Filed under: Foreign Policy, Freedom, History, Latin America, Politics, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Argentina Bullies Islanders, Negotiated Settlement?, The Falkland Islands Vote
The people of the Falkland Islands went to the polls yesterday and voted in an historic referendum to remain a part of the United Kingdom as a British Overseas Territory.
The vote was not exactly close. There was a 92 percent voter turnout, and 99.8 percent voted to stay British. Only three residents voted otherwise.
When the people in Argentina get critical of their government, as happens under authoritarian governments, the Argentine government stirs up trouble over the Falklands, just 300 miles off their coast. Argentine officials describe the Falkland Islanders as a population, not a people. The Foreign Minister Hector Timerman recently said that Falkland Islanders “do not exist” and refused to talk with their government ministers. He told a press conference in London that the 3,000-off residents of the South Atlantic archipelago are simply British citizens who live there.
As a result of Argentina’s recent campaign of bullying and intimidation against the islands’ inhabitants, and in order to send a clear message to the world, the Falkland Islands’ government decided to put the question of its relationship with the UK to a popular vote.
Argentina, of course said that it will not recognize the outcome of the vote. Sadly, instead of backing America’s closest ally, the UK, the Obama administration has sided with Argentina by supporting its calls for a negotiated “settlement” over the islands. Making matters worse, the administration has repeatedly refused to say that it will back the outcome of the recent referendum.
Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated this embarrassing U.S. policy in London a couple of weeks ago, saying “I’m not going to comment, nor is the President, on a referendum that has yet to take place and hasn’t taken place.”
The Falkland Islanders do not need American support for their referendum, nor do the British. The Islanders are asking for recognition of their right to self-determination — a right guaranteed by the United Nations Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. But President Obama has turned out to be not as expert in foreign policy as he claimed, based on living briefly as a small child in Indonesia. And he’s made it clear that he is irritated by foreign policy matters that keep interfering with his domestic agenda. Nevertheless, as a nation that is a champion of free people and free elections, we should be championing the free choice of an island people to continue their alliance with their parent country.
Last year Jaime Daremblum wrote at PJMedia about Argentina’s Slow-Motion Disaster: massive capital flight and high inflation:
Whenever Argentina starts rattling sabers over the British Falkland Islands, it’s a surefire sign that the South American country is experiencing some type of domestic turmoil. So it comes as no surprise that President Cristina Kirchner has responded to high inflation and massive capital flight by picking a diplomatic fight with London over a sparsely inhabited archipelago that has been a U.K. possession since 1833. …
American observers should not be fooled: The ongoing diplomatic row between London and Buenos Aires is nothing more than a political smokescreen designed to benefit Buenos Aires. Kirchner would rather have Argentines railing against British “colonialism” than railing against their own government, which has become an international embarrassment.
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