Argentina take Falklands issues to the UN

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The Argentines have been steadily ratcheting up the pressure on the Falklands for the past few years, and yesterday the Argentine Foreign Minister met with the Secretary General of the United Nations to air the South American country’s grievances.

I spent a fair bit of time studying the history of the United Nations some years ago, and took part in a few model United Nations debates. Therefore you could say I have a bit of an insight into how the organisation works. It is certainly not an idyllic, righteous organisation like it was intended to be. In reality, it is dominated by the large block of non-aligned countries who vote en-masse, and in particular ex-colonial countries who still have a chip on their shoulders about imperialism. Hence Britain often comes in for a bit of a bashing at the UN.

Lets look at the history of Britain and decolonialisation. Britain effectively gave up much of her Empire post-1945, and it has to be said, handled it much better than other decolonising countries, such as France, Belgium, Holland, and even Portugal. Yet somehow that fact seems to go un-noticed. Seeing the Falklands through the prism of colonialism is misleading, as the islands themselves never had any kind of population before British settlers arrived over two hundred years ago. At that point, Argentina did not even exist. Argentina itself is a nation of settlers – in the last Argentine census, only 1.6% of the population declared themselves to be descended from Amerindians. In that case, when are the other 98.4% going to be catching a flight home to Madrid?

To any observer with more than one brain cell, the Argentinians are shooting themselves in the foot by marching to the United Nations under the banner of colonialism. The United Nations is based on one fundamental tenet above all overs – that all human beings are born free and equal, and have the right to choose the kind of governance under which they live. Therefore, effectively Argentina wants to over-ride the fundamental principles of the United Nations, by annexing a country that is populated by citizens who wish to chose a different path for their destiny. 70 years ago, such policies drove Europe to war. The United Nations was founded to prevent war, yet by constantly listening to the Argentines morally and intellectually bankrupt histrionics, the UN is emboldening Fernandez Kirchner’s regime.

The Argentine Foreign Ministers claims about British escalation were also clearly untrue. We need to be very clear of the difference between nuclear POWERED submarines and nuclear ARMED submarines. South America is indeed a non-nuclear zone, a treaty to which Britain has long been a signatory. But think about it – Britain has four Vanguard Class Ballistic Missile submarines, which are armed with Trident nuclear missiles. These are to provide a nuclear deterrent against countries which might threaten a nuclear strike on Britain. Despite the end of the Cold War, this pretty much constitutes Russia. And perhaps China and some rogue states. Out of the four Vanguard class boats, usually one is ever on patrol under the waves. Why would Britain denude her nuclear deterrent by sending a sub to sit off Argentina? In any case, using nuclear missiles on a country like Argentina would hardly help Britain’s cause.

Now nuclear POWERED submarines are different – we have more of them, of the Astute and Trafalgar classes. But there is no limit on them going anywhere, as they only carry conventional torpedoes, and Tomahawk missiles. There is a distinct possibility that there is one in the South Atlantic, but that could have been the case at any point over the past 30 years since the Falklands War. The faint possibility that there might be one there now does not constitute an escalation. Neither does sending the new Type 45 Destroyer HMS Dauntless, nor sending Prince William on a tour of duty as a Search and Rescue Pilot. Both are completely routine deployments. In the case of Dauntless, the Type 45′s are replacing the Type 42′s which used to perform the South Atantic patrol task. Vastly improved, yes, but hey thats called progess and technology. And it seems to have escaped Buenos Aires attention that a Search and Rescue deployment is a humanitarian function – a yellow Sea King isn’t likely to start dropping depth charges.

Claims of a four fold increase in military assets are also laughable. The garrison of the Falklands has remained at the same levels for years – at sea a patrol vessel, a destroyer, perhaps an RFA and the ice patrol ship; on land a roulement infantry company and a Rapier detachment; and in the air four Typhoons, a VC10 and a Hercules, and the two Sea King SAR’s. Increasing that fourfold would give us the following:

  • Four Destroyers and Frigates – including a couple of Type 45′s
  • Probably another OPV
  • Couple more RFA’s – with that level of RN deployment, need tankers and supply ships
  • An Infantry Battalion – lets say, 2 Para?
  • Every Rapier launcher we can get
  • 2 Squadrons worth of Typhoons
  • More refuelling and transport aircraft
  • A few more helicopters for sundry tasks

Wow – that’s quite some force we have in the South Atlantic. Actually, if we had all of those assets in the Falklands like the Argentines are insinuating, they probably wouldn’t be able to take the islands. Ironic, eh?

I thought that the British ambassador at the UN did a very good job of rebutting these sensational but ludicrous claims. I, on the other hand, have been thinking about a career change for some time. I’m good at writing fiction – perhaps I could apply to become an Argentinian diplomat?

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29 Comments

Filed under Falklands War

29 responses to “Argentina take Falklands issues to the UN

  1. x

    As somebody who spent 18 months or so studying IR at under graduate level I witnessed the majority of my teenage course fellows go from banging on about international law (as if it was truly substantive) and the UN in semester 1 to only mentioning it by semester 3 because they really had to (most IR lectures are internationalists which is like turkeys voting for Christmas) as it was expected and sadly it can’t be avoided. More than several who had thought they were up to speed with IR and had spouted socialist or liberal rhetoric turned into realists! It became abundantly clear to them why the US does as it pleases and why China is building weapons hand over fist. Indeed it was the kids from Third World countries who spoke most fondly of the UN to the sometimes unconcealed approval of the faculty. Kids whose parents were probably not born when their particular colonial masters hauled down their flag and who were doing well enough to send their children abroad probably due to money from international corporations and the Chinese. In the classroom they would rail against the evil West and its values; before going for a burger in their jeans, listening to their Western music on their iPhone, and doing their best to chat up a white girl whose style of clothes wouldn’t be welcome in the home country. These are just my objective observations and nothing to do with politics or race. Actually I found the Chinese kids to be a delight.

  2. A ten year old could have done a better analysis than the Argentine Minister.

    • James Daly

      The funny thing is, I think they played a pretty interesting card by floating the ‘nuclear submarine’ thing. They know that the general public has no idea what the difference is between SSN and SSBN. And they also know that the MOD and HMG will neither ‘confirm nor deny’. So they can throw any accusations that they like, and the mud sticks.

      Having said that, if the Args war planning is anything like their diplomatic efforts, we haven’t got too much to worry about…

  3. x

    Commander Ward has done a good piece on his blog about the Falklands. Thankfully it is about international relations and not Harriers……… :)

    • James Daly

      At least with international relations Sharkey won’t have the light blue mob trying to shout him down!

      • x

        I have been thinking about what would happen if “we” got pushed of the Falklands. As I have said before the Argentines don’t need to win a war just engineer a stunt, a happening, or a event that gains them support. In the last few weeks we have the Indians telling us that our aid isn’t wanted and the USN only begrudgingly letting the RN tag along on its right of navigation cruise through the Straits of Hormuz. Europe is now clearly not the new home of the British peoples. As Lord Fieldhouse said we would become a different country.

  4. Late to the party, though I have been watching the various new sources. Humorously enough, it’s the Argentinians’ own Buenos Aires Herald that has not only pointed out that many of the countries “blockading Falklands’ flagged vessels” are actually only supporting Argentina’s trip to the UN, but also that many Falklands/Malvinas veterans are protesting the government’s treatment of them! If your hometown paper can’t support your campaign for the islands without equivocation, how do you think your story’s gonna play around the world?
    I think CFK needs to polish her rhetoric a little, then try again. Or better yet, put her own house in order first! :)

  5. James Daly

    confirms what I already thoughts – they’re more British than we are! Seem like a very nice, laidback kind of people who appreciate the simple things in life. We could learn a thing or two from them.

  6. x

    Filmed by a team of Brazilian graduate film students. I like how they sort out a Chilean to interview. And (though I knew it) how Argentina doesn’t exist to the Kelpers beyond the threat.

    Odd to think if things had turned out differently in Tierra del Fuego it would be Chile (at 207 miles from TdF) that would be the closest South American country to the islands. Shows how arbitrary the man made (meta) geography is down there.

    207 miles is an interesting distance. 7 miles over the UN agreed EEZ limit.

    • James Daly

      I really respect the Kelpers attitude towards the Argies, a kind of nonchalant ‘why don’t you just quieten down and get on with your own lives rather than hassling us for no good reason?’.

      It also strikes me that anyone who goes and spends time there – and that includes the conscript veterans of 1982 – comes to realise that it is about as British as can possibly be, down to the landscape – and BA/CFK are making a cynical storm in the proverbial tea cup.

      • x

        Yes the weather. In 82 those northern Argentine brigades used to those sub-tropical climes had a bit of a shock.

        What I can’t understand is how some of those conscripts still want to carry on with the dispute. Then again as I am fond of saying extremists are the the most vocal. And if it were happen to again given the time interval I suppose the parents of many of today’s younger soldiers would have just missed the war. I wonder if the clamour would have been the same say 5 or 10 years ago. Frightening prospect for the parents, wives, and friends of Argentine soldier if you consider today’s British marines and soldiers have been at war for over a decade. And those campaigns though strategic failures haven’t been tactical failures on the ground.

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