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United Kingdom: from Brexit to looking to Asia

N°13-01/05/2021 The "Integrated Review of Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy" published on March 16 develops the future strategic axes of the United Kingdom in the context of the post-Brexit and of a fast changing world in the balance of power within imperialism.

This "Global Britain in a Competitive Age" aims to give a long-term direction to the international and defense policy of the United Kingdom. Unsurprisingly, given the impetuous development of capitalist Asia, the focus is on the Asia-Pacific area considered: "the new geopolitical center of the world". This view echoes that of the USA, which since Obama has considered Asia as the main site of confrontation between the great Western powers and their allies and China. In this sense, the United Kingdom, which has a strong colonial experience in Asia-Pacific, intends to integrate into the transpacific partnership (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership). This agreement is in force for the seven countries that have ratified it: Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. At the same time, the United Kingdom is seeking to get closer to ASEAN (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). Founded in the midst of the Cold War, this organization aimed to fight and contain communism in Asia, like NATO. Today, it is about countering China a competitor in rapid capitalist development. At the same time, the United Kingdom remains a pivot of NATO in Europe, where it is very much behind the United States.
These guidelines should not displease the United States, which is working to tighten its military alliances against China. This is the meaning of the intense US diplomatic activity in Asia over the past week. Thus, the trip to Tokyo, then to Seoul on Wednesday, of the head of the American diplomacy Anthony Blinken, alongside the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, marks the first visit abroad of high representatives of President Joe Biden’s administration. And comes after a virtual meeting last week of the "Quad" (the quadrilateral security dialogue between the leaders of the United States, Japan, Australia and India).
The United Kingdom, while considering China as a "partner" – the importance of the Chinese market and the dynamism of its economy are not to be ignored – therefore intends to be part of the process of confrontation driven by the USA. The desire recently expressed by the United Kingdom to significantly increase its nuclear potential, which is a first in a long time, testifies to the global role it intends to play. As its abilities constrain it to keep within a certain limit, it is clear that Brexit and its relative marginalization in Europe is dragging it towards increased dependence on US imperialism. This search for a place in global competition is leading the United Kingdom to the strategic reorientation underway and at the same time its limits place it even more under the domination of the United States. These new strategic orientations, show that the balance of power, economic, military and political are undergoing rapid change. What is emerging before our eyes reflects a permanent competition that is increasingly exacerbated with the development of capitalism. It is the search for and the grabbing of natural resources and their exploitation, the opening of new markets. These confrontations within the imperialist system are taking a heavy toll on the peoples and increase the dangers of an enlarged war which would follow the multiple regional conflicts fueled by the imperialist powers.