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Obama Administration Equivocates on Pro-British Falklands Referendum

The president is playing the "anti-imperialist" game.

by
Mike McNally

Bio

March 19, 2013 - 12:04 am
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However, statements made by top officials in the Obama administration, and by Obama himself, suggest that under his presidency the U.S. position has tilted in favor of Argentina.  Hillary Clinton set the tone in March 2010, at a press conference with Kirchner during a visit to Buenos Aires.  Asked about the Falklands, she said: “We would like to see Argentina and the United Kingdom sit down and resolve the issues between them across the table in a peaceful, productive way.” John Kerry has taken much the same line. During his visit to Britain last month, Kerry said Washington would continue to urge “a peaceful resolution of this critical issue.”

Obama took a similar position at last year’s Summit of the Americas, when he said he looked forward to Britain and Argentina continuing to “dialogue” on the issue.  This was the speech in which he referred to the Falklands as the Maldives, when he intended to call them by their Argentine name, Las Malvinas. The gaffe may have been harmless, but was illustrative of Obama’s lack of interest in the subject, beyond indulging the anti-imperialist sentiments of the numerous left-wing leaders present. And if Obama watchers such as Dinesh D’Souza are to be believed, Obama has issues with Britain’s colonialist history, stemming from his father’s and grandfather’s experiences under British rule in Kenya, that would incline him towards siding with Argentina.

From Britain’s point of view, however, there are no “issues” that need to be resolved, and no need for it to “dialogue” with Argentina. The Falklands are British, and that’s the end of it, until and unless Argentina should decide to move against the islands. But Obama, Clinton, and now Kerry have all effectively said that Argentina has a legitimate grievance that Britain should acknowledge and address, and intimated that the current arrangement is not necessarily permanent and could be altered.

All things considered, it’s not hard to imagine, at some point in the future, the Obama administration backing a “resolution” to the Falklands dispute that would be more to Argentina’s liking than Britain’s — perhaps shared sovereignty or some form of joint administration. In terms of foreign policy accomplishments, it wouldn’t exactly be solving the Israel-Palestine dispute, but it would be a feather in Obama’s and Kerry’s caps, and it would play well with the restive neighbors down south, as well as with Latino voters back home.

The administration’s reaction to the Falklands referendum result was predictably equivocal. A State Department spokeswoman said that, while the U.S. noted the outcome, “we obviously recognize that there are competing claims,” and called on “all sides” to focus their efforts on a resolution.

The Falkland islanders’ resounding declaration of their desire to remain British is something of an embarrassment for Obama and Kerry, given their championing of self-determination for the peoples of Libya, Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere. The proper U.S response would have been a statement to the effect that the people of the Falklands have made their wishes clear, and that Argentina should respect their decision and cease its efforts to intimidate the islanders and hamper the Falklands economy.

Instead, Obama and Kerry, like Clinton before him, would rather curry favor with the failing, corrupt, and bullying socialist regime in Buenos Aires, and with the rest of the region’s left-wing basket cases, than show solidarity with a country that has long been one of America’s closest allies.

In the long term, Argentina’s obsession with the Falklands will hopefully abate when its people decide to start electing responsible leaders who are more interested in tackling real problems than trying to distract them with nationalistic sideshows. In the short term, the situation remains volatile, and by accepting that Argentina has a case, and encouraging them to pursue it, the Obama administration is helping to keep the incompetent and unstable Kirchner in power. It’s bad news for her country, and quite possibly for the Falklands — because if Kirchner feels that the U.S. won’t stand with Britain as it did when her country invaded in 1982, she might just be emboldened into doing something very stupid.

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Mike McNally is a journalist based in Bath, England. He posts at PJ Tatler and at his own blog Monkey Tennis, and tweets at @notoserfdom. When he's not writing about politics he writes about Photoshop.

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Top Rated Comments   
As a dual citizen of the United States and of Britain, it's not Obama's place to get involved in negotiations about the Falklands unless this assistance is requested by Britain (unlikely). The Falkland Islanders are of British descent and wish to remain under British rule. There are no Argentineans there to rule over and have not been for far longer than the Brits have been there.

The suggestion that America should push their nose in is as welcome to me, as a Brit, as the suggestion that, without an invitation, the Brits should suggest starting negotiations over whether the Chinese should have a ruling role in Hawaii has on me as an American. No way, Jose!

And don't forget, the Falklands War was started by Argentina to shore up a disliked dictatorship. They showed their colors by being quite willing to slaughter the Falklanders - heck, they "disappeared" their own Argentinean critics as a matter of routine. Is it really right to consider handing over power to them? A bit like saying "OK, Hitler, you lost the war, but we're prepared to negitiate you having power over the Jews."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Somebody in the media needs the ask Obama, "Mr. President, what would be the American position in the case of an imperialist aggression against the Falklands by Argentina?" or "What is your position on the Falkland referendum against imperial expansion by Argentina?"

This question would blow Obama's mind! Obama is clearly informed by the racial marxism of elite American academia. He simply cannot fathom that the white, European country is NOT the imperialist aggressor. One country invades another country's territory, searching for oil to placate its unhappy populace. I can't think of a better definition of imperialism, but Obama won't be able to see that because of his rigid perception of a racial bourgeois/proletariat dichotomy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The UN and most US administrations believe that local people should be able to determine their own destiny. CF - Kosovo, Libya, et al. Add to that the fact that the closest bit of Argentina is over 200 statute miles from the closest bit of the Falkland Islands and it seems the Argentina claim is greatly weakened. Also, Britain claimed the Islands in the mid-1700's. They occupied them in the 1830s and the population is entirely of British descent. Case closed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
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"Instead, Obama and Kerry, like Clinton before him, would rather curry favor with the failing, corrupt, and bullying socialist regime in Buenos Aires, and with the rest of the region’s left-wing basket cases, than show solidarity with a country that has long been one of America’s closest allies."

Exactly. This country's former steadfast loyalty to its allies disappeared with the ascent of this administration. None of them, especially Britain and Israel, can count on America's support, especially if abandoning them can curry favor with a socialist or Muslim regime somewhere.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yep.. any day now we'll hear about the Portuguese wanting the French-controlled islands St. Pierre and Miquelon off Newfoundland they'd discovered.

The Falkland Islands affair re: Kirchner's stance is asinine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah, the '..continued dialogue..' '..discussions..' shtick from Lurch, Pauper-looking-Pantsuit and Barack Kardashian is poorly-worded, plain as day 'code' for, 'We sure hope Britain gives up it's islands to the Socialist/Economic-hell err 'utopia' of Argentina's moronic, uhm 'enlightened' government. For that's what we want oh so badly for the USA'.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think someone on this website said it best (I am paraphrasing):
Argentinians are Italians who speak Spanish, act French, and wish they were English. And for some reason they take orders from a leader with a German name...any wonder they don't know their a** from a hole in the ground?
(they do know how to play soccer though)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If Argentina is a victim of British imperialism because of the Falklands, the U.S. is a victim of British imperialism because of Canada. What part of Manifest Destiny don't those limeys understand?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As a dual citizen of the United States and of Britain, it's not Obama's place to get involved in negotiations about the Falklands unless this assistance is requested by Britain (unlikely). The Falkland Islanders are of British descent and wish to remain under British rule. There are no Argentineans there to rule over and have not been for far longer than the Brits have been there.

The suggestion that America should push their nose in is as welcome to me, as a Brit, as the suggestion that, without an invitation, the Brits should suggest starting negotiations over whether the Chinese should have a ruling role in Hawaii has on me as an American. No way, Jose!

And don't forget, the Falklands War was started by Argentina to shore up a disliked dictatorship. They showed their colors by being quite willing to slaughter the Falklanders - heck, they "disappeared" their own Argentinean critics as a matter of routine. Is it really right to consider handing over power to them? A bit like saying "OK, Hitler, you lost the war, but we're prepared to negitiate you having power over the Jews."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not the point. As an ally the US SHOULD back the UK on this - even if only verbally. Obummer does not do this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is a difference between backing the UK and meddling in its politics. The UK doesn't need America's help negotiating with the Argentines over the Falklands. We didn't do it last time the issue came to a head, why start now?

The only thing that worries me is whether the UK still has the ability to defend its territory and citizens if necessary. The British armed forces barely managed it back in the 80s. Today, I'm not sure they could even get to the Falklands, much less fight a war there. If negotiations broke down, would we be out of line helping the UK militarily?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, the US should back the UK. But I don't see why my point has any less merit.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama seems to always like the underdog...except, of course if the underdog isn't a socialist/communist. He wouldn't want to upset Mother Russia or Father China.

Based upon recent photos of the actor in "The Bible", that would also explain why The Devil Didn't Go Down To Georgia.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So what is The Whine's position regarding Spanish & Portuguese imperialism against the Aztecs, et al.? If he's truly against imperialism hundreds of years later, he needs to decamp from America and return to his father's country of Kenya.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

One has to almost admire the fluidity, if that's the word, of the post-colonial/anti-colonial crowd. A while back I was reading about how the Spaniards had colonized Mexico which apparently hadn't been previously colonized by the Aztecs. And now I come across the British-colonized Falklands which the supposedly non-colonial Argentinians would now like to colonize.

I sure hope that all this confusion doesn't intrude on my tango lessons.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First the islands were technically territory under the Spanish. The French and the British tried to claim but because it was practically a barren island with no natural port it was dot in the map. That all exchanged in the 1820s when Argentina declared independence and claimed the Malvina within their sovereignty, In 1833 with the growth of their colonies and better technology to build ports and bases that's when The British claimed the Islands. It was for their own colonial reasons. Now as to the claim of the residents of the Falklands wanting to stay British, well you go to Britain itself and their alot of Brits who don't feel it in their interest to keep the Falklands at the expense that is being paid for. No in response to Spinoneone about pinoneone
"The UN and most US administrations believe that local people should be able to determine their own destiny". Yes you are right but what conveniently forget is that they want to determine independence. By the way I am opposed to Kosovo independence and that the KLA were all just a bunch of freedom fighters fighting against tyranny is as much of lie as when Reagan heralded the Contras as equal to the "Patriots" who fought the Red Coats. As fo the general mind set that this is about socialism anyone who claims that is a moron this is about nationalism, pure and simple. For Thatcher and I'm sure her successors The Falklands represent the last vestige of imperial glory, that's why they hold onto Gibralter and Northern Ireland. And it is nationalism that drives the Argentines many of whom are conservative, and also 99.99 European descent in make up of the population. So any claim that this is a brown vs white scenario is a moron. Oh and davidstanley with your bit about how the Argentines should be grateful. Should they also be grateful to Washington for helping the Junta get into power in the first place, giving them cover for the dirty war within their borders, and get them in to coridinate with their neighbors to run Operation Condor and maintain direct links with neo-fascists in Europe operating under Gladio?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Everything you've said is bogus! It was discovered and populated by the British in the 1770's. And if anybody had prior claim it would have been Portugul.

Were did your radical talking points from?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah.. reading Suenteus Po's incoherent, though portions I could understand - fictional dribble, I recommend he 1/2 the dosage or consider decaf.

Wow!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As a dual Brit/American, I can assure you that there also are a lot of Brits who do not feel that we should abandon British people to a dictatorship that routinely "disappears" their own critics. After all, there's also a lot of Americans who feel we should not get involved in anything, but we still do.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So 99.98% of the Falklands population want to stay under Britain. You don't address that. BTW, it ain't socialism they don't want it's the dictatorial Kirchner regime that has NO appeal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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