The stance taken by the Argentine President and now the county’s foreign minister over the Falkland Islands is not only absurd but also irresponsible and very dangerous.
It is the Argentine refusal to relinquish their claims as well as their continual rhetoric that forces the UK to maintain a healthy military presence in the area. Why troops and aircraft are stationed there and ships such as HMS Dauntless are sent down there.
Had Argentina made efforts to make friends with the islanders and support and help them rather than ban their vessels from Argentine ports as well as persuading other countries in the Mercosur trading bloc to do likewise, then maybe over time the sentiment amongst the Falklanders would change.
But every time Argentina brings the subject up it is with puffed out chests and belligerent words. Now Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman is saying to the United Nations that the claim of self determination by the islanders is an ‘unjustified defence’ of their position.
“Argentina cannot lose a territory because there is a group that chooses to live a different fate. This population came after the invasion. This is not an indigenous population.” He said (ignoring the fact that they never had a legitimate claim).
"The UK is using the unjust defence of self-determination for 2,500 inhabitants as an excuse to become a military base."
Then he had the cheek to call on the lyrics of John Lennon’s Give peace a chance. It is Argentine that should be giving peace a chance.
They now also claim that the UK has sent a nuclear weapons armed submarine into the region, which is against the Treaty of Tlatelolco. With Trident class submarine’s being equipped with Trident D5 missiles with a stated range of 4,000 miles one wonders why they would need to put one anywhere near the Falklands.
In fact it would make more sense to deploy a Tomahawk cruise missile capable hunter killer SSN to the area which, together with its spearfish torpedoes, would be a formidable force. There are suggestions that either HMS Tireless or HMS Turbulent (Trafalgar class SSNs) has been sent to the area.
Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Britain’s Ambassador to the UN, called the claims by Argentina that the UK was militarising the South Atlantic as ‘manifestly absurd’ and that we do not comment on the deployment of nuclear weapons or submarines.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Koon has issued a statement saying that he was concerned about the ‘increasingly strong exchanges’ between the UK and Argentina and said he would mediate if called on to do so. But this could only be done with the agreement of both parties.
That they choose to believe or make it seem as they believe that the UK has sent a Trident ‘Bomber’ into the area can only inflame public opinion within Argentina as well as in the wider South Atlantic (something that President Kirchner seems to be pursuing). The last thing the world needs right now is a seething public opinion, which could spark another conflict. Especially if at the end of the day it’s being done for domestic political purposes. If the Argentine politicians whip up a storm how are they going to re-bottle it?
Brian Burnell [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons