Stand with Britain on the Falklands
9:50 AM, Mar 18, 2013 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
Of course, the real story here is President Kirchner’s shameless attempt to create a foreign conflict that will overshadow high inflation, new price controls on food, strict currency controls, labor unrest, teacher strikes, declining press freedom, widespread corruption, rising crime, and creeping autocracy. It is hard to overstate what a mess Kirchner has made of Argentina’s economy, and the International Monetary Fund recently censured her government for doctoring its official inflation and GDP data.
Meanwhile, Argentina has agreed to whitewash the 1994 Iranian-backed bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires. For that matter, Argentina has also dramatically increased its exports to Iran (which rose by 937 percent in 2011).
Thus, by refusing to support British sovereignty over the Falklands, the Obama administration is emboldening a thuggish, quasi-authoritarian regime that is undercutting U.S. efforts to isolate the Iranian theocracy. We should also note that Kirchner has pursued an aggressively anti-U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, since the beginning of 2011, her government has accused Washington of running torture schools, has petulantly seized equipment from a U.S. military plane, and has threatened U.S. banks for assisting British oil exploration in the Falklands.
With inflation estimated at 26 percent and labor unions angrily demanding higher wages, Agence France-Presse reports that Kirchner’s approval rating is “plummeting.” Argentina has national legislative elections scheduled for October, so the government is desperate to shift attention away from the economy and onto the Falklands. Right now, the Obama administration is making it much easier for Buenos Aires to prolong the dispute with London and rally regional support across Latin America. It is well past time for Washington to recognize British sovereignty over the islands and tell Kirchner to stop her campaign of intimidation.
Jaime Daremblum, who served as Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2004, is director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute.