UK rebuffs Argentina on negotiations over Falkland Islands

posted at 8:01 am on January 3, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Call it Madison Avenue diplomacy, or at least the London equivalent of Madison Avenue.  Argentina’s president bought ad space in left-leaning British newspapers to publish an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, urging him to open negotiations on the transfer of sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.  Instead, Cameron sent a stark warning in reply that the UK “would do everything to protect the interests of the Falkland Islanders”:

In an open letter to Mr Cameron, published as an advert in the Guardian newspaper and the Independent, President Fernandez repeats calls for the islands – which are known as the Malvinas in Argentina – to come under the sovereignty of her nation.

The Argentine president says the islands were forcibly stripped from Argentina in “a blatant exercise of 19th Century colonialism”.

Downing Street said the prime minister would “do everything to protect the interests of the Falklands islanders.”

Mr Cameron’s spokesman said the people of the Falklands had shown “a clear desire to remain British” and the Argentine government should respect their right to self determination.

It’s difficult to know whether Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wants to be taken seriously, or just posture for domestic purposes.  A serious effort would use actual diplomats rather than the sales offices of the Guardian and Independent, in the UN if not in the UK.  This looks like political grandstanding, but it got perhaps a stronger response than Fernandez anticipated.  The reply makes it clear that the UK is prepared to defend the islands militarily yet again, if it comes down to that.

Fernandez’ position is complicated by a referendum scheduled for March among the 3,000 Islanders to determine the political will of the residents.  The current Falkland government made their position clear, stating that they were “not a colony,” and that their association with the UK was entirely voluntary.  “Unlike the government of Argentina,” the statement continued, “the United Kingdom respects the right of our people to determine our own affairs, a right that is enshrined in the UN Charter and which is ignored by Argentina.” That doesn’t sound as though the referendum will go well for Fernandez.

That’s why she now claims that the self-determination of the current residents of the Falkland Islands is irrelevant.  Argentina now argues that the British planted people on the island over the last 180 years of sovereignty, and that the people currently living on the islands — which are more than 250 miles away from Argentina, by the way — should be ineligible for self-determination.  It’s a cute argument, as it does away with the question of self-determination at all — but by the same measure, most Argentinians would be ineligible for self-determination, as their population came mainly from colonial expansion from a couple of centuries before.  What’s the cutoff?  181 years? 241 years? 369 years?

No one can be expected to take this seriously, but Cameron is clearly taking no chances.  Fernandez seems eager to exploit this to escape from the consequences of her economic policies by distracting Argentinians with fantasies of Las Malvinas again.


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Comment pages: 1 2

verbaluce on January 3, 2013

…master muffdiver!

KOOLAID2 on January 3, 2013 at 3:03 PM

The long-running “Most Admired Woman In America”–Hillary–added to the lie last year by announcing to the world that Britain ought to negotiate with the Argentinians.

itsnotaboutme on January 3, 2013 at 8:59 AM

What lie?

Dante on January 3, 2013 at 9:09 AM

The lie that the Falklands belong to Argentina, of course.

itsnotaboutme on January 3, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Argentina has come to the Imperialist colonial power party a little late. Apart from having zip/nada claims on the Falklands, they have an equally ludicrous claim on their less distant neighbors, e.g. Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, or Brazil

trl on January 3, 2013 at 3:17 PM

If the Falklands belong to Argentina, than Texas belongs to Mexico…Alaska to Russia, California Mexico, Louisiana, France…America back to England.

right2bright on January 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM

As Britain has been our staunch ally and stalwart battle companion in our Icrap and Asscrackistan adventure over the last decade, I, for one, will happily deploy with Harry & Co. to kick the living sh** out of the Kirchener Kids.

Can we invade the mainland this time? I hear you can get a good plate of grub in Buenos Fairies.

/not kidding

M240H on January 3, 2013 at 3:46 PM

. . . . . sort of funny to see such objection to Argentina’s rationale here…with all the ranting against ‘imperialism’ etc.

verbaluce on January 3, 2013 at 8:59 AM

.
Good to see someone else gets it.

Dante on January 3, 2013 at 9:01 AM

.
Well it sure as (expletive) ain’t you two.

That’s one of the reasons Ron Paul didn’t win the the Republican nomination (among others).

listens2glenn on January 3, 2013 at 4:57 PM

If the Falklands belong to Argentina, than Texas belongs to Mexico…Alaska to Russia, California Mexico, Louisiana, France…America back to England.

right2bright on January 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM

.
But that’s pretty much the Liberal’s point.

In their mind the United States is an illegitimate country that should be abolished.

They’re working as hard as they can at that, right now.

listens2glenn on January 3, 2013 at 5:01 PM

And of course the UK just wants it for the pretty views.

verbaluce on January 3, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Perhaps the most vapid comment ever on Hot Air.

Tomblvd on January 3, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Um…
Welcome to Hot Air!
(And next time, read through a little.)

verbaluce on January 3, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Well it sure as (expletive) ain’t you two.

That’s one of the reasons Ron Paul didn’t win the the Republican nomination (among others).

listens2glenn on January 3, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Wha huh?

verbaluce on January 3, 2013 at 5:56 PM

The reply makes it clear that the UK is prepared to defend the islands militarily yet again, if it comes down to that.

Yes, but this time you’ve got Obama as your ally. Uh, oh…

yubley on January 3, 2013 at 6:05 PM

No, my expectations of verbaluce are low, but I didn’t expect him to fail so miserably. verbaluce failed worse than I thought he would.

How difficult would it have been for him to copy and paste a talking point that made a coherent argument?

blink on January 3, 2013 at 4:17 PM

The correct answer to your question is, “Obviously, doing so was too difficult for verbaloser!” :)

Anti-Control on January 3, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Um…
Welcome to Hot Air!

I was reading this stuff when it was Captain’s Quarters. (not a direct link, but pretty close)

(And next time, read through a little.)

No, you tell me why your statement makes sense.

Tomblvd on January 3, 2013 at 6:26 PM

According to Wikipedia, the Falklands were uninhabited when the Europeans arrived. The Europeans displaced nobody to live there, specifically nobody who would currently identify as Argentinian.

Sekhmet on January 3, 2013 at 6:48 PM

There has just been documents released under the Freedom of Information act explaining the not so special relationship between Thatcher and Reagan during the Falklands war.

Reagan, yielding to advisers who regarded Britain’s insistence on retaining sovereignty over the sparsely populated islands as a colonial anachronism, urged the prime minister to show magnanimity rather than force the invading Argentine troops to surrender, and to reach a cease-fire deal providing for a shared Argentine-British role in the islands’ future and a joint American-Brazilian peacekeeping force.

“The best chance for peace was before complete Argentine humiliation,” the memo recorded Reagan as saying. “As the U.K. now had the upper hand, it should strike a deal now,” rather than act in a way that further hardened Argentine feelings

.
But the memo said Mrs. Thatcher rejected the president’s appeal for talks three times, becoming more emphatic each time. “Britain had not lost precious lives in battle and sent an enormous task force to hand over the queen’s islands to a contact group,” Mrs. Thatcher told him, adding a brusque reminder that Britain had been forced to “act alone, with no outside help,” in recovering the islands, an oblique reference to the American refusal to be drawn directly into the conflict on the British side.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2253926/How-US-nearly-betrayed-enemy-Secretary-State-threatened-tell-Argentina-British-troops-landing-South-Georgia.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

mags on January 3, 2013 at 6:51 PM

In the event that the Falklands fell, England could load their two
F-35s on HMS Bulwark, HMS Ocean, or HMS Illustrious and regain air supremacy over the islands.

The Royal Navy would control the southern Atlantic and thus prevent Argentina from reinforcing their troops by sea or air even if the F-35s weren’t used.

The Argentine air force would be destroyed in any attempt to take the islands.

Argentina has no special forces of note, and England could land SBS and SAS raiding parties on an occupied Falklands eventually retaking them.

goatweed on January 3, 2013 at 10:54 PM

goatweed – in terms of numbers, both the Argentine military and that of the UK are a fraction of what they were in the last one.

RN subs could probably deal with Argentine surface forces but if the Argentinians did manage to get a force on the islands I’m not convinced the Brits could get anything down there capable of forcing them off except perhaps through starvation.

The Royal Navy got exceptionally lucky last time, the Argie navy mostly ran off and hid after the Belgrano went under and the air force, who proved as brave as they come, didn’t figure out until too late (in those pre-Twitter days) that their old bomb safeties didn’t have ten seconds to unscrew when dropped from 200 feet so mostly they went in one side of the Brit tin cans and out the other without going boom. The RN defensive AA armament mostly proved useless.

JEM on January 4, 2013 at 2:01 AM

RN subs could probably deal with Argentine surface forces but if the Argentinians did manage to get a force on the islands I’m not convinced the Brits could get anything down there capable of forcing them off except perhaps through starvation.

JEM on January 4, 2013 at 2:01 AM

The British already have a force in place if they wish to use it.

They could arm the locals. Give every adult resident of the Falklands an assault rifle and a cheap RPG/LAW type weapon.

Mind you… this would require Euro-weenies having to admit a truth about the wisdom of the US Constitution that aren’t willing to face.

Alberta_Patriot on January 4, 2013 at 9:07 AM

The Argies are only capable of acting tough when they are throwing people out of helicopters.

EnglishRogue on January 4, 2013 at 10:22 AM

The Argies are only capable of acting tough when they are throwing people out of helicopters.

EnglishRogue on January 4, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Yeah but the problem is the British aren’t that much better. Their nation is in ruins, military included.

As JEM noted, the defenders basically got very lucky last time. If the Argies had happened to have a European adviser to tell them “ayeah…gonna need to drop those bombs from higher up,”, the British naval forces would have suffered terribly.

MelonCollie on January 6, 2013 at 10:32 PM

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