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The Falkland Islands are ours and we'll get them back, says Argentina.
April 2, 2002 3:44 PM   Subscribe

The Falkland Islands are ours and we'll get them back, says Argentina. Argentina celebrates the twenty-year anniversary of their invasion of the Falkland Islands. Britain won the Falkland War in 1982, but Argentina now boasts that they'll definitely conquer the islands in the future. Since the majority of islanders are of British descent, does Argentina stand a chance? And shouldn't Argentina be focusing on rebuilding its own economy instead of whining about some insignificant islands in the Atlantic ocean?
posted by wackybrit (38 comments total)

 
A useful lesson to be learned here! Everyone mnoves into a place and displaces those there, who may, later, still claim the spot, as in Americans displacing Indians (yes: stuck them on reservations); Israelites moving into Cannan (Moses); Turks and then Brits moving into "Palestine" and now part of that Israel...sometimes peoples co-exist, as in Normans and Anglo Saxons; sometimes not, as in Brits in Ireland.
Who then has a "right" to the land? How far back can one go to establish a right? What to do with those displaced?
posted by Postroad at 3:50 PM on April 2, 2002


And shouldn't we just get the handful of English residents the hell out of there? Wonder why we haven't done so? Is it because we, like, really care for the English sheep-herders or is it because there's an oil field nearby? Just a wild guess...
posted by skylar at 3:55 PM on April 2, 2002


Well, there weren't any argentinians displaced from the Falklands. For a start British possession of the islands has been around longer than the Argentinian state. Apart from a couple of months in 1982 they have never had soverignty over the area.

Secondly, there aren't that many argentians living in the falklands, like a couple of hundered (maybe less) versus a couple of thousand of those of British descent.

Of course the oil and fishing around there would do wonders for the argentinian economy, but we remember what happens to people who start wars for oil now don't we.
posted by nedrichards at 3:56 PM on April 2, 2002


For more info on Falklands history check out the Falklands government (btw .fk what a cool TLD!)

The crucial passage is this: "In 1690 the British, led by Captain Strong, made the first recorded landing on the Falkland Islands, which had no indigenous population before the arrival of settlers in the second half of the eighteenth century." Obviously they've got a subtle bias but it's a powerful argument.

Spain, as an EU member (the Falklands are an associated territory) and former settler has far more claim than the Argentinians.
posted by nedrichards at 4:00 PM on April 2, 2002


Wackybrits indeed!

Argentinians (sp?) should probably worry about their own economically dysfunctional mainland before aspiring to conquer a bunch of sheep in a cold place.

Rule Britannia!
posted by ParisParamus at 4:05 PM on April 2, 2002


Hail Britannia! Britannia rules the waves! How sad, really. Reduced from the greatest superpower on the planet to a little island controlling a bunch of other insignificant islands. I spent some time on the Costa del Sol a few years ago. Walking to Gibraltar was quite a trip. Similar situation... UK has tenaciously held Gibraltar, long after it became an insignificant strategic stronghold.
posted by crunchland at 4:10 PM on April 2, 2002


I like this bit: "...he said the islands will be won from Britain by using patience and perseverance rather than force."

Oh yes, that's always worked extremely well with the British. They'll be more than happy to give in to incessant whining.
posted by Salmonberry at 4:19 PM on April 2, 2002


This isn't about the brits on the island, regardless of whether the islands are politically controlled by Argentina or Britain, most of them would probably end up staying there anyway, like darjeeling or more recently south africa. They would be pissed but they would get used to it.
posted by bittennails at 4:21 PM on April 2, 2002


oh, salmonberry, let me invoke The Gandhi, incessant whining works...
posted by bittennails at 4:22 PM on April 2, 2002


Oh hey, that wasn't whining bittennails. That was civil disobedience. Totally different. Cause....ummm....it's a different set of words. So, it's different.
posted by Salmonberry at 4:25 PM on April 2, 2002


Check out this article in a recent issue of the Economist. Actually, the waters off the islands are rich in squid. The article talks about how Falklanders recently blasted a hole in the side of some rogue Taiwanese ship that was trying to steal the squid.
posted by mathporn at 4:28 PM on April 2, 2002


hmmm...do you remember the one about gandhi at the cockttail party...

:)
posted by bittennails at 4:30 PM on April 2, 2002


Maybe they intend to help their economy by invading the Falklands and holding everyone hostage. Ransom them off and they'd be all set.

Either that or this is just International trolling (and not the flirting kind)
posted by Settle at 4:32 PM on April 2, 2002


And shouldn't we just get the handful of English residents the hell out of there? Wonder why we haven't done so? Is it because we, like, really care for the English sheep-herders or is it because there's an oil field nearby? Just a wild guess...
posted by skylar at 4:40 PM on April 2, 2002


hey, skylar, how'd you do that?
posted by nprigoda at 4:48 PM on April 2, 2002


(Not everyone agrees with the received wisdom that India achieved independence through Gandhian passive resistance alone. You have to ignore a lot of other factors.)

An Argentine project on the "disappeared" or here "vanished" dissidents from the Dirty War of the military government period has a great detailed site on the Falklands War from that country's point of view, including a detailed, balanced timeline of the various claims. (The author notes how his afterthought sidebar is actually a more popular page than the rest of the site. He wisely leaves it as an entryway.) There is a brief discussion of contemporary Argentine propaganda.

crunchland: don't underestimate the value of outposts like Gibraltar, the Falklands, or Diego Garcia to a naval power. The latter, home of an American airbase, proved extremely useful during the recent Afghan business. You can lease a base, but then you can have landlord problems -- as with the Saudis and our command and control facility at Prince Sultan Airbase.
posted by dhartung at 4:59 PM on April 2, 2002


I'd like to quote Lenny, from Memento: "Don't believe his lies. He is the one. Kill him". That is what I would write on Duhalde's picture. Duhalde is the Argentinian president, but he wasn't elected by the people. Almost everybody here hates him, and obviously he doesn't represent the people's will.

Why did he say that? Because he really thinks that by saying that he'll gain credibility and popularity. Is he right? Of course not.

I'm argentinian and I think the war was a mistake, impulsed by the same kind of ideas that made Duhalde say that.
posted by Soveran at 5:11 PM on April 2, 2002


Lessee...didn't the Galtieri invade in '82 to distract the populace's attention from domestic economic and political problems with a nice, fervent dose a jingoism and "Let's kick those Limeys into the sea"?

Well, they're back to the economic problems, right? And the attendant revolving-door changes of government?

Nothing's quite so useful as an enemy, sometimes.
posted by alumshubby at 5:20 PM on April 2, 2002


Give the Falklands to the Palestinians. Better yet, imprison Arafat there. : )
posted by ParisParamus at 5:22 PM on April 2, 2002


Oh yes, that's always worked extremely well with the British. They'll be more than happy to give in to incessant whining.

Think Hong Kong.

This isn't about the brits on the island, regardless of whether the islands are politically controlled by Argentina or Britain, most of them would probably end up staying there anyway, like darjeeling or more recently south africa. They would be pissed but they would get used to it.

Think Hong Kong. Many fleed the province in 1997 to escape Chinese rule.
posted by wackybrit at 5:25 PM on April 2, 2002


Duhalde is the Argentinian president, but he wasn't elected by the people. Almost everybody here hates him, and obviously he doesn't represent the people's will.

sounds familiar.
posted by ronv at 6:43 PM on April 2, 2002


It would be fun if Mefi has official, or unofficial links with French and Spanish Metafilter-like sites so that certain issues could be fully aired. It's no fun trashing the French when they can't hear me.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:46 PM on April 2, 2002


It's no fun for us either. Try some restraint.
posted by rodii at 7:05 PM on April 2, 2002


sounds familiar.

*snicker* Yeah, keep on dreamin'.
posted by aaron at 7:16 PM on April 2, 2002


Argentina celebrates the twenty-year anniversary of their invasion of the Falkland Islands. And the US Army will soon be celebrating the 126th anniversary of Custers last stand.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:46 PM on April 2, 2002


Gandhi

...adopted peacefull protest against an occupying force.

Think Hong Kong.

The UK had a 99 year lease on Hong Kong, which expired in 1997.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:59 PM on April 2, 2002


How *did* I do that? MeFi was giving me server busy errors yesterday, so that's probably how the double post came up. Apologies!
posted by skylar at 12:19 AM on April 3, 2002


How *would* you do that? The war changed this place completely. It really was the last part of Empire. It was sheep farms with locally employed workers where the owners lived in the UK, i.e. all the capital produced on the islands left for other places. That doesn't happen now, and it doesn't happen because of the Argentine invasion. There are fewer sheep there (because a lot of it is a minefield now) but there is still some of that, still lots of fishing, and there are now armed forces there with cash.

The Argentines effectively changed a group of islands full of Britons who wanted to leave, and whose young were leaving en masse, into a group of islands bristling with militaria where there is now a viable local economy.
posted by vbfg at 1:50 AM on April 3, 2002


inpHilltr8r:

England had hk for a lot longer then 99 years. They won it in the Opium War, which happened in the 1860s. (Japan got all of Taiwan for an even smaller war, btw).

Why did england give HK back anyway? It was a major economy, and though many of the people there were chinese, they spoke cantonese, and IIRC the island was mostly unpopulated before the british took control. (a "barren rock")
posted by delmoi at 2:03 AM on April 3, 2002


delmoi and inoHilltr8r:

Britian had a perpetual lease on Hong Kong Island but only a 99 year lease on the 'New Territories' the few square miles where most people live. Free ports, no matter if they start as barren rocks or not seem to get very, very rich for a whole host of reasons.

As to why the UK gave it back, it's very complex and nobody other than Mrs Thatcher seems to have a clue. I'd be very interested to see other peoples ideas.

(also if anyone speaks of 'English' imperial possessions I'll scream, it's British folks, we don't speak of an Iowan or Californian army in action in Afghanistan so we shouldn't really speak about an English army doing that either)
posted by nedrichards at 3:53 AM on April 3, 2002


Surprising (for me anyway) new information on the Falklands war: The French were Britains stoutest allies, in contrast the United States under Regan were obstructive and nearly lost the UK the war.

It appears further that Mrs Thatcher was perfectly justified in ordering the sinking of the Belgrano, which was indeed engaged in an attack - albeit an unsuccessful one.
posted by grahamwell at 4:21 AM on April 3, 2002


Yes, American support for Britain was hardly unequivocal. Official policy was to stay neutral, while key members of Reagan's government helped Britain behind the scenes. We should remember this when Shrub tries to lead Britain into a futile war with Iraq. Closest allies, my arse.
posted by salmacis at 4:41 AM on April 3, 2002


nedrichards - I think that it's because many people in Great Britain but do not live in England feel like they live in the midst of an English imperial posession.
posted by goneill at 5:44 AM on April 3, 2002


(also if anyone speaks of 'English' imperial possessions I'll scream, it's British folks, we don't speak of an Iowan or Californian army in action in Afghanistan so we shouldn't really speak about an English army doing that either)

Devolution is in full swing. Scotland wants to be inpendent, and Wales even has its own assembly now. This means the term 'British' is losing some of its impact. Eventually we'll just be three neighbouring 'states' in the good old United States of Europe (a.k.a. The European Union).

nedrichards - I think that it's because many people in Great Britain but do not live in England feel like they live in the midst of an English imperial posession.

That won't matter in the future. We'll just be separate states in the EU.
posted by wackybrit at 7:46 AM on April 3, 2002


The American position was due to belonging to both NATO and OEA (Organização dos Estados Americanos - American States Organization, in a free translation).

Although UK played a very important role in NATO (remember the cold war, all those nukes in Europe and so on?), it was very important for the US not to weaken the OEA alliance, because of geopolitical influence.

So basically they had their hands tied. If it was a more serious issue, I guess they would take UK's side, but I think that their evaluation of cost/benefits on taking sides in the Falklands question was that it wouldn't take long. So all they've had to do was play dumb for a while.
posted by rexgregbr at 8:26 AM on April 3, 2002


Yeah I know, I have to deal with various Imperial stuff in my degree (both the 'English Empire' and British Empire and Commonwealth). I'd also like it to be noted the the most 'imperial' group in the last 200 years on this small island has been the Scots, their enthusiasm to go around the world, build railways and generally be imperial was boundless. And don't let a misguided Scottish Nationalist (not the party, just generally) tell you otherwise.

I take your point though.
posted by nedrichards at 3:29 PM on April 3, 2002


dhartung : don't underestimate the value of outposts like Gibraltar

Whoops. Missed this. I know that the airbase there still has some strategic value... but compared to what it once was (along with the rest of Victoria's great empire) it's a pale spectre of its former self. And I guess it's ironic that the device that arguably made Gibraltar obsolete as a military stronghold is the thing that gives it any value at all now.

Still, after two weeks of eating tapas and drinking horchatta, it was nice to get some fish and chips in me at a proper English pub!
posted by crunchland at 3:54 PM on April 3, 2002


And the apes! Never forget the rock apes!
posted by nedrichards at 2:57 AM on April 4, 2002


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