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No Allies -- But Plenty of Enemies
Townhall.com ^ | 3/4/2010 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 03/04/2010 5:56:32 AM PST by Servant of the Cross

Almost 30 years after losing a war over the Falkland Islands, Argentina is once again warning Britain that it still wants back what it calls the Malvinas.

Argentina is now angry over a British company's oil exploration off the windswept islands in what it considers its own South Atlantic backyard.

Although nominally democratic, the unpopular Kirchner government in Buenos Aires has claimed that the sparsely settled islands are a symbolic matter of Spanish-speaking pride throughout Latin America -- and is theirs because the islands once belonged to Spain in the 19th century.

In response to all this, the Obama administration announced that it would remain neutral. Aside from the fact that the Falkland Islanders wish to remain British, and our prior support for the Thatcher British government during the 1982 war, there are lots of reasons why our neutrality here is a bad idea.

Britain is a longstanding NATO member. It has bled side-by-side America in two world wars, Korea and two conflicts in Iraq, as well as presently in Afghanistan. And the United Kingdom still shares close linguistic, cultural and historical affinities with the United States.

We do not support all the British do; nor do they always support us. But our centuries-old friendship should earn Britain special support in its disputes, even in the relatively unimportant Falklands mess. If Britain is not considered an ally, then America no longer has real allies.

And perhaps that is the point, after all. The Obama administration does not wish to see the world so divided between allies and the rest.

The president rather abruptly cancelled missile defense with the allied Czech Republic and Poland in order to woo the antagonistic Russians.

Dictatorial Syria and the anti-Western Palestinians gain as much American outreach as does pro-American and democratic Israel.

Obama seems more eager to mollify Venezuela's Hugo Chavez than to strengthen our alliance with a democratic and pro-American Uribe government in neighboring Colombia.

The list goes on. Meanwhile, Obama has symbolically tried to downsize the profile of the U.S. by downplaying the idea of an "exceptional" America, bowing to foreign leaders, and apologizing for supposed past American sins.

All that raises the question of what exactly are advantages these days of being a friend of the U.S., when neutrals and enemies garner as much of our sympathies?

We have seen such naive attitudes before in the West.

After the horrific carnage of the First World War, utopians wrongly swore that rival European alliances had alone caused the war, and so created the League of Nations. Enlightened world citizens would do better legislating peace than prior nationalist politicians who crudely had once sought security through balancing power and forging alliances. Hitler and the far more lethal Second World War followed instead.

After 1945, a much wiser United States talked grandly about the new United Nations, but, in reality, its own alliances kept much of Europe and Asia free from an aggressive Soviet Union.

Today there are many Falkland-like hot spots throughout the world. Yet the United States, not the International Court at The Hague, keeps North Korea from attacking our ally South Korea. The power of America, not the international community, persuades China not to squeeze our friend Taiwan. Europe is safe because of an American-led NATO -- not due to any concern from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

In other words, America and its alliances keep friends safe. And the world is more peaceful and prosperous than at any time in history because dozens of nations count on our support and share our values.

So until human nature changes, there are always going to be some nations that are more aggressive than others, seeking to take what they can by force. Groups of like-minded others will resist them both for principle and their own self-protection. And the majority of "neutral" countries will keep quiet, waiting to see who proves the stronger -- and then opportunistically joining the eventual winner.

An idealistic America may now decide that it does not want or need special allies like Britain. But that diffidence will eventually mean we have more enemies than ever -- as the watching world makes the necessary adjustments and joins those who unabashedly promise them support and protection.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: allies; obama; vdh; victordavishanson Comment #1 Removed by Moderator

To: Servant of the Cross; Tolik; Deb

VDH ping.


2 posted on 03/04/2010 5:56:58 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Servant of the Cross

Mutually Assured Destruction and strong presidential leadership who KNEW damn well what the west faced across the iron curtain were also key to keeping the Soviet Union in check.


3 posted on 03/04/2010 6:01:07 AM PST by Le Chien Rouge
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To: Servant of the Cross

Saying we were neutral is not what pissed them off. Announcing that the UK needed to negotiate did, there is nothing to negotiate.


4 posted on 03/04/2010 6:07:24 AM PST by GeronL (Political Philosophy: I Own Me (yep, boiled down to 6 letters))
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To: GeronL

I’d say The Falkland Islands are “settled science.”


5 posted on 03/04/2010 6:11:01 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: Servant of the Cross

What a difference a period of 28 years make. Back in 1982, Reagan, without hesitation, backed our great ally, the British. The poseur who currently occupies the White House is not a believer in American strength, but the mistaken concept of social justice on an international scale. His stance vis-a-vis the Falklands issue evidences that.


6 posted on 03/04/2010 6:11:19 AM PST by ScottinVA (Glad to see Demonic Unhinged (DU) highlights and attacks my FR comments!)
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To: ScottinVA

make=makes


7 posted on 03/04/2010 6:11:44 AM PST by ScottinVA (Glad to see Demonic Unhinged (DU) highlights and attacks my FR comments!)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

There is “consensus” on the Islands that they stay British


8 posted on 03/04/2010 6:12:13 AM PST by GeronL (Political Philosophy: I Own Me (yep, boiled down to 6 letters))
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To: Servant of the Cross

Let me put this in perspective....britain has colonies all over the world, yet does not have a navy capable of defending them...so, they go to nato ( nato is in reality the United States ) to get nato to defend the colonies it cannot....sorry, but I have to disagree with the whole premise...if you have colonies that need defending, then you better have armed forces capable of doing just that...projection of power is one thing, but doing another country’s dirty work is another.....


9 posted on 03/04/2010 6:15:01 AM PST by joe fonebone (CPAC.....Commies Playing At Conservatism)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
LOL. Good one. Falkland Islands:
"We are not going to debate this any more".
"Stare Decisis!"
"Settled Law of the Land!"
10 posted on 03/04/2010 6:18:48 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: joe fonebone

Were there any US ships or other NATO country ships involved in the Falkland War?


11 posted on 03/04/2010 6:22:17 AM PST by Controlling Legal Authority
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To: joe fonebone; GeronL
There is consensus of the people on the island that they stay British.

Okay, if you don't want to do it 'for the Brits' ... (ignoring centuries of our partnership for defending freedom in the world; their problems with their navy are due to current liberal weenie sensitivities (gone wobbly, not unlike our current administration) with the ruling government but what if another "Thatcher" arises again?) .... how about for the free people of the island?

12 posted on 03/04/2010 6:24:59 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Controlling Legal Authority

No........britain had it’s own aircraft carrier, which it no longer does....britain had a force that could be used for projection, which it no longer does....


13 posted on 03/04/2010 6:30:31 AM PST by joe fonebone (CPAC.....Commies Playing At Conservatism)
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To: Servant of the Cross

Somewhat more concisely: Obama consistently opposes America’s best interests.


14 posted on 03/04/2010 6:31:41 AM PST by Interesting Times (For the truth about "swift boating" see ToSetTheRecordStraight.com)
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To: Servant of the Cross
Maybe President Palin will use some American assets to temper the Argentine delusion.

LLS

15 posted on 03/04/2010 6:32:04 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (hussama will never be my president... NEVER!)
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To: joe fonebone

We do have a Navy capable of defending them. Just for instance: we have SSNs capable of targeting any unit in the Argentinian fleet just by listening to their prop noise.

But when we - as a first resort mind you - try to build diplomatic consensus about the settled sovereignty of the Falklands: the idea being to head off a war rather than nuke Argentina down to the bedrock - your Muslim-in-Chief instantly washes his hands of the matter.

That tit in the White House just made war more likely.


16 posted on 03/04/2010 6:37:43 AM PST by agere_contra
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
I’d say The Falkland Islands are “settled science.”

On FR? Heck there is a thousand thread post around here someplace debating if the Civil War settled anything. I don't think this site attracts the personality type that accepts settled. We were the annoying kids who kept asking our parents "but why?".

As for the Falklands both England and Argentina are in much worse shape militarily than they were back in the 1980s. The Royal Navy is a rusted shadow of the force that sailed to the South Atlantic on Margaret Thatchers orders. And the Argentine force is much smaller than it was back in the first Falklands war. And according to Jane's defense weakly their training isn't up to the level of class one militaries.

The proper response from the state department shouldn't have been a declaration of neutrality, but a copy of the face palm guy sent to both the British and Argentine governments. With the caption "Don't you socialists with bankrupt governments have better things to do?"

17 posted on 03/04/2010 6:45:44 AM PST by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: GonzoGOP

The Brits don’t really need a surface fleet to steam ten thousand miles for a toe to toe with the Argentines.
One whiff of a UK submarine and the Argie navy will become a non-factor.


18 posted on 03/04/2010 6:51:25 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: joe fonebone
"Let me put this in perspective....britain has colonies all over the world, yet does not have a navy capable of defending them...so, they go to nato ( nato is in reality the United States ) to get nato to defend the colonies it cannot....sorry, but I have to disagree with the whole premise..."

I said basically this same thing in another thread and got pounded for it. Someone else in this thread mentioned what Reagan did in 1982. In 1982, there was a lot of shuttle diplomacy going on by Alexander Haig to settle this situation. There were people in the Reagan administration that was siding with Argentina at that time. I would be in favor of doing what Reagan did in 1982 which is barely a little more than what we are doing now. Other than that, you are correct. If you have colonies all over the world better have a military in place to defend your interests.

This whole tiff is over oil exploration. Perhaps we can pledge military support for a slice of that oil. That would get the left really up in arms. Fighting a true war for oil...
19 posted on 03/04/2010 6:58:39 AM PST by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: agere_contra

I agree with you about the a$$hole in the white house...that idiot has done more damage to the relations this country has with it’s allies than even carter did...but, if you have worldwide colonies, you need a world class deep water navy....britain used to have just that, but no longer...perhaps a change of leadership is needed over there as much as it is needed over here...


20 posted on 03/04/2010 7:13:17 AM PST by joe fonebone (CPAC.....Commies Playing At Conservatism)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
One whiff of a UK submarine and the Argie navy will become a non-factor.

Problem is Argentina can invade using paratroopers. Since the British force on the Island is relatively small they can't hold the entire landmass. If they tried they would be overwhelmed. Their best bet would be to retreat into Port Stanley and hope for relief in a reasonable time. And without flattops to establish air superiority the Brits couldn't run in supplies.

You end up with a mutual sedge. The Brit garrison dung in and surrounded at Port Stanley, and Argentine airborne troops cut off from anything other than air dropped supplies by British SSNs. Some supplies can be flown in, but not enough to get their guys more than the basics. And even that assumes that Argentina can keep all of their transport aircraft air worthy under wartime conditions in and area know for some of the worst weather on the planet.

The Argentine Air Force only has 7 C-130s unless they want to use their two KC-130 tankers as transports. And some of those are old "B" models. If they can capture a jet capable runway they have about a dozen airliner types that can be pressed into service, but the Brits are probably on the ball enough to blow up any runways they can't hold on to.

Basically it is a race to see who starves first.
21 posted on 03/04/2010 7:15:37 AM PST by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: GonzoGOP

Argentines have paratroopers ?


22 posted on 03/04/2010 7:18:29 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: Servant of the Cross

I’m not neutral, but the british people and gov. haven’t always acted towards our best interest as of recent; and they are a bunch of hedonistic appologist for all things Un American.


23 posted on 03/04/2010 7:20:54 AM PST by Porterville ( I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Argentines have paratroopers ?

Allegedly. Don't know about the quality, they might be the equivalent of the Iranian super weapons we hear about all the time.

To date (2009), the Argentine Army has eleven brigades:

two armored brigades (1st and 2nd),
three mechanized brigades (9th, 10th and 11th),
three mountain brigades (5th, 6th and 8th),
one paratroopers brigade (4th) and
two jungle brigade (3rd and 12th).

The islands are only 480 km from Argentina so they can't just use their helicopters to fly out there. So basically until they can capture a runway it is the C-130s. The can also throw stuff out the back door of some of their turboprop airliners. You could probably drop some supplies that way but I wouldn't want to use it for troops.
24 posted on 03/04/2010 7:31:16 AM PST by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: ScottinVA
...our great ally, the British....

Who traded with North Vietnam during the entire conflict there.

I support Britain re the Falklands too. But diplomatic relations are usually not so smooth at all.

25 posted on 03/04/2010 7:40:28 AM PST by onedoug
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To: Old Teufel Hunden
Thanks for your perspective. I have been more enlightened regarding this question and "U.S. military intervention". IMO, this isn't about U.S. military intervention (or even the threat thereof) though. This is just a matter of U.S. foreign policy to "reflexively and instinctively back an ally's interest first with words" rather than being a "neutral weenie". Yes, the Brits should handle their own military needs at colonies (and as mentioned upthread they are more than capable with subs).

This is about the U.S. being the leader and voice for freedom in the world. Again, there is a consensus of the people of the Falkland Islands that they wish to remain British. The U.S. should support that with strong words, not weenie swiss french vichy "neutrality".

26 posted on 03/04/2010 7:40:31 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: GonzoGOP

Unless Argentina has improved the quality of its Army in the last 28 years, things will turn out the same way. I became friends with an Argentinian man who was a Lieutenant in one of the units sent to the Malvinas in 1982. Almost all of his soldiers were conscripts, ethnically natives, and poorly educated. Many of them did not speak Spanish very well.

He told the story, that in Basic training, several of his soldiers had never even used a toilet before. Training was a serious challenge and most of his men were from the warm jungles in the north and not used to the sub-freezing temperatures in the Malvinas during winter. He didn’t want to surrender his men at Port Stanley, but had no choice. They refused to fight.


27 posted on 03/04/2010 7:42:13 AM PST by CholeraJoe (Schrodinger's Hat - Simultaneously on your head and off.)
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To: GonzoGOP
You end up with a mutual sedge. The Brit garrison dung in and surrounded

I can see a mutual sedge, but a Brit garrison surrounded in dung, that's very smelly.

28 posted on 03/04/2010 7:59:22 AM PST by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages - In Honor of Standing Wolf)
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To: USS Alaska

A combination of poor typing skills and spell check are out to get me, I’m sure of it.


29 posted on 03/04/2010 8:01:05 AM PST by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: Servant of the Cross
"The U.S. should support that with strong words, not weenie swiss french vichy "neutrality"."

The time may come for that. For now, Argentina is huffing and puffing but nothing is being done. I don't personally think it will go beyond huffing and puffing. If it does, I would hope that even Obama would do the minimal where we side with Britian and give them sattelite or logistical support if needed. The big difference between now and 1982 is that in 1982 Argentina was ruled by military juntas. They are a democracy and usually democracies do not go to war with each other.
30 posted on 03/04/2010 8:01:42 AM PST by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: Servant of the Cross
Mr. Yummy nails another one.

Lets see, in one week we drop-kicked two vital allies onto the poop pile. But, hey, you Brits and Turks are in great company.

I wonder if those air traffic control kids are available to run our country.

31 posted on 03/05/2010 10:46:39 AM PST by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: Deb
Hey! Yes, VDH (aka mr yummy?!) does it again. Brings in the historical context of the leader of the free world and its allies in this pursuit and then highlights how that role is being sullied ("drop-kicked into the poop pile" [damn nice phraseology!]) by the current "usurper/poseur in chief".

Now that's an idea about the air traffic control kids running the country. Clearly more mature, eh?

32 posted on 03/05/2010 12:48:21 PM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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