Kirchner expects Cameron to do an about-turn after 180 years of British rule in Falklands

Contributor:  Andrew Elwell
Posted:  01/03/2013  12:00:00 AM EST
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Tags:   falklands

Cristina Kirchner, Argentina’s president, has written an open letter to British prime minister David Cameron imploring his government to bring its colonialism to an end in reference to the Falkland Islands.

“One hundred and eighty years ago on this same date, January 3rd, in a blatant exercises of 19th century colonialism, Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000 km (8,700 miles) away from London,” the letter says.

The debate over the Falklands, or Malvinas, has been raging for some time but at this point it’s likely to remain just that: a debate. It will not – cannot – spill over into conflict because Argentina simply do not have the military clout to see it through nor the economic support to sustain it. The continued posturing from Kirchner is probably a ruse to distract attention away from the problems at home – her popularity is declining and there were large protests against her government in December. The IMF is also thought to be on the verge of expelling Argentina – which would mark the first time it has done so since Czechoslovakia were ousted in 1954 – for failing to submit data on inflation and growth.

Kirchner states: “The question of the Malvinas is also a cause embraced by Latin America and by vast majority of peoples and governments around the world that reject colonialism.” What she fails to mention is the will of the Islanders. A referendum is due next year where the overwhelming majority of residents will vote to remain under British rule.

Thinking about the wider political tussle over the Falklands, Robert Knapp makes a clear argument for this in his reasoned article “The Great Falklands Myth.”

“Tension over the Falkland Islands shows little sign of abating…the intransigence of both sides in regards to the sovereignty issue leaves little room for discussion over the future of the Falklands and the current situation of deadlock if likely to remain for the indefinite future. With the British government seemingly fully committed to the protection of the islands sovereignty there is little that Argentina can do other than keep pushing the diplomatic levers in South America to try to increase their economic isolation. However, the recent discovery of possibly significant oil reserves is likely to lead to a greater pressure for cooperation between the two islands, as Argentina would be the most logical partner to assist in the exploitation and refining of these reserves. The chances of this occurring will depend on a changing of the currently poisonous tone of the debate and this is something that looks unlikely to happen.”

The rhetoric from Argentina last year led defence secretary Philip Hammond to strongly rebuff claims from retired Admirals, such as Admiral Sir John Forster Woodward, about Britain being ill-prepared to defend the islands.

“Despite the rhetoric of the media, there is no evidence at all of any military intention by Argentina nor any military capability by Argentina to attempt to retake the Falkland Islands … I have said very clearly, we are not going to lose the Falklands. We have the assets in position on the Falklands which we didn’t back in the early 1980s that will enable us to see off any acts of aggression.”

According to Klaus Dodds, Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, the UK need not concern itself with questions about acts of aggression from Argentina. He said on BBC Radio 4 this morning that the Foreign Office should politely acknowledge letter but shouldn't take it very seriously.

Have an opinion? Send it in to haveyoursay@defenceiq.com.

To learn more about how the surrounding region plays into the illegal drug trade and what measures are being taken to improve security and surveillance, please click here to download the agenda for the forthcoming CABSEC 13 conference.

Andrew Elwell Contributor:   Andrew Elwell


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