Green Room

Argentina’s leftist leader still ranting about the Falkland Islands

posted at 3:48 pm on March 28, 2013 by

Cristina Kirchner’s insatiable appetite for self-serving preening over the Falkland Islands isn’t subsiding any time soon, it seems.  Just weeks after Falklanders went to the polls and nearly unanimously voted to remain British, Argentina’s populist-leftist president has taken her tirade to Twitter:

Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner fired off a stream of angry tweets Wednesday night after a United Nations meeting where she championed the cause of wresting the Falkland Islands from British rule. “Multilateralism and anticolonialism very good. See how I love to speak English?” she seethed in one translation by The Washington Times. “An English territory more than 12,000 kilometers away? The question is not even worthy of a kindergarten of three year olds,” she tweeted to her 1.8 million followers, according to a translation by The London Telegraph.

But the question was worthy of a popular referendum, though, and Cristina’s designs were unmistakably rebuked by the “victims” of British colonialism.  Undeterred, Cristina has even asked the new Pope — with whom she’s apparently had “frosty” relations for some time — to intervene in the matter.  What’s driving this obsession?  Perhaps it’s the nakedly political hope of fomenting nationalistic fervor over this dispute in order to distract the Argentinian populace from the country’s economic decay.  Via Foreign Policy:

After riding the commodities boom for most of the past decade, the global recession has depressed demand and Argentina is now feeling the pain of President Kirchner’s brand of populist economic policies. Economic growth has dropped from 9 percent to 2.2 percent, inflation has increased to approximately 24 percent, and unemployment stands at 7.6 percent. So, what is a good populist leader to do? Try to distract the populace’s attention by resurrecting historical grievances.

Under orders from PM Margaret Thatcher, the British military repelled an Argentinian invasion of the Falklands in 1982; the incident proved to be a disastrous gambit by Argentina’s struggling ruling military junta to stir nationalistic passions.  The Union Jack has flown over the islands ever since, in accordance with the strong wishes of their inhabitants.  President Obama inflamed the British government last year by asserting American neutrality over control of the Falklands.  Obama provocatively tried to use the Argentinian term to describe the archipelago, the “Malvinas,” but he butchered it, mistakenly calling them the “Maldives.”   The Maldives are a group of islands in the Indian Ocean.  Smart power.

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