Thatcher’s determination

March 23rd, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Jill Lawless at NZ Herald reports:

Margaret Thatcher felt betrayed by close ally President Ronald Reagan over the Falkland Islands, according to newly released papers that reveal how isolated Britain’s Prime Minister was in her determination to repel the Argentine invasion by force.

When Argentina seized the British territory off the South American coast in April 1982, Thatcher’s Government presented a united front in public.

But private papers released yesterday by the Thatcher archive at Cambridge University show that the British leader’s closest advisers urged her to negotiate over the islands’ future rather than go to war.

And the Reagan Administration backed a peace plan that called for Britain to drop its insistence on self-determination for the islanders – a stance that led Thatcher to say Anglo-American friendship had brought her “into conflict with fundamental democratic principles”.

I think it is simple. If any other person had been Prime Minister, the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands would have been successful, and they would still be in possession of the islands today.

It reminds me of that great quote along the lines that if you think one person can’t make a difference, the history of the world is quite the opposite.

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Falklands vote to stay British

March 12th, 2013 at 4:06 pm by David Farrar

The results of the Falkland Islands referendum are just in. The question was:

Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?

There are 1,672 adults eligible to vote. 1,517 votes were cast which is a 90.73% turnout.

There was one invalid vote. Excluding that there were 1,513 yes votes and three no votes. That is a yes vote percentage of 99.80%.

The Argentinian claim to the islands is flimsy – their period of sovereignty was a total of two months – from December 1832 to January 1833. It is also worth noting that on three occasions the UK offered to take the dispute to mediation with the International Court of Justice. Argentina has declined every time.

The right to self-determination is the key issue for me. The residents are mainly descended from families who have lived there since the 1830s. This is their home, and their only home.  Their wishes must remain paramount.

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Will there be another Falklands conflict?

January 13th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Daily Telegraph reports:

A series of military options are being actively considered as the war of words over the islands intensifies.

It is understood that additional troops, another warship and extra RAF Typhoon combat aircraft could be dispatched to the region ahead of the March referendum on the Falkland Islands’ future.

The people of the Falklands have the right of self-determination. There may only be 3,000 or so of them but that is more than Tokelau and Niue.

In the last referendum in 1986, 96.5% voted for British sovereignty, 1.7% for independence and 0.3% for Argentine sovereignty.

Intelligence chiefs have warned David Cameron that a resounding “yes” vote could lead to an aggressive “stunt” by the Argentine government, such as the planting of the country’s flag on the island by a small raiding party.

Other possibilities include a “cod war” style harassment campaign by the Argentine navy of the Falklands’ fishing fleet and the disruption of British oil and gas exploration.

Such a move, officers have warned, could quite quickly escalate into aggressive action if the Royal Navy was ordered to intervene.

Or Argentina could just respect the rights of the people whose families have lived there for 170 years or so.

Despite the increasing hostile rhetoric from Argentine president Cristina Kirchner, the British government believes that Buenos Aries currently lacks both the political will and military capability to recapture the islands.

But the Prime Minister has told his cabinet and senior defence chiefs that Britain should not be complacent and must be fully prepared for every eventuality.

Just last week the Mr Cameron insisted that Britain would not shirk from defending the islands if Argentina attempted another invasion.

So could Argentina try to invade again?

Argentina is facing serious economic problems and President Kirchner’s popularity ratings have never been lower. But one of the few unifying forces within Argentine politics is the country’s claim over “Las Malvinas” – the Spanish name for the islands.

The problem with an invasion is it makes you popular initially, but less so after you get defeated.

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A Falklands referendum

June 14th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

David Cameron moved to bolster international diplomatic support for British sovereignty of the Falkland Islands when it was announced that the islanders will hold a referendum on their political status next year.

Cameron accused the Argentinian government of trying to shout down the islanders’ voices and said the poll would be overseen by international observers. There has been no public affirmation of the Falklands’ links with Britain since an opinion poll in 1986.

This is a good idea. The people of the Falklands are the ones who should determine their future. The reality is that the UK would be quite happy for the Falklands to give up British sovereignty, if that is what the locals wanted. But for so long as the islanders wish to be a democratic territory of the UK, then they will protect and defend their right to self-determination.

The chairman of the Falkland Islands legislative assembly, Gavin Short, said the referendum had not been imposed by the British. “I have no doubt that the people of the Falklands wish for the islands to remain a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. We certainly have no desire to be ruled by the government in Buenos Aires, a fact that is immediately obvious to anyone who has visited the islands and heard our views. But we are aware that not everyone is able to come to these beautiful islands and to see this reality for themselves,” he said.

The referendum would be organised by the Falkland Islands government and take place in the first half of 2013, Short said. “We will invite independent, international observers to observe the process and verify its outcome. Exact timings, the specific wording of the question, and other details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Argentina would be well advised to stop trying to bully their way into the islands. It won’t work.

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That will teach the British

February 28th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Provincial Argentine authorities stopped a cruise liner flying the Bermudan flag from docking in one of the country’s ports on Monday, upping the ante in the country’s spat with Britain over the Falklands.

Britain and Argentina fought a 10-week war over the Falkland Islands in 1982 after Argentina invaded the South Atlantic archipelago, which the Argentines call Las Malvinas. The conflict claimed 900 lives.

Tensions have risen before the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict this year and oil exploration by British companies off the islands has raised the stakes.

Bermuda is an overseas territory of Britain, which is why the liner was prohibited from docking in the southern port of Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego province, state news agency Telam said on Monday.

Stopping a Bermudan flagged cruise liner from docking at Ushuaia sure will punish the UK and teach the Brits a lesson.  I expect they will hand over the Falklands this week under that sort of pressure.

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