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Thread: Argentina's claim on the Falklands is still a good one

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    Default Argentina's claim on the Falklands is still a good one

    Interesting article extracted from the Guardian newspaper.


    Argentina's claim on the Falklands is still a good one

    Regardless of the islanders' wishes, the issue of sovereignty will at some point have to get back on the agenda

    Richard Gott
    Monday April 2, 2007
    The Guardian



    Nearly 40 years ago, in November 1968, I travelled to the Falklands with a group of diplomats in what was Britain's first and last attempt to get shot of the islands. Lord Chalfont, then a minister at the Foreign Office, was the leader of this expedition. He had the unenviable task of trying to persuade the 2,000 islanders that the British empire might not last for ever - and that they should start to entertain the notion they might be better off being friendly to their near-neighbour, Argentina, which had long claimed the islands. This was the moment when Britain was abandoning its "east of Suez" policy for financial reasons, and thinking of ways of winding up its residual empire.

    We had already forcibly deported the inhabitants of Diego Garcia in 1967 without much hostile publicity, and settled them in Mauritius and the Seychelles, handing over their islands to the Americans to build a gigantic air base. The Falklands were next on the list. Maybe the islanders could be paid to set up sheep farms in New Zealand.


    Over 10 days, we visited just about every farm and homestead in the two principal islands. We were greeted everywhere - and we could see the slogans and the union flag from the air before we landed - with the same messages: "Chalfont Go Home" and sometimes "We Want To Stay British". The islanders were adamant. They wanted nothing to do with Argentina, and Chalfont left them with a promise that nothing would happen without their agreement. Fourteen years later, in 1982, Britain and Argentina were at war over the islands, and nearly a thousand people lost their lives. Today we are invited to recall the 25th anniversary of that event, and the Argentinian government has reminded us of its claim, pulling out of the 1995 agreement about joint oil exploration that had been fondly embraced by the Foreign Office as an alternative to discussing anything as conflictive as sovereignty.



    People sometimes ask me why Argentinians make such an endless fuss about the islands they call Las Malvinas. The answer is simple. The Falklands belong to Argentina. They just happen to have been seized, occupied, populated and defended by Britain. Because Argentina's claim is perfectly valid, its dispute with Britain will never go away, and because much of Latin America is now falling into the hands of the nationalist left, the government in Buenos Aires will enjoy growing rhetorical support in the continent (and indeed elsewhere, from the current government in Iraq, for example), to the increasing discomfiture of Britain. All governments in Argentina, of whatever stripe, will continue to claim the Malvinas, just as governments in Belgrade will always lay claim to Kosovo.

    The Falklands were seized for Britain in January 1833 during an era of dramatic colonial expansion. Captain John Onslow of HMS Clio had instructions "to exercise the rights of sovereignty" over the islands, and he ordered the Argentinian commander to haul down his flag and withdraw his forces. Settlers from Argentina were replaced by those from Britain and elsewhere, notably Gibraltar. Britain and Argentina have disagreed ever since about the rights and wrongs of British occupation, and for much of the time the British authorities have been aware of the relative weakness of their case.

    An item in the Public Record Office refers to a Foreign Office document of 1940 entitled "Offer made by His Majesty's government to reunify the Falkland Islands with Argentina and to agree to a lease-back". Though its title survives, the document itself has been embargoed until 2015, although it may well exist in another archive. It was presumably an offer thrown out to the pro-German government of Argentina at the time, to keep them onside at a difficult moment in the war, though perhaps it was a draft or a jeu d'esprit dreamt up in the office.

    The record suggests that successive UK governments have considered the British claim to the islands to be weak, and some have favoured negotiations. Recently released documents recall that James Callaghan, when foreign secretary in the 1970s, noted that "we must yield some ground and ... be prepared to discuss a lease-back arrangement". The secretary of the cabinet pointed out that "there are many ways in which Argentina could act against us, including invasion of the islands ... and we are not in a position to reinforce and defend the islands as a long-term commitment. The alternative of standing firm and taking the consequences is accordingly not practicable."

    Of course, some people argue that Britain's physical possession of the islands, and its declared intention to hold them against all comers, makes its claim superior to Argentina's. Some believe that the Argentine invasion of the islands in 1982, and their subsequent forced retreat, in some way invalidates their original claim. Britain, above all, owes some debt to the heirs to the settlers who were originally sent there, a debt recognised in the Foreign Office mantra that, in all dealings with Argentina about the islands' future, the wishes of the islanders will be "paramount". Yet no such debt was recognised in the case of the inhabitants of Diego Garcia, perhaps because Britain inherited them from the French rather than planting the settlers themselves.

    Ironically, the Falkland islanders are the outcome of a 19th-century scheme of settlement not very different from the experience of Argentina in the same century, which brought in settlers from Italy, Germany, England and Wales, and planted them on land from which the native Indians had been cleared and exterminated. The record of the islanders looks rather cleaner by comparison. Yet the Argentinian claim is still a good one, and it will never go away. At some stage, sovereignty and lease-back will have to be on the agenda again, regardless of the wishes of the islanders. Ideally, the Falklands should be included in a wider post-colonial cleanup of ancient territories. This would rid Britain of responsibility for Northern Ireland (almost gone), Gibraltar (under discussion), and for Diego Garcia (de facto given to the Americans), and anywhere else that anyone can still remember.

    This post-colonial policy should have been adopted many years ago (and perhaps Harold Wilson's government was groping towards this end in the 1960s when Denis Healey abandoned British commitments east of Suez, and when Chalfont was sent to Port Stanley), and it should at least have been considered when we abandoned Hong Kong in the 1990s. Yet the strength of Blair's imperial revivalism, forever echoed in the popular press, suggests that this prospect is as far away as it was in 1982.

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    Oh dear, this is too funny for words !
    Otto West should check the sources of the article.

    Lord Chalfont:
    - Minister of State for Foreign Affairs under the Wilson government...

    Richard Gott:
    - fan of Guevara.
    - unsucessful 'Radical Alliance' candidate for Parliament.
    - accused by a defector as being an agent of the KGB.
    - admitted being paid by the KGB.

    Guardian
    - as a source for serious journalism.
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    I think The guardian is a more reliable source of information than the "The Sun" for example, of course everybody knows that The sun is a clearly Anti-argentine newspaper.

    Thanks for your input anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerknacker View Post
    I think The guardian is a more reliable source of information than the "The Sun" for example, oof course everybody knows that The sun is a clearly Anti-argentine newspaper.

    Thanks for your input anyway.
    Yes, newspapers can be relied upon for a careful consideration of historical events and national titles to disputed lands.

    This is why the best universities in the world have nothing in their libraries but recent editions of newspapers rather than more frivolous works by historians and others who have actually studied a subject.

    As to the Falklands, do you prefer the Spanish title (in which case Argentina has a bit of a problem with its own independence) or the subsequent events in which, Dutch, French, British, and other nations were involved? Generally without much involvement by Argentina.

    Or. for a really radical proposition, how about letting the people who actually live in the Falklands make their own decision?

    It's not all that different to letting people in Argentina decide that it's up to them and not to Spain to decide who runs their land.

    Or maybe there's one rule for people in Argentina and a different one for people in the Falklands?

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    As to the Falklands, do you prefer the Spanish title (in which case Argentina has a bit of a problem with its own independence)

    I m not sure what you mean in here, in any case the word Malvinas came from "Malouines" the french name of the islands.


    The rule is simple and sad for most of the history of the world...the land conflicts were and are solved with wars, Argentina independence wasnt a excepcion, the last spaniard soldier had had to be take out the country by sabre point in 1820.

    The islands were taken by force in 1833 and again in 1982....you see, nothing really change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerknacker
    I think The guardian is a more reliable source of information than the "The Sun" for example, of course everybody knows that The sun is a clearly Anti-argentine newspaper.

    Thanks for your input anyway.

    The Sun is a newspaper, (in the loosest possible sense of the word,) which changes it's bias day by day.
    The various editors of this rag have had no sense of allegiance apart from that to Mammon.
    By the way, the revolting "Gotcha" front page of it's early editions concerning the demise of the Gen. Belgano was vilified by every professional serviceman I knew at the time.

    The Grauniad is a self-centred rag in it's own particular way.
    It's presentation is as the thinking socialist's journal, (although that could be an oxymoron,) and believes itself to be a cut above the red tops. In reality it works on a similar psycological level, albeit aimed at an audience that can understand words of more than two syllables. It's one saving grace is that it sticks doggely to it's belief.
    Unfortunately that belief seems to be that everything a non leftist government does is at the bidding of Satan and is therefore to be destroyed.

    Richard Gott's history speaks for itself - he is a card-carrying loon of the first water who, despite having had the opportunity to study at an impressive seat of learning, has failed to grasp reality - or facts.
    That he has been allowed to return as a Grauniad hack is a deeply telling comment on that paper's credibility.


    As Rising Sun mentioned, using tomorrow's chip wrappers for reasoned debate is seldom a good idea as the days of them actually reporting news items impartially went out of fashion with the quill - if not before.



    Edited to correct a typo.
    Last edited by Cuts; 04-03-2007 at 05:32 PM.
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    In reality it works on a similar psycological level, albeit aimed at an audience that can understand words of more than two syllables


    That he has been allowed to return as a Grauniad hack is a deeply telling comment on that paper's credibility.
    Probably is true, but honestly is really remarkable. ( From the argentine point of view)

    There are in here a lot of newspaper of the most varied political colors but nobody dispute the official claim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerknacker View Post
    I think The guardian is a more reliable source of information than the "The Sun" for example, of course everybody knows that The sun is a clearly Anti-argentine newspaper.

    Thanks for your input anyway.
    Ah yes, the paper which produced a eight-page pull-out colour supplement about Robert Mugabe's socialist nirvana at the height of the murders and evictions of white farmers. Nuff said.

    All I can imagine about the above article is that because Thatcher's government retook the islands, the Grauniad has to support the Argentine "underdogs" (they're not British, after all). Had a hardcore left-wing Labour government done it you could guarantee that the above article would read totally differently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerknacker View Post
    The islands were taken by force in 1833 and again in 1982....you see, nothing really change.
    You're right about that.

    Britain won both times.

    Argentina lost both times.

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    What would happen if the islands declared independence?
    The \'eathen

    The \'eathen in \'is blindness bows down to wood an\' stone;
    \'E don\'t obey no orders unless they is \'is own;
    \'E keeps \'is side-arms awful: \'e leaves \'em all about,
    An\' then comes up the regiment an\' pokes the \'eathen out.

    Rudyard Kipling

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    Very unlikely scenario.

    But if so we can integrate the islands to the MERCOSUR

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    The Islands ARE independent. They rely on Britian for one thing, and one thing only... DEFENCE from Argentine Aggression.

    Had the Junta not decided to go and invade, to save their skins and do some sabre rattleing in 1982, the military presence (as in British Presence) by now would be minimal going on zero, and the Islands would probably be trading with the Argentines.

    Instead, a petty desicison to go to war, has led to animosity from the islanders and a wish to have nothing ot do with the Argies.

    And a much heightened military presence in the Falklands.

    The UN will always go with the wishes of the islanders, who have been present since 1833 and beyond (some were there priot to the Argentine/British Handover/Takover in 1833. Rather than some historic precedent.

    Otherwise, for example, the Argentines could find themselves under Spanish rule again in short order.

    And the British under the Italians!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000ydstare View Post
    And the British under the Italians!!!!!
    Quod erat demonstrandum.
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    Latin could also be introduced in such a move Dani
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

    Here endth the lesson.




    Have you seen any combat?

    Seen a little on TV.

    You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?



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    I have a question which I think is related to this topic. It's something that I have been wondering about since 1982:

    Why do the people of Argentina have such strong feelings regarding their ownership/sovereignty of the Malvinas (I say Malvinas as a courtesy and because I wish to stress the 'strong feelings').


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