16: Britain’s Pivot to Asia: The Big Picture1

Authors: and

Despite being the world’s fifth largest economy when measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP),2 having the sixth largest military budget,3 being a nuclear power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), and member of, inter alia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the G7, the United Kingdom (UK) is facing a period of deep uncertainty. This uncertainty is in part borne out of “Brexit,” but equally significantly is borne out of a requirement, amid decreasing economic and military power, to redefine its role in the world and adapt to the changing geopolitical, economic and military landscape – a landscape that potentially has Asia as its fulcrum and Southeast Asia at its heart.4

The UK economy is dominated by the service sector that accounts for 80 per cent of GDP5 and as such the UK is heavily reliant on trade to satisfy the needs of its citizens and businesses. This trade is in part facilitated by the UK’s “Red Ensign”6 merchant navy fleet, which is the tenth largest in the world,7 and the Royal Navy, which is widely considered to be one of the top five most powerful navies,8 yet both had been in decline until recently, numerically in terms of ship numbers and also in terms of influence.9 This decline is not without consequence, most acutely in respect of the Royal Navy’s ability to deploy globally and simultaneously to various areas of operation.

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 29 23 4
Full Text Views 14 0 0
PDF Downloads 2 0 0


You are not currently authorised to access the full text of this chapter or article.
Access options
To access the full chapter or article then please choose one of the options below.
Pay to access content (PDF download and unlimited online access)
Other access options
Redeem Token
Institutional Login
Log in via Open Athens or Shibboleth. Please contact your librarian if you need any help.
Login with Institutional Access
Personal Login
Login to your BUP account with your individual credentials.
Login with BUP account

Institutional librarians can find more information about free trials here