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When you help your enemies (Egypt) and not your allies (England) you just know that the current government of your country has its priorities out of whack.
Controversy exists over the Falklands’ original discovery and subsequent colonization by Europeans. At various times there have been French, British, Spanish, and Argentine settlements. Britain re-established its rule in 1833, though the islands continue to be claimed by Argentina. In 1982, following Argentina’s invasion of the islands, the two-month-long undeclared Falklands War between both countries resulted in the surrender of all Argentine forces and the return of the islands to British administration. The Falkland Islands are not a colony of the United Kingdom but an “overseas territory,” roughly comparable to the status of Guam or the Virgin Islands as U.S. territories.
Great Britain may be described as America’s closest ally, especially in the past century. We are the two world’s oldest free-market democracies, same language, culture, common law, and have stood side by side in several wars including in Afghanistan.
Last week the residents of the Falkland Islands conducted a free, open referendum and voted overwhelmingly (99.8 percent) to retain their status as a British overseas territory. The United States remains the world’s foremost advocate for democracy and their position on the Falkland Islands should be very clear. Except they are not.
When asked last week if the State Department had any comment on the referendum, or took into account the stated wishes of the people who live on the Falkland Islands, spokesman Victoria Nuland repeated the department’s position that there are “competing claims” to the Falklands, about which the United States of America has no opinion.
Argentina’s claim to the Falklands is largely an invention of the Peron dictatorship. During the 1950s while the Peron regime was dying they began searching for nationalist causes to promote and they did not search far to begin claim of the Falklands. The pattern repeated itself during the military junta years of the late 1970s and ended with a war in 1982. The current president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, is rallying her fellow Peronists during a the country’s corruption and collapsing economy.
A member of the Falklands Legislative Assembly, visiting Washington last week, said after the referendum that “it is time that other nations around the world who respect human rights and democracy, and who are not afraid to stand up for justice and freedom, lend us their support.” Indeed, it is past time.