This is an edited extract of a speech delivered to open the Australia-UK Asia Dialogue, co-hosted by the Lowy Institute and Ditchley Foundation, and supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Whether or not Brexit was a wise move for the United Kingdom, British efforts in the aftermath to push the case for a ‘Global Britain’ are both sensible and inevitable. Britain is right to remind itself and others that it remains, among other things, the world’s fifth largest economy, a member of the UN Security Council and of the nuclear club, and a significant player in many global activities. An increased British diplomatic and economic presence within the Indo-Pacific is a welcome development. But the accompanying promises of greater military engagement in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere do not ring true.