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The containment of the relative decline of the United Kingdom: the British strategic retrenchment in the Indo-Pacific (1990-2021)

Grant number: 21/06878-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2022
Effective date (End): July 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - International Politics
Principal researcher:Samuel Alves Soares
Grantee:João Vitor Tossini
Home Institution: Instituto de Políticas Públicas e Relações Internacionais (IPPRI). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The main objective of this research is to analyse how the strategic retrenchment of the United King in the post-Cold War years was handled, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region. This area East of Suez has an increasing geostrategic relevance since the 1990s while it is characterised by a relatively smaller British presence than the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Despite that smaller presence, the United Kingdom has defence agreements, overseas territories and expanding military bases in the region. Furthermore, the UK is one the largest economies in the world, having a significant Defence budget and industry, a global system of military power projection, in addition to being a prominent member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council of and a central member of the Commonwealth of Nations. These factors support the research hypothesis that London adopted retrenchment strategies that eased its relative decline and adjusted the country to a new position, moving it from a hegemonic status to a "pocket superpower" that did not strategically abandon the Indo-Pacific. The research helps to understand how the Great Powers manage their relative decline and stands out for differing from most analyses in the area by focusing on the process of the management of a Great Power's decline, placing the causes of decline as secondary issues.

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