The Falkland Islands. A small outcrop of rocky islands a couple of hundred miles off the coast of Argentina. On those rocky islands are about 2,500 residents, the majority of whom are sheep farmers. When put like this, there is little to explain the cause of the bitter territorial dispute between the British government (which has notional sovereignty over the Falklands) and the Argentinian governments who exhibit the very colonialism that they so vocally accuse Britain of. The dispute had been quietly bubbling away for a while as a war of words until now, the 180th anniversary of the British Empire’s conquering of the Falklands.
Argentina’s president has run an open letter, published as an advert in Britain’s two liberal broadsheets, The Independent and The Guardian, to David Cameron demanding the opening of negotiations over sovereignty of the territory, citing requirements to this effect by a UN resolution in 1965. If it were not such an absurd misrepresentation of the facts, then it would be the role of the more populist wing of British public opinion to get angry about it. We are all aware that Argentina demolished their case the moment they invaded “Las Malvinas” and, finding themselves facing a counter invasion (ordered by a PM eager to prop up her ailing popularity) that was actually successful.
If we are to get into the business of UN Resolutions and which parties did what in the past, it should be pointed out that the UN takes, and took in 1982, a dim view of illegal invasions of the territory of democratic states. It is unfortunate that 255 British soldiers and 649 Argentines were killed in a dispute over such an insignificant territory. The campaign of bullying that Argentina has been running against the 2,500 Falklanders surely proves that they would be unfit to administer their islands.
I am by no means attached to the idea of British control of the Falklands- as I have discussed before, I see no reason to cling on the the handful of outposts left over from an old world order. Where possible, I think the Overseas Territories should at least lose subsidies from our government and make contributions towards defence costs. If colonies are unwilling to be a full part of the United Kingdom it would be more appropriate for them to be transfered to UN Trust Territories. However, I think Argentina has made it impossible to do this in the case of the Falklands.In typical Sun, fashion, their reply to the Argentine government’s adverts was a letter published in Buenos Aires press. Hardly the most articulate response, nor one that I would endorse. How long will this undignified, undiplomatic show of chestbeating on both sides continue? The Falklands will be British for decades to come, so let’s behave like adults here and ignore any whining in South America.