The “Integrated Review of Security, Development Defense and Foreign Policy,” released last week, underscores the U.K. government’s commitment to “Global Britain.” High on its list of priorities is the Indo-Pacific region: The review pledges that London will be “deeply engaged” with the region, which is emerging as the global “geopolitical and economic center of gravity.”

It’s a common sentiment. National governments and the European Union itself have recognized the need for more systematic and strategic engagement with Indo-Pacific partners. While encouraging, hopes should be tempered. Europe is a long way away, and history, distance and the EU’s priorities will limit those governments’ attempts to shape regional developments. Europe can add ballast to Asian affairs, but it is unlikely to actively influence them.

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