American Elephants

Falkland Islands Vote to Remain British: Will Obama Support Free Elections? by The Elephant's Child

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.



7 Comments so far
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Just watched XM607 – Falklands’ Most Daring Raid. Superbly done!


Comment by Subsidy Eye

I love it, and god bless the Brits. Love the British sense of humor too, and hooray for the tin triangle. I’ll put this up on the main page. Thanks, Subsidy, I hadn’t seen this one before.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Of course the Obama administration will tend to side with Argentina on this… it’s run by a woman. Britain is run by white males. And what do those people who live on the Falklands know, anyway?


Comment by Lon Mead

My guess is that the Obama administration has a confused interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine. If the British were actually occupying the Falklands and suppressing local aspirations, I could understand the Administration’s position.

That said, let us not forget that U.S. diplomacy over the Falklands was not adroit thirty years ago either, though at least in the end Reagan did the right thing:

“I wonder if anyone over there realises, I’d like to ask them. Just supposing Alaska was invaded …” asked Thatcher. “Now you’ve put all your people up there to retake it and someone suggested that a contact could come in … you wouldn’t do it.”

“No, no, although, Margaret, I have to say I don’t quite think Alaska is a similar situation” said Reagan.

“More or less so,” snapped Thatcher. Reagan feared the pending rout of Argentine forces in the south Atlantic would destabilise the region, damaging Washington’s battle against left-wing regimes in Latin America.

But Thatcher, with barely concealed impatience, scotched the plan with a verbal explosion. Reagan could barely get a word in as the prime ministe gushed out a torrent of dismissal. “I didn’t lose some of my best ships and some of my finest lives, to leave quietly under a ceasefire without the Argentines withdrawing,” she said.

“Oh. Oh, Margaret, that is part of this, as I understand it …” stammered Reagan, trying to outline a Brazilian peace plan. It called for a ceasefire, Argentine withdrawal and a third-party peace-keeping force in the disputed islands. “Ron, I’m not handing over … I’m not handing over the island now,” insisted Thatcher. “I can’t lose the lives and blood of our soldiers to hand the islands over to a contact. It’s not possible.

“You are surely not asking me, Ron, after we’ve lost some of our finest young men, you are surely not saying, that after the Argentine withdrawal, that our forces, and our administration, become immediately idle? I had to go to immense distances and mobilise half my country. I just had to go.”

The conversation recorded in Washington took place on May 31, 1982, after paratroops had taken Goose Green and were poised with other troops for the final assault on Port Stanley. The State Department was worried that the British advance looked too much like American-backed “colonialism”.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

Here are some more insights into the breathtaking incompetence of Alexander Haig:

On 21 April, as the British task force approached the islands, US secretary of state Al Haig told the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Nicholas Henderson, he intended to inform the Argentine junta that UK troops would be landing on South Georgia, the first of the islands to be seized by the Argentines.

Mr Haig, who had been trying to broker a settlement, insisted it was the only way he could keep his diplomatic initiative alive.

“If the Americans acted in this way, they would be able to show even-handedness to the Argentinians and this would enable them to continue their role as go-between,” he argued.

Sir Nicholas was appalled. He told Mr Haig he was going far beyond the obligations of a neutral negotiator and that the information could be used by the Argentines to mount a submarine or suicide air attack on the task force.

Reluctantly, Mr Haig promised to keep quiet.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

By the way, I love your photomotage (update of North by Northwest) of Cary Grant being chased by a drone!


Comment by Subsidy Eye

Thanks, Subsidy! :^)


Comment by American Elephant

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