News & Views on the Falklands

18 Feb

A quick round-up of this week’s news concerning the Falkland Islands which are suddenly grabbing the sort of headlines in the world’s press that they haven’t seen since 1982, when Argentina invaded. The Falklands war lasted a mere 74 days before the British Task Force evicted Argentina’s army in something of a repeat of 1833, but the new war of words seems destined to last until the victory celebrations in June.

Nice local perspective from the Falklands MLA, Mike Summers, on the Islander’s view of any Argentine take-over; “if Argentina became sovereign, that sort of arrangement is unlikely to exist and they would likely be trying to re-colonize the Falklands. We’d be governed by a foreign country with no knowledge or understanding of the people here, no knowledge or understanding of how this community works and how the people in it think: it would be a foreign country taking over our country. You have to add to that the fact that Argentina is historically and culturally completely different than the Falklands. Their legal system is different from ours, their cultural mores are different than ours and frankly, it’s a country that’s not very well governed. Corruption is rife. Press freedom is restricted. It’s not a country you’d want to be associated with”.

Speaking in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he added; “Public sentiment is not at all difficult to judge on this issue and I’m not aware of a single person on these Islands who thinks we should be talking about transfer of sovereignty”.

In an unexpected move US Republican Congressman F. Jim Sensenbrenner is due to visit the archipelago to get his own slant on the controversy. A (very) traditional Conservative it will be interesting to see what perspective he has. Argentina has often claimed of late that the US President favours their position over the sovereignty dispute and the view from the other side of the political divide would be useful to know.

On the other hand, The Voice Of Russia see an opportunity to play a role; ” If Russia joins in the process of resolving the situation, it would bring the debate about the origin of the Falkland Islands dispute to a fundamentally different level. At the same time, Moscow could provide substantial assistance to Argentina and other Latin American countries in defending their interests in terms of fair access to develop the resources of the disputed territories.”

American actor Sean Penn joined the fray, but his views on this part of the world order appear irrelevant.

From the far East, or West depending on your perspective, the China Post also reveals its view; “Argentina invaded the undefended atoll in 1982, claimed sovereignty as the Malvinas, but after a few months, was sent reeling back when a British Naval task force sailed from 8,000 miles away to dislodge the invaders. This was conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s “finest hour” on the foreign policy front. In Buenos Aires, the ensuing debacle toppled the Argentine dictatorship. Today Argentina is a democracy but the government has allowed tub-thumping nationalism to take stage and claim that Britain has militarized the islands.”

Inscrutable.

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