as preventive diplomacy and peace-making.

Preventive diplomacy
In other words, the United Nations should intervene through the conduct of diplomacy before conflicts break out or escalate. This course of action can be undertaken by the Secretary-General, Security Council or General Assembly.

Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali established six regional divisions within the consolidated Department for Political Affairs whose principal task was to gather and analyze information to assist him in preventing conflicts.

… between March and December 1992, the Department for Political Affairs had undertaken thirty-one missions to various trouble spots on the initiative either of the Secteray-General or a member state.

An excerpt from “Preventive Diplomacy at the UN” by Bertrand G. Ramcharan.

Preventive diplomacy was achieved through efforts like confidence-building measures, fact-finding and the use of early warning systems. Its application was observed in the above-mentioned missions in potential conflict zones like Moldova, Haiti and Tajikistan.

Peacemaking
In addition to preventive diplomacy, the report also proposed peacemaking. As stated in the report, the United Nations bear the “responsibility to try to bring hostile parties to agreement by peaceful means”. Such efforts are carried out with reference to Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter (Pacific Settlement of Disputes).

In practice, peacemaking was carried out in response to the conflicts in Cambodia and Somalia. The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) was supported by Yasushi Akashi, Special Representative in Cambodia, who combined the application of peacekeeping and peacemaking to oversee civil administration, demobilisation and disarmament of military factions.

However, the successes of peacemaking were limited in Somalia. The escalation of the civil war gave rise to casualties that resulted in eventual departure of the United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM).

UN/US intervention in the civil war, initiated in December 1992 and entered into with high hopes both of saving millions from starvation and restoring peace and stability to the country, ending ignominiously in the killing first of 25 Pakistani peacekeepers on 6th June 1993, and then of 18 American Rangers in October 1993. President Clinton soon announced that US troops would be withdrawn from Somalia and the complete withdrawal of UN peacekeeping troops had been effected by March 1995, with few of the mandate objectives of UNOSOM II achieved.

An excerpt from “Peacekeeping and Peacemaking: Towards Effective Intervention in Post-Cold War Conflicts” by Tom Woodhouse, Robert Bruce and Malcolm Dando.

Funding issues
Lastly, the report described how peacekeeping operations during the Cold War were hampered by arrears that amounted to over $800 million. Between 1945 and 1987, 13 peacekeeping operations were established. These operations have cost nearly $8.3 billion in total. As such, Boutros-Ghali raised the suggestion for member nations for “their peace-keeping contributions to be financed from defence, rather than foreign affairs”.

The Secretary-General made three proposals to address the finance issue. The following is one of the proposals.

Proposal three: This suggested the establishment of a United Nations Peace Endowment Fund, with an initial target of $1 billion. The Fund would be created by a combination of assessed and voluntary contributions, with the latter being sought from Governments, the private sector as well as individuals. Once the Fund reached its target level, the proceeds from the investment of its principal would be used to finance the initial costs of authorized peace-keeping operations, other conflict resolution measures and related activities

An excerpt from “An Agenda for Peace” report, 17 June 1992.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the effectiveness of the UN reforms in maintain the relevance of the organisation in maintaining international peace and security in the post-Cold War era?

Join our JC History Tuition to reinforce your comprehension of historical concepts and apply them to your essay and source based case study questions. Our online learning programmes feature thematic revision and skills development workshops to prepare you for the GCE A Level History examinations.

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JC H1 H2 History Tuition Online - Criticisms of the veto - United Nations Essay Notes

Criticisms of the veto

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Explore the issue with the veto to understand its significance on the United Nations. [Video by NowThisWorld]

Yea or nay?
As discussed in the previous article on the role of the Security Council, the Permanent Five (P5) Members possess special voting rights to either support or block resolutions.

Article 27(3) of the UN Charter states that consensus within the Security Council is only made possible with the “affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members“.

This means that if at least one of the P5 members exercised the “right to veto” (negative vote), the resolution would not be approved.

The use of veto by P5 members
Although the Charter states that the United Nations was formed with the primary aim to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war“, the repeated use of the veto has sparked criticism among member nations over the relevance of the international organisation.

The following illustrations highlight the veto problem ever since the UN’s inception.

Security Council Vetoes - Bloomberg Opinion
Illustration by Bloomberg Opinion on the use of vetoes
Security Council Vetoes - Vocativ
Statistics by Vocativ on the use of vetoes

A flawed creation or a necessary evil?
One of the main criticisms was that the veto had allowed the P5 members to wield disproportionate powers, thereby creating an unrepresentative structure in the United Nations. On the other hand, defenders of the veto argued that the veto was essential in retaining membership of Great Powers and averting another world war.

For most UN Member states, Article 27 UN Charter is a codification of the painful reality that some States are more equal than others. This idea is obviously at odds with the principals laid down in the UN Charter, such as Article 1(2), pursuant to which the UN aims at developing friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights of peoples, and Article 2(1) which affirms the principle of sovereign equality as one of the basic pillars of the world body.

The concerns underpinning the insertion of Article 27 were well-founded in light of the demise of the League of Nations. This organisation never managed to live up to its aspirations due to the requirement of unanimity among all members of its Council on the one hand, and the lack of support from various power States on the other hand… None of the P-5 has abandoned ship. Moreover, no direct military confrontation has occurred between them.

An excerpt from “Security council reform: a new veto for a new century?” by Jan Wouters and Tom Ruys.

Reforms to the veto mechanism
In 2015, France proposed the practice of ‘veto restraint‘ in the United Nations Security Council, particularly for conflicts of mass atrocities and genocide. Its basis was that the veto should not be abused.

Interestingly, France early on broke ranks with the other permanent members of the Security Council and led the third initiative calling for veto restraint.

… Veto restraint in atrocity situations was initially suggested in 2001 by French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine at a roundtable sponsored by the ICISS in Paris. He called for the permanent members to create a “code of conduct” for themselves and not to apply their veto to block humanitarian action where their own national interests were involved.

An excerpt from “Existing Legal Limits to Security Council Veto Power in the Face of Atrocity Crimes” by Jennifer Trahan.

Another proposed reform was the expansion of the Permanent Membership to create a more representative structure in the Security Council. The G4 nations, comprising of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil, asserted that their admission would maintain the relevance of the principal organ.

The concept of new permanency is prefaced on the notion that the current council does not reflect the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century. In short, the council’s permanent membership is outdated. To address the disequilibrium, the G4 proposes the inclusion of six new permanent seats and five new elected seats.

An excerpt from “UN Security Council Reform” by Peter Nadin.

However, any reform made to the Security Council membership composition requires full consensus from the existing Permanent Members.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the reasons for the limited effectiveness of the proposed reforms to the Security Council.

Join our JC History Tuition to derive a better understanding of the veto mechanism and other critical areas of study for the United Nations. We provide H1 and H2 History Tuition classes to empower students to organise their reading, thinking and writing techniques. Through a comprehensive learning programme, students will become more acquainted with the content and confident in their methods of expression for the GCE A Level History examination.

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JC H1 H2 History Tuition Online - Why is the UN Security Council important - United Nations Essay Notes

Why is the UN Security Council important?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Find out why the Security Council is a vital organ of the United Nations. [Video by Global News]

Historical Context: The “Four Policemen”
On 26 June 1945, representatives from fifty countries signed the Charter of the United Nations. Henceforth, the United Nations was established as an international organisation that focuses on the maintenance of international peace and security.

US President Franklin D. Roosevelt envisioned a post-war order in which the “Four Policemen” – represented by the USA, UK, USSR and China – should assume the primary responsibility to provide security.

In 1942, Roosevelt assured Sumner Welles that when “the moment was ripe”, he would push for a new world organization. His conception of it at the time was illustrated in his “Four Policemen” proposal, which emphasized the use of military powers by the “Big Four” of the wartime Grand Alliance, who, he was convinced, need to cooperate to ensure postwar peace.

… In FDR’s early view of the Soviet Union, Great Britain, China and the United States would have regional responsibilities for maintaining peace and would act together to enforce world stability, even forcibly carrying out the disarmament of smaller powers.

An excerpt from “The New United Nations: International Organization in the Twenty-First Century” by John Allphin Moore, Jr. and Jerry Pubantz.

Enforcement Powers: Chapter VI and Chapter VII
The Security Council was empowered to invoke Chapter VI or Chapter VII. Ideally, the use of force was to be considered only as a last resort.

For Chapter VI, the Security Council can investigate a dispute and then make recommendations on its settlement, as mentioned in Articles 34 and 36 respectively.

For Chapter VII, the Security Council identifies situations in which there may be a “breach of peace” and authorise the use of measures to manage conflicts. Examples of such measures include the imposition of sanctions (Articles 41-42) and the deployment of armed forces (Articles 44-47).

The Veto
One of the most controversial functions of the Security Council relates to the veto. As described in Article 27(3) of the Charter: “Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members“. In other words, should any of the permanent members cast a negative vote, a resolution of the Security Council is blocked.

Although the veto can result in political paralysis, it is created to safeguard the interests of the permanent members, thereby ensuring their continued participation in the Security Council. Therefore, some member nations interpreted the veto power as a necessary evil.

Exacerbated by the polarized climate of the Cold War, the use of veto soon began to create deadlock within the Council. By August 1, 1950, “the Soviet Union had all but [paralyzed] the Security Council by vetoing forty-five draft resolutions since the creation of the UN.” The fear was that the UN could lapse into the dysfunctionality that had stymied the League of Nations. If the Security could not utilize its Chapter VII enforcement powers due to veto use, it was feared the UN could suffer the same fate as the League of Nations, unable to prevent world war.

An excerpt from “Existing Legal Limits to Security Council Veto Power in the Face of Atrocity Crimes” by Jennifer Trahan.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the political effectiveness of the Security Council from 1945 to 1991.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn to consolidate your content knowledge for the GCE A Level History topics like the United Nations. We provide summary notes, essay outlines and source based case study practices to refine your thinking and writing skills. Through an instructive and exam-driven approach, you will be ready to tackle the challenges of the examinations.

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JC H2 History Tuition - What is the Mexican debt crisis - JC History Essay Notes

What is the Mexican debt crisis?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Problems of economic liberalisation

Examine the former Mexican finance minister’s reflections on the Mexican Debt Crisis of 1982 [Video by CNN Business]

The Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s
The 1970s and 1980s were characterised by a series of devastating problems that hampered the growth of the global economy. Apart from the twin oil shocks in 1973 and 1979, a serious debt crisis affected developing nations, particularly in the Latin American region. This financial crisis was known as “The Lost Decade” (La Década Perdida) in Mexico and Guatemala.

An unsustainable growth: A sticky situation
Before the Crisis Decades, most developed nations took loans from the World Bank to finance their infrastructural development. In view of the first oil crisis of 1973, commercial banks received a large inflow of funds from oil-exporting nations, particularly petrostates that belonged to the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). In short, petrodollar recycling was carried out.

However, the loans did not translate into profitable investment activities. Some of these loans were mismanaged. For instance, President Mobutu Sese Seko stored $5 billion in personal Swiss bank accounts, which amounted to Zaire’s total foreign debt.

Additionally, in response to the oil shocks, the USA raised interest rates in 1979. This proved disastrous to the debtor nations as their loans originated from Western commercial banks in the USA and Europe.

When Paul Volcker, head of the Federal Reserve, raised U.S. interest rates in 1979 to fight inflation in the United States, he did not intend to create a global debt crisis. But rising U.S. interest rates, and the rising London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), which set interest rates for Eurodollar lending, greatly increased the cost of southern loans, most of them now tied to floating rates set by the United States or LIBOR.

Rising interest rates had two important consequences. First, they increased interest payments on accumulated debt. “Mexico’s interest bill tripled from $2.3 billion in 1979 to $6.1 billion in 1982… for the region as a whole, interest payments more than doubled, from $14.4 billion in 1979 to $36.1 billion in 1982.” …

A second problem was that high U.S. interest rates acted like a magnet, attracting money from around the world… Massive capital flight created several problems for Latin American countries: it deprived them of money they might have used to invest in their own countries, pay for imports, repay debt, and it eroded their country’s tax base…

An excerpt from “Understanding Globalization: The Social Consequences of Political, Economic, and Environmental Change” by Robert K. Schaeffer.

The Trigger
In August 1982, the Mexican Finance Minister Jesús Silva Herzog announced that Mexico can no longer service its debt that amounted to $80 billion. Subsequently, other Latin American nations like Brazil, Chile and Argentina followed suit. Eventually, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) allowed sixteen Latin American countries to conduct debt rescheduling.

The threat of default by Mexico sent the first world bankers into panic. Many had lent more than 100 per cent of their shareholder capital to governments in Latin America and elsewhere. They knew that if the default was to be repeated across the developing world, it would lead to the collapse of the global financial system

IMF conditionality varied from country to country but generally contained a mix of the following policy ingredients: a cut in public spending, promotion of exports, the elimination of government subsidies, currency devaluation, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and the liberalization of foreign trade and investment…

This approach became known as structural adjustment and, over the course of the 1980s and early 1990s, most Latin American countries fell subject to IMF conditionality. The support for such policies from the US government and powerful institutions based in Washington, DC meant that the policy package became known as the Washington Consensus.

An Excerpt from “Latin American Development” by Julie Cupples.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s was a devastating problem that affected the global economy.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn how to write JC History Essays for topics like the Global Economy. Join our online learning classes and receive study notes for A Level History.

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JC H2 History Tuition - What is World Trade Organization and its function - JC History Essay Notes

What is World Trade Organization and its function?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapters 1: Reasons for growth of the global economy & Problems of economic liberalisation

Re-look at the contributions of the World Trade Organization ever since its inception in 1995 [Video by the World Trade Organization]

What is the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
The WTO is an inter-governmental organization that formalized international trade. Under the Marrakesh Agreement, the organization was formed on 1 January 1995, replacing the multilateral framework known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

A Prelude to WTO: Trade Rounds under GATT
Before the WTO was established, GATT provided the essential guidelines on international trade from 1948 to 1994. During the Bretton Woods Conference, an International Trade Organization (ITO) was supposed to be formed alongside two other pillars (World Bank and the International Monetary Fund). Yet, the US Congress refused to ratify the Havana Charter. As such, the concept of an ITO was not realized.

Even so, GATT had played its part in promoting multilateral discussions. In the post-war years, GATT contributed to tariff reductions of nearly 8 percent on average till the 1960s.

1. Kennedy Round (1964-1967)
During the Kennedy Round, an Anti-Dumping Agreement was passed. ‘Dumping’ refers to an unfair trade practice in which a firm sell its exports at a price below the price set in the domestic market. The Act was recognized as a success, especially for developing nations.

Recognizing that anti-dumping practices should not constitute an unjustifiable impediment to international trade and that anti-dumping duties may be applied against dumping only if such dumping causes or threatens material injury to an established industry or materially retards the establishment of an industry;

Considering that it is desirable to provide for equitable and open procedures as the basis for a full examination of dumping cases;

An excerpt from the Kennedy Round.

2. Tokyo Round (1973-1979)
In the 1970s, the Tokyo Round was held with the intention to manage the imposition of non-tariff barriers (NTBs). Although participating countries managed to agree on the reduction of tariffs on industrial goods, they were unable to accept the use of plurilateral agreements (they are trade agreements between more than two countries).

The Tokyo Round also led to the adoption of a range of specific new disciplines. These included the legalization of preferential tariff and nontariff treatment in favour of developing countries and among developing countries.

Codes were negotiated on subsidies and countervailing measures, technical barriers to trade (product standards), government procurement, customs valuation, import licensing, antidumping (a revision of a Kennedy Round code), bovine meat, dairy products and civil aircraft…

By negotiating a code, like-minded countries were able to agree to new, legally binding commitments, without having all GATT contracting parties on board.

An excerpt from “The Political Economy of the World Trading System” by Bernard M. Hoekman, Michel M. Kostecki

3. Uruguay Round (1986-1994)
The eighth and final round lasted nearly seven and a half years. In the wake of the twin oil shocks of the 1970s, the Uruguay Round was held as the largest multilateral trade negotiation. The main purpose of the round was to reduce agricultural subsidies, introduce the protection of intellectual property and liberalise trade services in the banking sector. It was a tricky issue due to the sensitivity of the agricultural and textile sectors that affected many developing countries. Furthermore, the round dragged on due to the lack of consensus between the USA and European Union (EU) [also known as the “European Community”, EC] over the reforms to agricultural trade.

For much of the Round the USA and the EC held their own mini-round and their mutual intransigence, especially over agriculture and specifically a long-running dispute over oil seeds, stalled the Uruguay Round for some time. Completion of the Round was in the end facilitated by the so-called Blair House (Washington) accords…

Negotiations on agriculture were among the most contentious of the Round, the final Agreement on Agriculture seeking reforms for a ‘fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system’, but with special consideration for poorer countries and for non-trade concerns such as food security, environmental protection or schemes for diversification from narcotic crops and the like.

An excerpt from “The Free Trade Adventure: The WTO, the Uruguay Round and Globalism–a Critique” by Graham Dunkley.

The WTO
As the Uruguay Round concluded in December 1993, the Marrakesh Agreement was signed on 15 April 1994 by 123 participating nations. Officially, the WTO was formed eight months later, ushering a new era for international trade. The WTO replaced GATT as the institutional framework for trade.

1. The WTO shall facilitate the implementation, administration and operation, and further the objectives, of this Agreement and of the Multilateral Trade Agreements, and shall also provide the framework for the implementation, administration and operation of the Plurilateral Trade Agreements.

2. The WTO shall provide the forum for negotiations among its Members concerning their multilateral trade relations in matters dealt with under the agreements in the Annexes to this Agreement. The WTO may also provide a forum for further negotiations among its Members concerning their multilateral trade relations, and a framework for the implementation of the results of such negotiations, as may be decided by the Ministerial Conference.

An excerpt from the Marrakesh Agreement – Article 3 “Functions of the WTO”, 15 April 1994.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that trade liberalization was beneficial to the global economy from 1945 to 2000?

Join our JC History Tuition and find out more about the Bretton Woods System and other areas relating to the global economy. We provide summary notes for H2 History and H1 History as well as practices for essay writing and source based case studies. Attend our online learning classes to develop an analytical mind.

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JC H1 History Tuition - Singapore's Foreign Policy - JC History Essay Notes - Cold War in Asia

What is Singapore’s Foreign Policy?

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]: 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Singapore’s Foreign Policy during the Cold War

Examine Singapore’s Foreign Policy towards Malaysia in view of the Merger-Separation issue. [Video by Channel NewsAsia]

“We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”

— Lord Palmerston, House of Commons, 1 March 1848

What is a ‘foreign policy’?
It refers to a set of strategies employed by the state to protect its domestic and international interests. A ‘foreign policy’ affects the state’s interactions with other states. Ultimately, the policy is implemented to safeguard national interests.

Foreign policies can involve the use of aggressive (military force) or non-coercive means (diplomacy). Also, these policies can also be carried out through engagement with other states in addressing a common challenge, such as regional security threats.

Singapore’s foreign policy: A summary
There are two key foreign policy theories that are covered the A Level H1 History syllabus: Survival and Realism.

1. Survival
One key ideology that shaped Singapore’s foreign policy is the concept of survival. Following the sudden Separation that led to Singapore’s independence in 1965, the government had to deal with political threats and economic challenges.

Amidst the Cold War context, the rise of Communist insurgencies was a common concern that affected the political stability of Southeast Asian nations. In Singapore, the government was challenged by the Barisan Sosialis.

As for the economic viewpoint, the People’s Action Party (PAP) took the first step towards modernisation by embarking on state-led industrialisation. In particular, the government aimed to establish strong trade ties with other countries, including Great Powers like the USA.

The historical roots of Singapore’s political ideology of survival lie in the events following the country’s ejection from Malaysia in 1965. Survival in both political and economic terms for newly independent Singapore was a very real issue for the PAP Government. The government in the period 1965-67 was involved in an intense, often violent struggle, for power against the Barisan Sosialis and the communists.

…In terms of economic policy, the survival ideology is linked with the concept of the “global city” first proposed in 1972 by Singapore Foreign Minister S. Rajaratnam. This concept suggests that if Singapore is to survive, it must establish a relationship of interdependence in the rapidly expanding global economic system.

An excerpt from “SINGAPORE: Reconciling the Survival Ideology with the Achievement Concept” by Lee Boon-Hiok [from the Southeast Asian Affairs 1978]

2. Realism
Realism describes the notion that states should act according to their best interest. From a realist’s perspective, the world is in a constant state of anarchy. Individuals are inherently egoistic and will do anything to pursue power. As such, states should protect their interests through means like the development of an independent defence force as well as the conduct of diplomacy.

Singapore’s interpretation of such a concept and practice was spelled out by Lee Hsien Loong in the same speech as follows:

This policy depends on the competing interests of several big powers in a region, rather than on linking the nation’s fortunes to one overbearing partner. The big powers can keep one another in check and will prevent any one of them from dominating the entire region, and so allow small states to survive in the interstices between them. It is not a foolproof method, as the equilibrium is a dynamic and possibly unstable one, and may be upset if one power changes course and withdraws. Nor can a small state manipulate the big powers with impunity. The most it can hope to do is to influence their policies in its favour.

An excerpt from “Singapore’s Foreign Policy: Coping with Vulnerability” by Michael Leifer

More importantly, Singapore did not rely solely on the goodwill of external powers to manage security challenges. Its emphasis on regionalism and multilateralism was also another vital channel, seen in terms of Singapore’s diplomatic role in ASEAN and the United Nations.

Through Singapore’s consistent lobbying efforts at the United Nations General Assembly, the government was successful in publicise the Cambodian conflict at the international level.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs distinguished itself as a diplomatic dynamo during the course of the Cambodian conflict. The advocacy, lobbying and drafting skills of its officials were employed to great effect within the United Nations against Vietnam and its client government in Phnom Penh. For example, the declaration of the International Conference on Kampuchea held at the UN in 1981 was drafted by Singapore’s delegation. Singapore’s diplomatic success was accomplished through playing on the political sensibilities of states that had been alarmed by the example of a government despatching its army across an internationally recognised boundary to remove an incumbent administration recognised at the United Nations and replacing it with another of its own manufacture.

An excerpt from “Singapore’s Foreign Policy: Coping with Vulnerability” by Michael Leifer

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that Singapore’s foreign policy was largely shaped by Realism.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about Singapore’s foreign policy in response to the Second and Third Indochina Wars. We cover other topics for H1 and H2 History through online discussions and written practices. Also, students will receive summary notes to consolidate their content knowledge.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is New Order - Approaches to Governance JC History Essay Notes

What is New Order?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Search for Political Stability
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme I Chapter 1: Approaches to Governance

Examine the historical developments of Indonesia under Suharto’s New Order – Video by PinterPolitik TV

Historical Context: The 30 September movement
After President Sukarno declared the start of the “Guided Democracy” in 1957, the Indonesian government consolidated political control to restore peace and stability in the nation. However, Sukarno encountered difficulties in managing two notable roles – the military and the Partai Kommunis Indonesia (PKI). As such, he sought to re-energise the Indonesian society through the campaign in West New Guinea and the Konfrontasi, declaring a revival of the Indonesian Revolution.

On 30 September 1965, an abortive coup had resulted in the deaths of six senior generals (later known as the Gerakan 30 September). As the leader of the KOSTRAD (Komando Strategis Angkatan Darat, also known as the Army Strategic Command), General Suharto investigated the incident. Subsequently, the PKI was accused of launching the coup.

The end of Guided Democracy: Supersemar
On 11 March 1966, President Sukarno signed a decree that granted Suharto full political authority to restore order in Indonesia. The transfer of executive power was known as Supersemar (Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret)

III. Memutuskan/Memerintahkan:

Kepada: LETNAN DJENDRAL SUHARTO MENTERI PANGLIMA ANGKATAN DARAT

Untuk: Atas nama Presiden/Panglima Tertinggi/Pemimpin Besar Revolusi:

1. Mengambil segala tindakan yang dianggap perlu untuk terdjaminnja keamanan dan ketenangan, serta kestabilan djalannja pemerintahan dan djalannja Revolusi, serta mendjamin keselamatan pribadi dan kewibawaan Pimpinan Presiden/Panglima Tertinggi/Pemimpin Besar Revolusi/Mandataris M.P.R.S. demi untuk keutuhan Bangsa dan Negara Republik Indonesia, dan melaksanakan dengan pasti segala adjaran Pemimpin Besar Revolusi.

Excerpt from Supersemar (Order of Eleventh March), 11 March 1966.

From the above extract, it states that General Suharto was granted the authority to take any necessary measures to guarantee the security, stability and progress of the Indonesian Revolution.

The New Order
After the Supersemar was signed, the PKI was banned. Between June to July 1966, the membership within the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat Sementara), which operated as the legislative branch of the Indonesian political system, experienced a purge. Individuals that formerly supported Sukarno were removed on the basis of being involved in the 30 September Movement.

Agains the Cold War backdrop, the USA also made observations that the rise of Suharto was a notable development that ushered a period of political stability in Indonesia after Sukarno’s inability to manage the Communist threat in the 1950s and 1960s.

The regime of General Suharto has brought Indonesia to a stage of imposed political stability and the beginnings of economic revival. Although the army holds predominant and ultimate political power, civilian participation in government is considerable and effective.

The New Order sees its basic tasks as the restoration of the economy, the continued suppression of Communism, and the development of stable representative government which would include a substantial political role for the army.

An excerpt taken from the Weekly Summary Special Report: The New Order in Indonesia, Central Intelligence Agency, 11 August 1967.

After the New Order was established, Suharto granted the military a political role to maintain stability. The concept of dwifungsi (dual function) was implemented as a policy to legitimise its role.

Until the fall of Suharto, the military considered dwifungsi to be its function, reason and spirit. The missions of security and socio-political development were inseparable. By directing socio-political development, the military served to support the goals of development, political and social stability, defence and national integrity. Any deviant social or political movement that threatened the status quo was seen as a threat to national security.

An excerpt from “Power Politics and the Indonesian Military” by Damien Kingsbury

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of the military in maintaining political stability of Indonesia under the New Order regime.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the history of Indonesia and other Southeast Asian states. We provide useful study notes, essay outlines and practices for source based case study questions. We conduct online learning programmes for H1 and H2 History students to prepare for the GCE A Level History examinations.

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JC History Tuition - When was Singapore's bilingual policy implemented - JC History Essay National Unity Notes

When was Singapore’s bilingual policy implemented?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Search for Political Stability
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme I Chapter 2: Approaches to National Unity

Historical context
Before independence was achieved in Singapore, its education system comprised of private vernacular schools and government-run schools. The former taught Chinese, Malay and Tamil, while the latter covered English.

On 8 December 1953, the British colonial government published a white paper (titled “Chinese Schools Bilingual Education and Increased Aid”) that proposed bilingual education in Chinese-medium schools. It suggested that financial assistance should be given to schools that taught the English language.

After Singapore attained self-government in 1959, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew delivered a speech that highlighted the significance of bilingualism.

We have in Singapore about 320,000 students. Of these 51% are in English schools, 43 1/2% in Chinese schools, 5% in Malay schools and 1/2% in Tamil schools. If we do nothing about it, we shall produce citizens who can only communicate with those in their own language stream…

Hence the tremendous urgency of getting our students to be bilingual, or even trilingual. Malay is the national language and it should be possible, eventually, for everyone to understand each other through this language. But each racial and cultural group wants, at the same time, to study their mother tongue to keep their links with their cultural heritage. And the Government supports this. And for reasons of employment, many wish to study English as their first foreign language.

An excerpt from a speech by Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew at the Happy World Stadium, 8 December 1959.

As described by Mr Lee, English was taught as a common language for inter-ethnic communication. Also, this language was being emphasised on for business reasons. As for the ‘Mother Tongue’, it was necessary for ethnic communities to preserve their cultural heritage.

The Policy of Bilingualism in the 1960s
After Singapore became independent, the Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English were recognised as the official languages in Singapore, as stated in Article 153A of the Singapore Constitution.

In 1966, the bilingual policy was implemented, in which all students were required to study English and a ‘Mother Tongue’ in schools. Over time, English became the common language for work and social interaction. Additionally, Mathematics and Science were taught in English.

Bilingualism must be emphasised in schools if we are to build a multi-racial society with a national identity

By using the second language as a medium of instruction, children would be exposed to that language for a much longer period and, moreover, would be compelled to speak it, write it and use it as a tool of communication

Excerpt from a speech by The Minister for Education, Mr. Ong Pang Boon, at the Annual Budget Statement of the Minister for Finance, 12 December 1968.

Reviewing the Bilingual Policy: The ‘Goh Report’
In 1978, then Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee and his team published a report (titled ‘Report on the Ministry of Education 1978’) that assessed the effectiveness of the education system in Singapore.

The report revealed that many students struggled to grasp two languages due to the lack of familiarity. For instance, nearly 85% of the Chinese students communicated in dialects at home. As such, English and Mandarin were relatively new to them.

On 5 March 1978, Nanyang University announced that it will prepare undergraduates for the same examination as the University of Singapore. this meant instruction in the English language and written examinations in that language.

An excerpt from the Report on the Ministry of Education 1978 by Dr Goh Keng Swee, 10 February 1979

As such, the New Education System was established in 1979, which included streaming at the primary and secondary levels. Besides, language proficiency was also considered for university admission.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the importance of education in supporting the Singapore Government’s efforts at forging national unity.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn to write essays for topics like Approaches to National Unity. We also cover other H1 and H2 History topics like the United Nations and the Cold War via online class discussions. Attempt writing practices that will be reviewed and marked by the JC History Tutor to be ready for the examinations.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the New Society Movement - Approaches to Governance JC History Essay Notes

What is the New Society Movement?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Search for Political Stability
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme I Chapter 1: Approaches to Governance

Find out what happened during the EDSA Revolution that led to the end of Marcos’ rule in 1986.

Historical context: Declaration of the Martial Law
After Ferdinand Marcos held the second term as President of the Philippines in 1969, the government was hampered by the growing political divisions as well as the outbreak of rebellions.

On 23 September 1972, Marcos declared Martial Law, thus ushering a period of authoritarian rule.

Formation of the New Society Movement
In 1978, Marcos announced that elections would be held to form the Interim National Assembly (Interim Batasang Pambansa). In February, he formed the New Society Movement (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, KBL) that included officials from the Liberal and Nacionalista Parties.

It derived its name from the phrase Bagong Lipunan (“new society”), which Marcos claimed he was establishing with the Martial Law regime: a new society in the sense that it would be rid of the old society’s ills, such as graft and corruption, indiscipline, lack of respect for authority…

An excerpt from “Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor” (by Keat Gin Ooi).

The New Society ideology
Additionally, Marcos advocated the “New Society” to pursue economic modernisation and legitimse his rule.

We speak of a New Society…[Ours is] the dream that someday under somebody, we will be able to build a society that will give every man dignity and decency. And it shall return rationality into our political institutions, into our economy, and into our society… and this dream is what we are trying to implement now. It is the dream of every Filipino…that aspires for progress and modernization.”

An excerpt from “Development and Democratization in the Third World: Myths, Hopes, and Realities” [Edited by Kenneth E. Bauzon).

One of the notable economic policies was the “Prosperity 99” (Masagana 99), which is a self-sufficiency programme to provide credit access to rice farmers. By doing so, these producers can buy land and raise rice production.

Without doubt, the Masagana 99 program contributed significantly to the increase in the rice yield and in total production, especially in 1974 and 1975. The reports issued on Masagana 99 state that yield increases by the 900,000 participating farmers ranged from 0.4 to 1.2 t/ha, depending on the level of their former yields and the extent to which they had adopted modern practices.

An excerpt from “Rice in the Tropics: A Guide to the Development of National Programs” (By Robert Flint Chandler).

The end of Marcos’ Regime: The People Power Revolution
However, Marcos’ New Society was short-lived as internal political disunity and economic setbacks culminated in a large-scale mass demonstration, known as the People Power Revolution, in 1986. Eventually, Marcos left the Philippines, thus allowing Corazon Aquino to facilitate a peaceful democratic transition.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the political stability of the Philippines depended on political leaders?

Join our JC History Tuition and find out how you can consolidate your content for the Approaches to Governance topic, as well as other themes such as the Cold War and United Nations. Our programme is available for students taking either H2 or H1 History. You will receive concise study notes, essay outlines and additional references to make learning productive.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is Guided Democracy - Approaches to Governance JC History Essay Notes

What is Guided Democracy?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Search for Political Stability
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme I Chapter 1: Approaches to Governance

Historical Context: Struggles of a Liberal Democracy
After independence was achieved in Indonesia, a democratic government was formed. Sukarno became the president, while Mohammed Hatta held the vice president position. The 1950 Constitution was drafted to establish a parliamentary system that supported the conduct of regular elections and diverse political representation.

However, the Indonesian government was hampered by political disunity, as observed by absence of a clear majority after the first general elections in 1955.

Furthermore, two competing entities vied for political roles in the government, namely the military and the Communist Party of Indonesia (Partai Kommunis Indonesia, PKI).

Soekarno stressed two themes in particular that had deep meaning for many to whom he spoke. One was the constant political, economic, social, and psychological strife which, though in fact endemic, liberal democracy was damned as having introduced. The continual tensions between Parliament and Cabinet had always brought down Governments before they could accomplish anything; the idea that a loyal opposition was necessary had led to simple obstructionism.

Excerpt from “The Transition to Guided Democracy: Indonesian Politics, 1957-1959” by Daniel S. Lev.

The Guided Democracy: The rise of authoritarianism
As Sukarno realised that the experimentation with liberal democracy was not viable, he introduced the “Guided Democracy“. In the process, he reverted to the 1945 Constitution, which allowed the president to use authoritarian measures and establish control. In 1959, Sukarno dissolved the parliament and personally appointed half of its members.

Also, Sukarno promoted the ‘Nasakom‘ (Nasionalisme, agama, komunisme) philosophy, which entailed nationalism, religion and communism. By doing so, the Nasakom legtimised the increased political involvement of both the PKI and the military.

In installing Guided Democracy in 1957-1959, Sukarno renewed his stress on the fundamental unity of the various ideological streams within Indonesia, and Nasakom became the grounds for including the Partai Kommunis Indonesia (PKI) in a broad range of government institutions from 1960 and including a few far left members in the cabinent from 1962.

Excerpt from “Historical Dictionary of Indonesia” by Robert Cribb and Audrey Kahin.

Third, Guided Democracy was a major step toward military domination of Indonesian politics. In March 1957, Sukarno responded to a series of regional military rebellions by declaring martial law, effectively ending parliamentary rule and legalizing those rebellions…

…Although martial law formally ended in 1963, Guided Democracy greatly expanded the military’s economic resources and established it as the clear leader of a broad coalition of anticommunist forces.

Excerpt from “Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor” by Keat Gin Ooi.

Indonesian Revolution Re-visited: Konfrontasi
A distinctive feature of the Guided Democracy involved the outright rejection of Western influences in the Southeast Asian region.

In December 1961, Indonesian launched Operation Trikora, which was a military campaign to seize the Dutch-controlled New Guinea. This was also known as the “West Irian dispute”.

Another notable incident involved its neighbouring countries, Malaya, Singapore and the Borneo Territories (Sabah and Sarawak). After the Tunku of Malaya announced the creation of the Federation of Malaysia, Sukarno protested by conducting the Confrontation (Konfrontasi).

Aftermath: The 30 September Movement
Although the Guided Democracy seemed to function more effectively than Sukarno’s pre-1957 efforts, the internal division between the PKI and the military persisted. The economic woes further destabilised the nation.

Eventually, the Guided Democracy came to an end when the PKI was accused of the assassination of army officers, which led to Suharto’s swift military intervention.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the reasons for the end of Sukarno’s Guided Democracy.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the history of post-independent Indonesia as well as other Southeast Asian nations for the topic of Approaches to Governance. We also cover other relevant topics for students taking either H1 or H2 History. Join our online learning programme and receive study notes to kick-start your revision. We also support you by reviewing your writing and providing outlines for effective revision.

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