Skip to comments.Fumbling the Falklands (Obama Administration Knifes Britain in the back again)
Posted on 02/15/2012 10:47:19 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Remember when Barack Obama promised to restore our standing with America’s allies and exercise “smart power” in diplomacy? Good times, good times. In the latest dispute over the Falkland Islands, Obama has failed to support our closest ally on the world stage even after their military and diplomatic support for our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in what the Telegraph’s Nile Gardiner called another knife in the back:
First, military weakness is provocative. Argentina ramped up its aggressive rhetoric and diplomatic efforts to reclaim the Falklands only after P.M. Cameron announced massive cuts to the Royal Navy and British ground forces. The decommissioning last December of the U.K.s sole remaining aircraft carrier, Ark Royal, well before its service life ended, and the sale of Britains 50 G-9 Sea Harrier fighter jets to the U.S. Marine Corps, seems to have emboldened the Argentines. In 1982, the Royal Navy had approximately 90 warships from which it could assemble a task force. Today it has 30. Indeed, most experts believe that while it would be very difficult for the Argentine military to successfully invade the islands, it would be nearly impossible for the U.K. to retake them without an aircraft carrier in the event that Argentina was successful in overrunning Britains key air base at Mount Pleasant. …
Second, the Obama administration has made the United States an unreliable ally for our closest friends. Britain has been a stalwart ally of the U.S. in both Iraq and Afghanistan, notwithstanding the tremendous domestic political pressure on Labour and Conservative governments not to participate in those unpopular wars. However, in 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for talks over the dispute and even appeared to side with Argentina during a press conference with President Kirchner in Buenos Aires. Last month, as the current situation developed, rather than send a clear message to Argentina that the United States supported its longtime ally, a State Department spokesman demurred: [t]his is a bilateral issue that needs to be worked out directly between the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom We recognize de facto United Kingdom administration of the islands, but take no position regarding sovereignty. Nile Gardiner, the Telegraphs Washington correspondent, wrote in response that the Obama administration knife[d] Britain in the back again over the Falklands.
The shabby treatment meted out to Americas special relationship partner in this instance cannot be seen as a surprise. It is in line with the administrations treatment of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (at least prior to Bob Turner winning Anthony Weiners Congressional seat in New York). Poland and the Czech Republic suffered similar slights after the Administration unilaterally cancelled ABM sites in those countries as part of its naïve and, so far, unsuccessful attempt to reset relations with Russia. And, there has been much criticism of the Administration for failing to provide Taiwan with the latest F-16 fighters that it has long requested to defend itself against a potential attack by China. There is no doubt that American allies such as Israel, Colombia, Georgia, Taiwan, the Gulf States and the Baltics, all of which live in dangerous neighborhoods, are watching the United States response to the Falklands row with concern.
Third, failing to promote the rule of law, democracy and self-determination in the Falklands will damage the United States ability to promote those goals in other nations. The 3,200 residents of the Falklands have been there for over 175 years. They descend from people who have inhabited the Islands for far longer than many Argentines have inhabited their own country. They are, apparently without exception, in favor of maintaining their local parliamentary government and association with Britain. There are no Argentines on the islands and there are no displaced Las Malvinas (as Argentina has labeled the islands) refugees in Argentina seeking a right of return. The current diplomatic crisis follows the nationalistic playbook that President Kirchner borrowed from the former military junta and that is promoted by her mentor in Caracas. The fact that there are large oil reserves off the Falklands is also fueling Argentine territorial ambitions as its government would love to get control of such resources.
It’s not as if one can see Argentina from the Falklands, or vice versa. The islands are 250 nautical miles off the coast of Argentina, far beyond anyone’s idea of sovereign waters. Cuba is only 90 miles off of the American coast, and the Bahamas even closer. Would anyone accept an American assertion that those islands belong to the US despite the wishes of its inhabitants? Of course not. The Danish commonwealth of Greenland is closer to Canada than Europe, but a Canadian claim of sovereignty would be laughed off the stage (not that Canadians are interested in making such a claim).
How difficult is it for the US to stand up for self-determination? Falklanders do not want Argentinian sovereignty. They see themselves as British, and want to continue being British. There is no good reason for Argentina to make this claim other than the oil, which the US should prefer to remain in the hands of the British, given the direction of the Argentinian government lately.
The US used to stand for self-determination, and used to stand up for its allies. The Obama administration isn't interested in doing either. That may be a lot of things, but "smart power" isn't one of them.
Blame America for being a super power and protecting the world; allowed for those such cuts.
Whenever you depend on Gov't you will suffer. Relying on America has provided the security for European countries to expand their domestic welfare programs and everlasting vacations.
Sean Penn is advising the WH on British foreign policy. He speaks Austrian too;)
Look to see Obama selling or giving Warships and Bunker Buster bombs to Argentina. England was unwise to cut their Military—such thing invite adventurism from ones enemies? America has been compromised by Chinese loans—we can not act against Red China or they will call in their loans—that we can not repay. Now China Needs us—but what happens when they do not?
It’s not fumbling. It’s deliberate.
Libs on radio have recently been upset that because of China's top down authority and central planning that they will progress further than US. We shall see.
I don’t worry so much about China controlling us through the bonds themselves, it will be when the interest on those bonds becomes a larger portion of our insolvent budget.
This adage was given to me long ago: when you owe the local bank 10K, they control you. When you owe the local bank 10million, you control the bank.
Obamster with any problem between Argentina and Britain over the Falklands, or anything else, gets a twofer...he hates Britain, whom he calls England, and loves any pro lefty government like they have in Argentina now.
If there is another war down there it will be Barry’s fault because the Argentines will have have misread our intentions (just as some addle-brained general down there misread the Monroe Doctrine in 1982)
British cuts have nothing to do with ‘relying’ on America.
They have to with the end of the Cold War, cuts by the last Labour govt (1997-2010), and of course, the global recession.
If there is one European nation that doesnt rely on America, its the UK. We have always punched above our weight and have never needed to ‘rely’ on America. Not in 1950, 1980 or now. Your assertion is nonsense.
The UK and France are the two major European nations that defend themselves.
Sure. Suez Canal and Britain won the Cold War. Got it.
Do you actually know anything about Britain or do you just throw out cliches?. I am surprised you didnt claim we give free money to Muslims. You clearly know little or nothing about Britain and even less about the British military or the British in the Cold War.
Britain has never needed the umbrella of American military protection that other European nations needed and have needed. During the Cold War, Britain still had an Empire well into the 1960’s, and had a large armed forces and was (as we still are) a nuclear power. And since the end of Empire and then Cold War, we have always punched above our weight when it comes to war: Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia.
In the 1950’s and 60’s and even into the 70’s, Britain fought several wars which had no American involvement. And all this at a time when we were the major European power against the USSR. If we need you, why did we NOT need you later either in 1982?.
You seem to think that because America has bases in the UK and has had since 1945 that that means Britain ‘needs’ America there to protect it. You are here and have been here for 60 years because you are our biggest ally, be it against the USSR and now in a post 9-11 world. You have been here and are here because it has suited and suits YOUR military strategy. We were the ‘unsinkable aircraft carrier’ that allowed America to defend mainland Europe and stand against the USSR. And also because we are your most faithful military ally, one that although weaker than we were, still have a sizeable and respected military power and ability. And for many years after 1945, still had a formidable military force at America’s side.
If America had left most of Europe in 1960 or 1970 or 1980, the USSR would have overran it. If America had left Britain in 1960, 1970 or in 1980, Britain would still have been able to defend itself.
Thats the difference........you are correct that America protects and protected Europe and allowed the continent to become complacent. But you are wrong to suggest that Britain was a nation that has needed American protection.
We were and are the one major European power that DIDNT need it. Not in 1950, not in 1980, not in 2012.
I hope you’re right. I’d say “may it always be so,” but the way things are going, I’m not sure that’s the right thing to hope for.
I’ll wager that you feel the same.
We didnt lose suez because of american support.
“In 1982, the Royal Navy had approximately 90 warships from which it could assemble a task force. Today it has 30.”
They were not able to assemble a completely capable task force in 1982 without our help.
If not for the legendary cowardice of the Argentine troops, the Falklands war would have been over before they got their task force down there, and then they’d have needed an invasion force.
“We were and are the one major European power that DIDNT need it. Not in 1950, not in 1980, not in 2012.”
You might have been able to defend the Falklands in 1950, but you couldn’t in 1980 on your own, and it is only the more ineffective Argentines that give you a comparative advantage in 2012 - and you’re not going to leave the island essentially undefended as you did in 1982.
30 ships is not enough for an island nation to defend itself, much less project power to defend interests.
We’re headed there ourselves, but it’ll take at least a decade before we see hints of the Royal Navy’s level of incapability in the US Navy.
RE: They were not able to assemble a completely capable task force in 1982 without our help.
Can they count on us if (God forbid) there is a next time?
“Can they count on us if (God forbid) there is a next time?”
They are fools to think we can be counted on after Obama.
1-—American help in 1982 has been grossly exaggerated.
Not one ship of the Task Force was American. America gave Britain millions of tons of fuel from Ascension Island, but it was still a small percentage of the fuel used by us. Also please remember the island is British and leased to you. The biggest American help was in fact satellite intelligence. Britain also received substantial logistical support from South Africa (fuel/repairs/supplies), as well as Chile. Britain also REJECTED Weinberger’s offer of a US carrier. As it wasnt needed.
Sorry, but the idea that Britain needed America in order to win in 1982 is not remotely true. We thank you for your help, but such help since has been exaggerated into a myth that it was crucial and that wed have lost without it.
2—The islands since 1982 are armed to the teeth. Any landing now would get mauled by the garrison there.
p.s my references to 1950 and 1980 were actually about the UK defending itself from the USSR and British military strength worldwide at those times.
See my reply to RFEngineer.
All I can say is Margaret Thatcher is not there anymore.
I just hope that the Britain, 30 years later has the money, arms and most of all, THE NATIONAL WILL POWER to defeat any agression.
I’m not sure the current American administration will be willing to help based on their public statements.
See here for instance:
TITLE : Hillary Clinton slaps Britain in the face over the Falklands
“American help in 1982 has been grossly exaggerated.”
Thatcher thought it crucial and decisive, as I recall.
I don’t think you’d not have won, it just would have been uglier.
Still, you’re right that Argentina has no chance today - they cannot mount an amphibious landing, assuming they even had troops with fortitude to fight.
Unfortunately, Pinochet isn't around this time, to help the Brits.
The decommissioning last December of the U.K.'s sole remaining aircraft carrier, Ark Royal, well before its service life ended, and the sale of Britain's 50 G-9 Sea Harrier fighter jets to the U.S. Marine Corps, seems to have emboldened the Argentines.BHF, what was that link again?
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