Support the
Henry Jackson
Society

Our work is only possible through the generosity of private philanthropy. Find out how you can support our mission and can contribute to our work.

Members' log in
Asia
January 22, 2018

Britain can be a power in Asia

by
John Hemmings
and
James Rogers

Recently the Lowy Institute’s Aaron Connelly argued that there is not much Britain can do in Asia because British power is diminishing. This is unsurprising.

One of the biggest challenges in international relations is ascertaining a given state’s place in the international system. People often get it wrong, they sometimes confuse power with capability and, like author Paul Kennedy, miss important trends, such as the information revolution.

While it’s true the UK will incur costs from leaving the EU, the numbers reveal a more positive story than Connelly suggests. Furthermore, the UK’s strong set of institutional, governance, and economic capabilities – comprising actual as well as latent power – will mean greater UK engagement in the world. Indeed, the UK already sees itself moving toward the constellation of states, including Australia, concerned with maintaining the rules-based order from would-be revisionists.

As a 2017 Henry Jackson Society report based on 59 indicators showed, the UK’s total geopolitical capability remains very high despite its decision to leave the EU. Indeed, many of the dire predictions made prior to the referendum have simply not occurred. Nor are there indicators that they might yet happen.

Read more on the Lowy Institute

John Hemmings

About John Hemmings

Dr. John Hemmings is the founding Director of the Asia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society and an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His research focuses on East Asia, Japan, Korea, China, India, and their relations with the West

Full profile  |  See all of John Hemmings's work

James Rogers

About James Rogers

James Rogers is a founding member of The Henry Jackson Society and the Director of our ‘Global Britain’ Programme. He holds expertise in British grand strategy, European geopolitics and Baltic security, as well as European influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Full profile  |  See all of James Rogers's work