News, Politics

Argentina-irresponsible and dangerous

Argentina-irresponsible and dangerous
February 11th, 2012
Author: Jeff Taylor

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.

The Islands were under British control even before Argentina became an independent state and the Falkland Islanders have expressed an ongoing and overwhelming wish to remain British. But Argentina keeps insisting that the islands somehow belong to them and it is they remember who started the last conflict.

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.

HMS Dauntless-by Brian Burnell

HMS Dauntless-by Brian Burnell

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

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36 Responses to “Argentina-irresponsible and dangerous”

  1. Matias says:

    Argentina was independent in 1816, and the UK stole the malvinas from argentina in 1833…learn math moron

  2. "GivePropagandaAChance" says:

    At best, it depends which history book you're reading from Matias. . .

    Poor Argentinian government. It's OK to bully 3,000 Falkland Islanders, but when said islander's Mummy steps in you go crying to the Head Teacher pretending to be the victim and telling lies.

    Go and sulk in your own country, people might be more inclined to talk to you when you mature a bit.

    • Matias says:

      well clearly the british version of the history is different than the argentine,french and spanish version…but their fake proud dont let you realize about the truth

  3. Andres says:

    «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.»

    That's the world we always had and we want for the next generations! Keep doing it!

  4. Andres says:

    That's a good way to talk. Keep being mature!

  5. Jason E says:

    Argentina, as with the rest of Latin America is country which obtained it's land by invasion. The indigenous people's of Argentina were not systematically exterminated died from the diseases brought in by the conquistadors. Argentina subsequently gained independence from Spain, but that is certainly not where it's history starts. The Falkland islands never had an indigenous people.

    So as the populations of both countries are of European descent, neither has any greater right to the land that they occupy, or if one does, it would be the Falklanders as they didn't slaughter the indigenous inhabitants for their domicile.

    The Argentinians are attempting to deny the Falklanders the right of self determination and their place of domicile based on some sort of historical prior ownership argument, were they to apply this same logic to their own country they would need to leave and give it back to the few remaining native tribes of South America.

  6. Andres says:

    «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.»

    Why the claims are absurd and there is no comment about nuclear weapons or submarines? Are there nuclear weapons or submarines? It's easy: yes or no.

    I think yes.

    I agree with Timerman: UK doesn't care about self-determination. They use that for defending a military position. It's clear the interest is to control the South Atlantic and its resources and nobody cares about any islander. That's more than clear. In Diego Garcia island UK banned all the natives and didn't care a bit about self-determination. There is a court sentence about that and every government avoided that.

    Cameron said «Argentina is colonialist», a very irresponsable phrase denying the colonial history of UK and the Falklands as a colony. It's funny to see this picture with islanders with a flag that says «British Crown Colony. Falkland Islands».

    • Luke says:

      @Andres: You should do some research into Royal Navy submarines. There's a difference between nuclear POWERED and nuclear ARMED. Even if the UK wanted to use nuclear weapons on Argentina, they sure wouldnt even need to go anywhere Argentina to launch trident missiles. The reason for a strong military presence around the Falklands is because Argentina illegally invaded them in 1982 and was subsequently defeated by the British. Must have been humiliating for Argentina to lose a war just hundreds of miles from its shores. Argentina would be completely moronic to try and invade again. Just one type 45 destroyer would wipe out Argentina's tin can Air Force. I'm not even sure one could refer to it as any kind of Air Force.

      • Andres says:

        It's the same. South Atlantic must be nuclear free and UK do whatever it wants.
        Your point of view means military power is the way to resolve anything.

        My point of view (and UN's) is absurd a country controls a territory 14,000 kms away with military power. It's completely absurd and only fits in a colonial mind.

  7. Stephen Barraclough says:

    This is all so sad….It's a bit like listening to the kids in the school playground!
    Come on folks, let's agree to disagree and let the Argentinian politicians beat their tin drums un-hindered and ignored. That's what all this is about, domestic penis-flashing! (Yes, I know the current one is a woman… But I've seen theirs' advertised!)

  8. Andy Green says:

    Argentina's claim to the falkands is at best weak. Firstly, 17th and 18th century treaties between Britain and Spain didn't prohibit British posession of the Falklands. The 1771 Anglo-Spanish treaty recognised both claims on the Flaklands, and left the matter unresolved. When Argentina attempted to claim sovereignty in the 1820s, this was protested by the British Government, and indeed Louis Vermet applied to the British for permission to go to the Island to catch wild cattle (his real purpose in the Islands – making money, not claiming sovereingty). The Argentine claim that the British expelled the population in 1833 is again untrue, they only expelled the military garrison, reaserted their claim and encouraged the population to stay. Indeed, only 4 of the 33 civilian present chose to go back to Argentina. Argentina didn't inherit the Falklands from Spain, and Spain continued to claim soverignty right up to the 1860s. Argentina also dropped it's claim to the Falklands by signing the Convention of Settlement Peace treaty with Britain in 1850, and after this date dropped all protests to Britain about the Falklands for 91 years, confirmed by the lack of mention of the claim in the Argentine leaders message to congress at the opening of parliament each year, until Peron decided to reinstate it's claim (probably due to the fact he thought that the British would be too busy elsewhere in the WW2 and about to lose). Further more, by signing the peace treaty in 1850, which Argentina got a lot out of, this was an acceptance that all disputes between the countries were over. Argentina has never had a valid claim over South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and these were only claimed after WW2 after decades of acceptance of their being British. And lastly, the claim that the Islanders have no rights to self determination is ridiculous. They have the same rights as any other of the immigrant populations of the new world. If this were true, then Argentina's declaration of independence from Spain would be considered to be an ilegal act. Britain offered to settle the dispute in the International Court of Justice 3 times during the the 1950s, rejected each time by Argentina and they declared they would not recognise any outcome.

    In short, the Falkands dispute between the two countries was settled in 1850 with Argentina's agreement. End of story.

  9. Andres says:

    There is no reason why 2,500 british people are settled in an island 14,000 km from home. A nine year old child can decide who have rights over the islands. Their self-determination is just an excuse for UK to militarize and control the South Atlantic and it's resources.The 1982 argentinian attack is just another excuse (very valid, of course). The problem is Argentina never were hostile with the islanders except during that dictatorship of drunks. We are a pacific and democratic country since 30 years ago.

    The only thing Argentina is claiming now is UK to sit and TALK, because there IS a dispute since 200 years ago.

    So sit and talk, we are in XXI century.

    Falklands IS A COLONY (and it's flag makes it very clear

    We are trying to build a world without colonial power.

    • Andy Green says:

      But the dispute was resolved in 1850, and not mentioned again in the mensaje de apertura de congreso nacional until 1941. Why did it change?

      Also, negociate implies that you concede something to gain something. Argentina only wants to discuss when Britain will give up Sovereignty. Britain will only discuss sovereignty if the people that live on the islands want it – so what is there to negociate?

      We sat and talked in 1850. We resolved the issue, and Argentina by implication accepted British soverignty. What changed in 1941? Well, Argentina thought Britain was going to lose the war and it wanted to do a colonial land grab – a bit like in Patagonia in the 1870s – but there again, I guess you would say that the "conquista del desierto" wasn't a colonial land grab, was it?

      Britain has been a democratic country for a lot longer than 30 years, and belives in the princples of the Charter of the United Nations – the right to self determination. That why if the Scots decide to vote for Independence in 2014, I am sure they will be allowed to have it.

      So, if the Argentine arguement that colonial populations have no right to self determination, does this mean that the declaration of independence from spain was an illegal act – as Argentina is really the result the Spanish conquest and colonisation of latin america – after all it has a population of 86.4% european origin.

      Sounds a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, or as you say – the "El muerto se rie del degollad"

  10. Andres says:

    What happens if British Petroleum makes (again) a massive disaster in fron of our coasts? Who will be responsible for it? Who will be clean it?

    UK is 14,000 away, that's stupid and irresponsable, and it's making unilateral decisions in the South Atlantic.

    Self-determination applies when there is territorial integrity. With the self-determination argument itself it's ok if a turkish neighbourhood in London declares it's independency and its territory as part of Turkey. It doesn't work because

    – Population was implanted (in this case not specifically to control the territory)
    – There is not territorial integrity.

    In the Falklands issue we are talking about a settled population, with the intention to colonize and take control of the territory.
    It's also interesting what UK did with Diego García Island in 1965 where the native inhabitants were banned. It's exactly the opposite and the sucesive governments didn't follow a court order to allow the inhabitants to come back. UK uses self-determination when it is useful to its interests. Falklands, Gibraltar, Diego García, Guantánamo… all ilegal cases with military intentions.

    It's more than obvious that the self-determination is just an excuse to set a military base and control everything in South Atlantic.

    Argentina did support self-determination in every process that occured in the entire world. But this is not a case of self-determination. It's a case of occupation of a territory in a distant part of the world and set military power to control the resources around there (the actual ones and the future ones). And also make unilateral decisions there. That's one of the reasons why Argentina needs to talk, as we talk with our neighbours for any dispute.

    What if we offer 1 million dolars to each falklander to leave the island? It is 2,500 million dollars total and will solve any problem of self determination (I'm sure most of them take the money and move away).

    That's not a solution. Why? Because the islanders don't matter and leave that territory is not UK interest. The discussion here is about power, territory and resources.

    We are not alone. All Latin America is supporting our claim (Mercosur, ALBA and CELAC). China too, and many other countries as Timor East, which had a self-determination process. It's not just an Argentina claim now.

    All the south american independences have nothing to do and the (wrong) percentage of european population has nothing to do with this discussion. It was solved 200 years ago. It was a continent dominated by a small country which is 14,000 kms away (sounds familiar) and the people rejected that (because it's colonial domination and nonsense). it's a different discussion. Nobody here (european descendants or indigenous) wanted to be spanish.

    Many injustices were made with natives. I'm happy to see their descendants have some rights over the land, I support that and I hope they get what they deserve. In countries as Bolivia most of the population is indigenous, and they have an indigenous president. Hopefully all their rights will be recognized soon.

    The self determination of Scotch must be respected. They were there since always, that is their land and they have the right to decide it's fate.

    • Root Striker says:

      To quote you Andres – "Why? Because the islanders don’t matter……."

      And that will always be the Arginetine problem. They want the land purely for pride but don't care about the people.

      I would bet that if they did get hold of the islands then they would fill it full of their own people and practice virtual apartheid against the people that truly belong there.

      I would not give one jot of hope for the fate of those islanders.

      • Andres says:

        You are taking it out of context.
        I mean islanders don't matter for UK interests. They are just an excuse.
        Or in any case, it doesn't matter in the diplomatic negotiations.

        For me, people matters. And I care about islanders and any other citizen of the world.

        Argentine position is to preserve the interests and way of living of them, as we do it with any other people in our nation (or we should do it as everyone). It is also in our Constitution.

        If in some improbable way the islands are recognized as argentinian territory the islanders will have the right to remain being british (and they can be argentine citizens if they want), to stay, to have they government and to live in their way.

        And about the pride, I won't deny there is a pride cultural issue with Malvinas.
        But the actual diplomatic claim is not about pride. It's about having a colonial power in the South Atlantic with an increasing military position, which Argentina can't affront in any way and any of the South American countries can (i think even working together).

        For me war is not an option and it's stupidity in any way, even if Argentina can afford it, which is a fantasy. I support the actual argentinian pacific diplomacy in this way and I don't like to have a militar power 400 km of our coasts in a very pacific zone. It's a threat. And I think Argentina (and South American countries) must make the claim forever, even when it's not a chance UK will release the islands in a close future, because they really care to be there for military purposes.

        And never forget we are talking about 2,500 people. There is more people in my neighborhood. We can pay 1 million dollars to every islander and the problem is solved and I'm sure 99% of them will move out to Great Britain. And if they don't want, they can remain there being british and argentinian if they want. But on argentine territory and laws, with every right of a democratic country as any other british citizen in Argentina now or any argentine citizen in the UK. But they will have their right to a democratic government, to vote, to live and be happy there.

        If I center in the human happiness the solution is, at least, easy.
        But the reality is militar and it's scary.

        I don't even care if the falklanders are independent and happy. It's ok for me. But that won't avoid UK controlling our seas.

        So I think both countries need to sit and talk.

  11. Andres says:

    There is 100,000 argentinians in Miami, Florida, USA.
    What if they take a part of the city and they want part of Miami to be part of Argentina. They are already argentinians, and probably US citizens.
    But they want the territory to be part of Argentina and they want nothing with United States. They want to have argentinian military defense, laws, education, etc.
    Think about the same example but, in this case in a non continental place. Let's say Hawaii.

    That is a case of self-determination.
    For me it is absurd.

    • Andy Green says:


      With all due respect, you don't seem to understand the United Nations defenition of what self determination is. Likewise, your government doesn't seem to understand this.

      The Argentine government making a fuss and going to the UN with it's friends and making flamatory and incorrect statements isn't going to get them what they want.

      Argentina has a right to make a claim to sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, and I think the whole world knows this. Why Argentina considers South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands to be theirs is mistifying, as they have never been administrated by either Spain or Argentina (which ever version you wish to use) and in fact if you were to use the 1494 Pact of Tordesillas, they would be Portuguese possesions (but Tordesillas is an illegal act of a corrupt Spanish pope, so doesn't stand up in international law – nemo dat quod non habet (“no one gives what he does not possess”).

      The place to settle disputes between nation states is in the International Court of Justice. This is an organisation set up by the UN that is free of the political constraints of the UN. GB has offered several times to resolve this sovereignty dispute in this court, which is recognised by Argentina, being a signatory to the United Nations Charter, but on each occasion Argentina has declined to do so and has stated that it wouldn't recognise any judgement made by the court. Why is this? Well, because under international law Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands isn't very strong at all.

      There is no point sitting down to talk about it. Argentina isn't interested in negociating anything but transfer of sovereignty, and the British Government will not discuss this without the consent of the inhabitants of the Islands. All of the UN resolutions that are quoted by Argentina are not voted resolutions, so really don't amount to much. Any set of countries can go to the UN and make resolutions – it doesn't make them binding. The United Kingdom feels that it has complied with the Decolonisation issue, and the remaining dependant territories are quite happy to be under British control, and if they had wanted anything else, Britain would not stand in their way.

      From what I know about you country from my time there and my many Argentine friends, to me it looks like President Kirchner is using this as a smoke screen to divert attention from domestic issues (high inflation and cuts in welfare) and to improve her popularity to such an extent that it will be possible for her to manipulate your constitiution and continue to be president past the end of this present second term of office – In the same way her close friend Hugo Chavez has done in Venezuela and in fact she is using all the usual chavista tricks. If I were Argentine, I would be asking myself how it was possible for a politician who leads the country to have increased her fortune by over 900% since 2003, and is manipulating the justice system to her ends (such as the Alvaro de LaMadrid case where Kirchner's Niece was appointed prosecutor in a case that was an accusation of political nepotism in the handing out of prime land in El Calafete – a deal that the niece herself received a slice of prime land).

      Why on earth would Argentina believe that the United Kingdom would use nuclear weapons on it, when the Nuclear deterrent is a purely defensive weapon, the existence of which kept the peace during the cold war, is quite beyond me, and it would never be used except in retalliation to a nuclear strike. In fact, it's quite incredible to even believe that the United Kingdom would even attack a Argentina with conventional waepons.Indeed, during the conflict in 1982, at no point was the Argentine mainland attacked by the UK, unlike the Argentine attempt to sink a royal navy ship in Gibraltar (Operation Algeciras).

      So, I suggest Argentina and the United Kingdom make a date with the International Court of Justice and go there. I know the United Kingdom would recognise any ruling made by the court – but would Argentina? I don't think so given past experience.

      Saludos cordiales


      • Andres says:

        Will UK recognize any resolution made by UN? No, they are not doing it. It's the same. Anyone wants to follow what keeps their interests.

        Argentina is trying to gain support worldwide and it is doing it.

        Nuclear submarine, yes or no… doesn't change the big picture. There is 2000 soldiers in the islands: one for each inhabitant. From there to destroyers, missiles, radars, etc. There is an obvious militarization there and in the other islands of the South Atlantic.

        I don't care if Cristina Kirchner and/or Cameron are using this as a smoke screen. I don't see it in that way because there is a coherent policy since 2003 in the Malvinas/Falklands issue and now is just a 30 anniversary that puts the dispute on the table, and Cameron did his part to put this on the media (specially with the «colonialist» adjetive which is, at least, funny if we look at history).

        You are very well informed, but your appreciation of Argentina politics is a stretch view in my opinnion (but also a common view here, which I mostly disagree).

        President Kirchner won elections 3 months ago. She is president since 2 months ago and won with the 54% (the second one was 18%). It's the highest support in our democratic history. And the main media is using the Malvinas issue against her (mass media here uses anything against CFK, no matter what it is).

        I have a different and more complex view of Hugo Chávez. He won 10 democratic elections. I certainly don't agree with its presentation as the axis of evil. Things are more complicated and complex than that.

        As you know, this country (as many others) is a bit complicated and messed with corruption cases.
        That's not related to sovereignty and that is not the theme of my thoughts.
        Justice and transparence in UK is, for me, much better and advanced in certain levels than in Argentina. But not at all. I'm still waiting any process for Tony Blair, who promote a country invasion based on lies and with knowledge of that and killing a few people. What about David Kelly case?

        I think this things have no direct relationship with the Malvinas/Falklands sovereignty dispute, only with the internal political benefits or view that the cuestion generates.

        The Falklands issue is a state cuestion which is beyond this government. The claim must remain the same with a government of a different color and characteristics.

  12. rufus says:

    On a purely practical matter why would the British put a Vanguard class submarine in the South Atlantic to intimidate Argentina?
    The nuclear missiles on the Vanguard class (and also on the US Ohio class) submarines have a range in excess of 7000 miles, meaning that to be able to be within range of Buenos Aries it has to go no further south than Grimsby. Moving them south of the equator is redundant.

  13. Andy Green says:

    Hi Andres

    Thanks for the reply.

    The UN is a political body. The UK could turn up with a load of friendly countries and make a resolution stating that the Argentine declaration of independence from Spain was an illegal act, that Elvis Presley is living on the moon or what ever it wanted to. They are just political declarations. They are not voted security council resolutions. Member states ignoring non security council resolutions is nothing new.

    As I stated before, negociate implies giving something to receive something back. As Argentina will not concede an inch, and Britain will not discuss sovereignty unless the inhabitants request it, what is the point of sitting down at the table? The talks will yield nothing. The UK has stated it is willing to hold bi-lateral talks on anything other than sovereignty, and Argentina will not discuss anything other than 100% sovereignty of the Islands.

    When there is a dispute, you take it to court to resolve it. The place to resolve this is the International Court of Justice – who will listen to both countries and their claim and make a judgement based on International Law. Sounds a fairer solution to me rather than just continuing to bang the drum like Kirchner and her cronies are doing. Also, I think the UN has more important issues to deal with, like sorting out Syria. A territorial dispute should be resolved in the ICJ – that's what it was set up for. Argentina has a right to make a claim for sovereignty, but that doesn't mean that it is necessarily correct in the eyes of international law, and I don't think that grandstanding it is going to get it resolved. All this behaviour is doing is driving a large wedge between the Islanders and Argentina that is going to take even longer to heal. No doubt it would be in their interests to have closer links with Argentina, and there was actually strong support for the idea of joining argentina in the 1970s when Argentina was actually making an effort to make friends and support the Islands. That is what they should be doing.

    My partner is Venezuelan and my views on Chavez is based on more than just a distant view and fourth hand opinions. One only has to go back to the Antonini Wilson incident to realise there is more than a little going on between the two leaders than just photo opportunities. I don't think CFK was very happy when the customs at BA Airport confiscated the $800,000 destined for her election campaign. I read she went into a bit of a rage, and broke a glass.

    The position of the UK Government is that the Islanders have the right of self determination, and Argentina's rejection of this is against their human rights, and also the UN Charter. Indeed, in 1816, a colonial population in lands very distant from the mother country declared independence from the Patria in an act of self determination. Today, one of those countries is called Argentina. Therefore to me it sounds hypocritical that Argentina do not wish to give that right to the Falkland Islanders, the same right without which their country wouldn't exist today. El muerto se rie del degollado.

    Believe it or not, the media here isn't filled with the Falklands story. Before 1982 most people didn't even know they existed. For better of for worse, the cards fell that they became British, and that is a long time in the past. If you want to take 1833 as the example, look at the map of Europe at that time. It looks very very different to how it does now. How far back do we have to go? We all live in peace in Europe now, more or less. Border disputes should be a thing of the past, part of the colonial age.



    It's either the ICJ, or give us Lionel Messi. That'll do.

  14. keewa says:

    Isn't the Argentine ambition to seize control of the Falklands a colonial ambition?

  15. Andres says:

    I have no idea about the neutrality of International Court of Justice.
    Cases as Guantánamo or Diego Garcia Island mean to me the international justice is very questionable, as you question UN, which was made to guarantee proceses of peace.

    It's very interesting the story of Diego García, where its inhabitants were banned by UK to set a military base. We are talking about 4,500 people which are claiming to be allowed to come back to their home, and they are still doing it since 1965.

    «Border disputes should be a thing of the past, part of the colonial age.»
    I agree with you.
    I also think countries which set military power 14,000 kms away to defend borders and (as an excuse in my oppinion) its inhabitants while doing the opposite 14,000 kms in a different direction are clearly in the colonial age still.

    For me UK presence in South Atlantic is completely absurd in XXI century, a country which is far far away. The reasons are exclusively militar (for the present and the future).

    The actual claim of Argentina now is not to obtain (back) the Islands. Is to sit to talk with UK. You say there is nothing to negotiate. That position is what allows British Petroleum and other companies to start working 300 kms from our coast without any advice. Or violate aerial space by a Typhoon which goes from Falklands to Punta Arenas (Chile) with no permition, advice or explanation. And there is many cases of unilateral UK decisions. That doesn't work in any part and countries need to sit and talk.

    It's a very strange situation.

    For me the islanders can be whatever they want, be happy and live there. If they want their independency, that's great. People first of all. And they can travel here and we there, and make business and everyone is happy. A happy world.

    But the UK position there is not funny at all, and the reasons are not humanitary. What are 2,000 soldiers doing? There is no way Argentina can attack the Islands, that will be very stupid again and no one believes in war. We can't even do it, there is no forces, we are democratic, etc.

    Money solves everything today (and make wars too):

    If we offer 2 billion dollars to the islanders some of them will leave, others will stay, all of them remain british and could be argentinians, Argentina controls the territory and guarantee the rights and way of living of islanders, UK goes home and the problem is solved. British there will keep british rights, because they will have two nationalities (as I have) and also they rights will be recognized as argentinians (if they want to be).

    If I were an islander, or a Gibraltar citizen or living in any other place in dispute and the governments disputing my territory offer me 1 million dollars (a great standard of living for the rest of my life) with the freedom to move or stay under a few different democratic conditions or come back whenever I want I could think it no more than 1 hour and I'm sure I will agree under completely peacefull conditions. Maybe I'm wrong. Am I?

    1 million dollars. The cons? Our island government will change, we will have to vote every two years in Argentina elections, we will need to organize some laws, education system and merge it in Argentina system, which allow us to make decisions and keep our interests and way of living.

    The Destructor UK sent is 1 billion. Half problem solved.

    Sounds very stupid. Isn't it?

    Yes, because there is more cons. UK have to take off its armies from there. Mmmm… hard to do it.

    • Andy Green says:


      Diego Garcia was purchased from the Maldives in the 1960s. The depopulation occured in 1971, and the 1579 islanders, who were not native as the Islands have no native population but were plantation workers brought in over the years, were compensated at the time, but continue to seek more compensation. On a human level, no it's not fair – but it's a very small atoll with a very large airbase. The litigation is still continuing.

      The sole reason for the military presence in the Falkland Islands is……. to prevent a repeat of 1982, when there were a small amount of soldiers on the island and a soon to be scrapped research vessel – HMS Endurance. Had the conflict not occured in 1982, then the military presence would be minimal, if at all. The inhabitants, whether you like it or not, don't want to be invaded again.

      Both of our countries have a colonial past. Your country is the product of colonialism, and the UK was a colonial power. The remaining presence of the Overseas Territory is due to the decolonisation process of the 20th century where all of the overseas possessions have gone through their own self determinations, and what remains are Dependencies that are happy with the status of being Overseas Territories. It's just the way the cards fell.

      Ever since the constitution of Argentina was changed in 1994, the only aim of Argentina is to regain/gain posession of the Islands. Since the change to the Peronist government of Nestor Kirchner and the withdrawal of Argentine participation in bi-lateral talks – there is nothing to discuss as all CFK wants to discuss is when the territory is going to be handed over. As the UK won't discuss sovereignty without the consent of the Islanders, an impass exists. Between the restablishment of relations between the countries in 1999 and 2006 when the Nestor Kirchner government walked away from the bi lateral talks – progress and agreements had been reached over fishing and oil exploration. It was Argentina that tore up these agreements in 2006, so don't complain about the consecuences.

      What you and a large portion of your countrymen don't seem to understand is that it's for the Islanders to decide what they want. Until Argentina realises that it needs to make friends and not threaten the Islanders, then it will be more likely that would be disposed to joining your country – and indeed in the 1970s probably about half of the islanders were disposed to this given the Argentine investement in the Islands in hospitals, education, airlinks etc. However, all this good will disappeared on the 2nd April 1982 and the current situation is a result of this.

      It's interesting you mention Gibraltar. What most people tend to forget is that Spain has two similar territories in Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla. The British stance over Gibraltar is no different to the Spanish stance over their enclaves, or indeed the Canary Islands. If the inhabitants determine their own future. The Gibraltans would actually prefer to be independent of both countries, but this is impossible given the Spanish intransegence.

      So, really, moving away from the grandstanding in the UN which won't get anywhere, there are only three ways to resolve this disagreement. The first is to go to the ICJ and let them study the presentations of the two countries as to why they think they have a claim to the sovereignty, and let the neutral court decide based on the facts and international law. The second is to reach an agreement on a sovereignty umbrella, where both countries share sovereingty and jointly manage the islands, and thirdly Argentina could play the long game and court the islanders so that their opinion changes – but that will take a good number of years.

      What is clear is the current policy of the Argentine government is doing nothing more than atagoinising the islanders, and winning very little support outside latin america. There are more important and pressing issues for the UN to deal with. I still think the CFK policy is a smoke screen to draw attention away from the domestic problems – as a peronist government has never had to do an austerity programme before, and it seems inflation is getting quite high again.

      Fortunately, Britain would never unilaterally attack Argentina, whatever CFK's rhetoric might say. The military there is purely defensive, and nothing has change in the size or disposition in the forces there for the last 30 years. There is always at least one Royal Navy vessel. and every now and again there will be a submarine in the area – but it will be one that is propelled by nuclear power, not armed with nuclear missiles. You would probably find there are US and Russian submarines in the area too, and probably more often. By the way CFK describes the UK, you think she thinks it is like Iran, who have stated publically they wish to destroy Israel. I think she is a bit of a fantasist.



    • Democracy says:

      The answer to the Falklands sovereignty question is embedded in the Argentinian constitution, so it's something of a loaded question on that issue. People in the Falklands get to vote on the issue. Talks on other issues sound a good idea, though recent history tells us those are likely to go nowhere fast.

      Bribing people with money is considered more acceptable in some countries than others:

      Turning that on it's head, some countries are considered better at upholding just principals than others, though no-ones perfect.

      The world is full of weird boundaries from past colonialism unfortunately, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, US, UK, USSR, France, Italy, Japan were the main offenders. That's one of the reasons the modern spirit of the UN puts people before territory.

    • Andy Green says:

      It's a reasonable article, but doesn't give the whole British angle. For example, Vernet, who was really acting in his own interests, was aware of the British claim and got the charter that the BA government had given him to catch the wild cattle on the islands signed by the British Consul in BA. Furthermore, Verment, who always acted in his own interests then tried to get british protection, and indeed once the who debacle was over ended up in London trying to get compensation from the British government.

      Also fails to mention the 1850 Convention of Settlement peace treaty between Argentina and London which is probably the strongest part of the UK claim to the islands. The treaty makes no mention of the Islands, already in UK posession. In international law, if there were any outstanding unsettled dispute at the time of the treaty, it would have been included in the treaty – which was signed and ratified by the Argentine leadership of the time. Therefore, the lack of the sovereignty being mentioned means it is deemed to have been accepted by Argentina – probably by Rosas as part of the price of having peace with the UK. Funnily enough, this treaty is never mentioned in any Argentine literature regarding the claim. It then took 91 years before Argentina mentioned the sovereignty again in 1941, when it seemed Britiain was about to be defeated by Nazi Germany, and Argentina started positioning itself to take the islands. Of course this defeat didn't happen and the Peronist state have since indoctrinated the claim into the education of all Argentines, and we are where we are today.

      There is only one issue that unites most of Argentina today, which is this issue. That's why the Junta invaded – it became very unpopular and the British were showing lack of interest by announcing the removal of the Royal Naval vessel in the area, which was only really a research and supply ship – leaving just a small detachment of marines on the islands. I expect they never expected the UK to come and take them back.

      The Papal bulls angle and the Spanish inheritance doesn't really stand up in international law – and besides, the Spanish continued to claim the Islands and Argentina well into the 1860s.



  16. Roman says:

    The recent discovery of 500 million barrels of oil deposits of the Falklands / Malvinas will certanly set off the silent 30 year powder keg between Britain and Argentina

  17. Gerald says:

    Despite the morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims, the fact remains that Countries exist because of wars fought against their neighbours or rivals. Independence is largely secured through the employment of armed forces and the willingness to fight if threatened, this alone prepares us all for such an eventuality.

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  18. Ash says:

    Today's referendum has made it very clear that the islanders want to remain British. Argentina's claim looks weaker and weaker the more I educate myself about this situation. Of course I recognise there is likely to b bias in English or Spanish sources. I have the utmost respect for the Argentinian people (tho less for their leaders…).

    What cannot be ignored is the ridiculousness of this claim that Argentina has over the islands based on proximity. The United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea makes it clear that sovereign nation claims extend only as far as 200 nautical miles (nm) from their coast. The islands are WELL beyond 200 nm from Argentina. So, they are closer than the UK – so what? Once you start getting into international waters there are no relevant claims. If the Argentinians simply stopped being so aggressive they might realise that having a world-class military (that far outstrips their own) on their doorstep could be an excellent asset!
    Furthermore, the world is now smaller than ever – 14,000 km is no more than a day's travel. We are far past the era of officials spending 3 months travelling to the islands from the uk. Arguments need to reflect the times.