Britain returns to the Pacific. 1 of 2. Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.

May 17, 2018, 12:43 AM


(Photo:Sydney Cove fra Dawes Point, 1817 )

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Britain returns to the Pacific. 1 of 2.  Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.  

Britain Comes Home to the World, But Where Is Its Plan? Analysis. By GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Indo-Pacific staff. Britain intends to de-ploy the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier battle group to the Pacific by 2021. By early May 2018, the Royal Navy had just concluded a series of military exercises with units from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. The UK had already re-discovered its “East of Suez” rôle with its military deployments in Afghanistan over the past two decades, and had awakened its naval base in Bahrain, at Mina Salman. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in July 2017 spoke of Britain’s desire for a re-newed and strong relationship with Australia, and presumably with other Common-wealth members in the Indo- Pacific region, once it is free of its commitments to the Eu-ropean Union (EU). Now, of course, Britain must come cap-in-hand back to its family in the Indo-Pacific it had once dominated. Worse, despite the reality that many Commonwealth states in the Indo-Pacific have strong familial feelings for the UK (none more so than Australia and New Zealand, and, in the north-western Pacific, Canada), the UK has returned impover-ished to the bosom of its family. It had progressively spent its vigor and resources on the EU, so that now its defense capabilities and budget meant that it would have to look its Indo-Pacific partners directly in the eye. Britain could not expect to resume its regional rôle with the same paternalism it had en-joyed even through the 1950s.