Is Brexit bringing Britain back to Southeast Asia?

UK-ASEAN Business Council (UK-ABC) Lunch Meeting.

The simple answer to the question is: no.

This whole Brexit thing is all about the European Union and how resilient the union is when it faces a challenge coming from the withdrawal of one of its members. Anything else, including this topic, is just a mere side-dish in a feast of a full course meal. The real debate and discussion should lie on the fact that Britain has lost its importance and significance in world politics.

Therefore, what does it mean for Britain?

First off, Southeast Asia is, as much as I hate to say this, a battleground for great powers in the greater Indo-Pacific region such as China and the United States. In the next five or ten years, Southeast Asian countries should gear up for possible additional player in the region, India — and Southeast Asian countries will have to welcome India with open arms. As important as this region could be, even a country like Australia should work really hard to maintain its significance and relevance in the region, because Southeast Asian countries will be busy taking care of China, the US, and India.

Conclusion

If the UK really wants to make a comeback to Southeast Asia, the UK has to rethink its strategy. Southeast Asia is a very — if not the most — vibrant region today and in the years to come. The UK cannot just treat Southeast Asia as a Plan B because it withdrew from the EU and needs to find remedy for the losses it got from making bad decisions in the past. The UK should treat Southeast Asia as if the region is special, because as a matter of fact, the region, is, special. That being said, if Britain wants to join the game in Southeast Asia, I will just reiterate what I have just said, Britain has to offer something that ASEAN’s immediate neighbors and other great powers, like China and the US, do not or cannot offer.

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International Relations enthusiast

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Angelo Wijaya

Angelo Wijaya

International Relations enthusiast