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Flaunting British Neo-Imperialism in Asia-Pacific

By Joseph Thomas

For over a century, the British Empire exerted control over Asia-Pacific, undisguised colonizing India, Burma, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia while conversion and encroaching on larger China, Siam and beyond.

It exploited the people and healthy resources of the region, fueled dispute as it waged fight with rival European powers seeking to carve out their own colonies in Asia and left an fast impact on the region, including racial and territorial feuds still maturation today, e.g. the Rohingya predicament in present-day Myanmar.

Rather than make compensation for its decades of war, defeat and exploitation, the United Kingdom now energetically seeks to reassert itself in the segment alongside the United States who has also spent over a century in the segment posterior what US policymakers plainly acknowledge is American “primacy.”

The Diplomat, a US-European geopolitical announcement focused on Asia-Pacific, described this growth in its article, “The British Are Coming (to Asia).”


The essay featured a singular image, that of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the UK’s newest warships and its largest. It is one of two “colossal warships” UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson recently affianced to send conflicting the creation to assist Washington in its flourishing fight with Beijing.

The author, US Air Force Major John Wright now portion as Japan Country Director, International Affairs, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Honolulu, Hawaii, attempts to erect a certain evidence for the UK’s impasse thousands of miles from its own shores.

The essay admits that the US has few able allies in the segment peaceful to “comply with mutual counterclaim needs over their own territory.” It admits that the US has increasingly looked over Asia for partners. The UK then, is about as over Asia as any intensity partner could be.

The essay records that the UK has already deployed warplanes to Japan in serve to the aforementioned future deployment of British warships to the region. It also suggests that:

…the U.K. could revitalise the old pretence of behaving as a “fleet in being;” its ability to steam where and when it gratified while possessing no major domain would chuck off informal rivals’ military calculus and force them to dedicate changed reconnoitering resources to monitoring the United Kingdom.

In other words, a European military would be deployed in and harass “rivals” conflicting Asia alongside US warships already intent in informal meddling. This, the author concludes, “would be a good advantage to stabilising the confidence troubles of the region.”   

Yet, when deliberation what actually drives “security troubles of the region,” it is clear that the participation of US forces distant over US territory, for example, stationed in South Korea and conducting military exercises along North Korea’s borders in a counsel try to provoke Pyongyang is the problem, not the solution. The serve of British warships and aircraft in the segment will only serve multiply “security troubles” evident in the author’s own comments per the need for “regional rivals” to dedicate to tracking and gripping in check British warships.

Omitted from Major Wright’s sentimental examination of the UK’s ancestral role in Asia-Pacific was the judgment of “gunboat diplomacy,” where the British Empire coerced Asian states into making unilateral concessions to London or face British naval firepower. Chunks of Siam were forged off under hazard of British “gunboat diplomacy,” Hong Kong was undisguised seized by it and other nations further were forced by hazard of military charge to make concessions that benefited only the British.

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US “primacy” in Asia-Pacific now closely resembles British “gunboat diplomacy.” While verbatim gunboats training cannons on the capitals of targeted states is no longer feasible, other means of duress are. These embody options categorised under “soft power” including US-European-funded antithesis groups which may or may not embody armed components. There is also mercantile warfare. When Thailand suspended US-proxy Thaksin Shinawatra and his domestic allies from power, the US followed a campaign of mercantile harm directed at Thailand’s seafood industry and tourism sector.

The US also employs terrorism as seen in the Philippines where Manila’s disaster to mind US demands was quickly followed by the coming of militants from the Islamic State (IS) armed and saved by Washington’s allies in Riyadh. The belligerent group’s remarkable appearance pressured Manila to continue easy the US military’s presence on its territory.

Of course, just as the British Empire hid exposed imperialism behind the fig root of “spreading civilisation,” modern-day neo-imperialism hides behind the stratagem of bringing “stability” as good as fostering “democracy” and “human rights” to the 4 corners of the globe. In reality, UK warships opposed “regional rivals” thousands of miles from London is a approach try to invert fortitude in Asia-Pacific. The British commanding their will on Asia by the hazard of military competence undermines informal and inhabitant self-determination, the very conflicting of fostering democracy.  And a republic commanding its will by hazard of force is an apparent aspersion human rights.

Despite these apparent facts, we can design publications like The Diplomat to continue compelling US-British nosiness conflicting Asia-Pacific. We can also design the many aspects of US-European “soft power” conflicting the segment to further promote such meddling. However, it should be noted, that Washington’s need to find allies in Asia as distant over Asia as northwest Europe illustrates America’s loss change in Asia to start with. British impasse in Asia-Pacific will only check the unavoidable dismissal of US change from the region. The only doubt is, for how prolonged and at what cost to both the British taxpayers and the people of Asia who must wand off attempts to disrupt, destabilise and destroy their hard-earned autonomy and achievements post-British Empire.

Joseph Thomas is arch editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and writer to the online repository “New Eastern Outlook”, where this essay first appeared.

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