Wednesday, March 14, 2012

David Cameron must stand up to Barack Obama over the Falkland Islands

From The Telegraph:

David Cameron must stand up to Barack Obama over the Falkland Islands

British troops in the Falklands, 1982
Two hundred and fifty-five British troops were killed in the Falklands
David Cameron’s talks with Barack Obama at the White House this week are expected to focus on Iran, Afghanistan and Syria, all areas where there is common ground between London and Washington. But it is on the issue of the Falklands, and Argentina’s sabre-rattling, that the biggest split will emerge between the US and British leaders.
The Obama administration has sided with Argentina’s call for UN-brokered direct negotiations between London and Buenos Aires – a slap in the face for America’s closest ally – as well as an insult to the more than 3,000 Falkland Islanders, the vast majority of whom wish to remain under the Crown and the protection of the Union flag.
As I noted in a recent piece:
At the heart of the Obama administration’s approach is its abject failure to distinguish between America’s most important ally and an increasingly anti-American regime in Latin America, which is closely allied with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. There is a fundamental difference between Great Britain, which has fought alongside the United States in almost every major war involving the US since World War Two, and Argentina, a minor player on the world stage, that barely lifts a finger to help the Americans with anything.
The Special Relationship is hugely important to the United States, from the battlefields of Afghanistan and the wider war against Islamist terrorism to US-led efforts to halt the rise of a nuclear-armed Iran. On almost every major international issue, the United States looks to Britain for support. Yet inexplicably this current administration continues to knife London in the back over the Falklands.
The Obama administration’s reckless calls for negotiations over the Falklands are nothing less than a betrayal of a close friend and ally, and will only serve to further encourage the Argentine regime in its foolhardy attempts to intimidate the people of the Falklands.
David Cameron must stand up to Barack Obama over the Falklands and convey a clear message that his administration’s stance is unhelpful, and is only encouraging Argentine president Cristina Kirchner’s drive to isolate the Falklands and stir up a confrontation in the South Atlantic. He must remind President Obama that 255 British servicemen laid down their lives to liberate the Falklands after the Argentine invasion in 1982, and that Great Britain will never give up the Islands.
The prime minister should call on the US President to back the right to self-determination of the Falkland Islanders and formally recognise British sovereignty over the Islands. This is an important moment for Mr Cameron to exercise leadership on the issue, to reiterate that Britain will defend the Falklands in the face of any aggression, and to remind the world that the future of the Falklands is non-negotiable.

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