SEOUL – A complex range of strategic, diplomatic and trade imperatives are intersecting as the UK’s Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group sails into the Indo-Pacific on its first operational deployment.
At a time when the West is engaged in soul-searching over past misdeeds, history hangs heavy.
Much of Indo-Pacific is former Imperial territory, with the UK having formerly colonized India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore. The UK has also fought multiples wars in the region, from the imperial aggression of the Opium Wars to the hellish battles of the Pacific and Korean conflicts to low-level jungle campaigns in post-war Malaya and Borneo.
But millennial Britain – a middle power at best – is hardly positioned to re-establish any kind of hegemony in millennial Asia.