The Falklands: Small Islands, Big Questions | Hoover Institution

The most interminable and seemingly intractable international island dispute is over the Falkland Islands in the remote South Atlantic. The islands have been under de facto British control continuously since 1833, even before Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom.

Thirty-one years ago next month, Argentina invaded the Falklands—which Argentines call the Malvinas—claiming, as they have for 180 years, that the islands are theirs. Great Britain repelled them in ten weeks, but not before the loss of more than 900 lives, much treasure, and good will. Argentina has pledged not to invade again, in large part because Great Britain has fortified defenses in the islands since the war and the Argentine military is more restrained.

The Falklands: Small Islands, Big Questions by William Ratliff

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Photo credit: The office of the President of Ecuador)

But while shooting is currently out, that doesn’t mean diplomacy is in. Just mention the Falklands anytime in the presence of Argentine and British politicians and they usually shout past each other in monotonous scripted sound bites. What is needed, but seldom found, particularly in Argentina, are cool heads to replace political grandstanding of the sort demonstrated by Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner when she recently visited Rome to lobby the new (Argentine) Pope Francis to support Argentina in the Falklands dispute.

via The Falklands: Small Islands, Big Questions | Hoover Institution.

A nice piece from the Hoover Institution, though I don’t think there is any real chance for Britain and the Islanders to reach out to Argentina while Kirchner is still in charge.

Frankly, that’s one of the things that greatly annoys me. Argentina by all rights should be a fabulously wealthy nation, but they consistently drag themselves back to mediocrity at best by choosing the divisive politics of class warfare. Want to see what decades of Obama style government get you? Look at Argentina.

6 thoughts on “The Falklands: Small Islands, Big Questions | Hoover Institution”

  1. Juan Peron started them down the road Kirchner has kept the Argies on. I seriously doubt they will ever get off or turn around. Argentina used to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but the Peronists fixed that.

  2. Latin America has always had problems with class warfare. Look at Mexico in the 20th century and places like Venezuela and Ecuador today. Almost makes you think that a nation’s culture is important.

  3. Being Irish-American, I’m no Anglophile but it seems like a different situation than Northern Ireland/Ulster or even for that matter Wales or Scotland. Was it really inhabited prior to the Euros going there? Seems like it traded hands alot until the Brits took it over. At this point, the UK is governing the island without costing the Argentianians any money. Perhaps the UK could ease up travel restrictions but its not like place is Turks and Caicos.

    1. dnice – there is a lot of propaganda and BS (on both sides to a degree), but by all reasonable accounts they were uninhabited until the British.

      ” … the first recorded sighting of the Falkland Islands was by the English explorer John Davis who in August 1592 was blown by a storm into ‘certaine Isles never before discovered’. Davis’ account was published in 1600 in London by Richard Hakluyt. Davis was followed by the English seaman Sir Richard Hawkins in 1594 and the Dutch explorer Sebald de Weert who visited in January 1600. The first recorded landing on the uninhabited islands took place on West Falkland on 27 January 1690, when the English sea captain John Strong came ashore. Strong named the passage between the two Islands ‘Falkland’s Sound’ and Lord Falkland’s name later became attached to the entire main Islands group. ”

      Some of the families on the Islands now can trace back ~9 generations, to a time before Argentina existed as a country (and in a slight dig at mine hosts and their fence-sitting presidents, longer than the US has controlled Texas … !). Apart from the period in 1982 there has been unbroken British / Overseas Dependency rule since ~1830, reiterated with the recent Referendum and stating the founding principle of the UN, the right to self-determination.

      The silly thing is if Argentina hadn’t been such giant d*cks in 1982 a political solution (leaseback, buying-off the islanders, slow transfer of power etc) would probably have been signed and done. Even now, though it will take decades before anyone might even think of wanting to be with the Argies instead of the UK, it still makes sense for the two to get on, have transport links, especially if workable oil is found, since it will need transporting, processing and offloading somewhere (all with economic benefits). Silly lefty socialist governments!

    2. Prior to the 1982 invasion, there were no real travel restrictions. The primary provider of air transport to the islands was the state airline of Argentina. Right now, it’s the Argentine government that has imposed travel restrictions, prohibiting direct flights and shipping from Argentina to the islands or vice versa.

  4. Thanks for the replies elizzar and xbradtc. I took Latin-American studies at Rutgers as a minor so I’m familar with Argentinia’s internal issues but i dont see why the Falklands shouldn’t remain British.

    Also, I read the book Armed Conflict (see http://www.amazon.com/Armed-Conflict-Lessons-Modern-Warfare/dp/0891418032 ) several years ago now. It had a good chapter on the Battle of Goose Green addressing long deployment distances and how small unit training by the British as the key to victory.

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