9:50 AM, Mar 18, 2013 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
There are legitimate territorial disputes, and then there is Argentina’s dispute with Great Britain over the Falkland Islands.
Here are the basic facts: The Falklands (located in the South Atlantic, roughly 300 miles from Argentina) were discovered by a British explorer in 1690 and have been under formal British rule for 180 years. British sovereignty was confirmed in 1982, when Her Majesty’s Forces successfully repelled an Argentine military invasion. Today, virtually all Falklanders strongly support the status quo. However, Argentine president Cristina Kirchner, a close friend and ally of the late Hugo Chávez, has spent the past two years demanding that London relinquish sovereignty over the islands and allow them to become Argentine territory. Kirchner began rattling sabers in 2011, when she was up for reelection. Since then, as Argentina’s economic situation has deteriorated, her government’s rhetoric has gotten more belligerent. For Kirchner—as for past Argentine leaders, including General Leopoldo Galtieri, who ordered the 1982 invasion—the islands represent an easy way to distract attention from domestic problems and stoke nationalist passions.
In short: There is no reason for Washington to treat the Falklands dispute as an honest quarrel between two countries with equally valid claims. Unfortunately, that is exactly how the Obama administration has treated it.
Consider what happened last week. On Sunday and Monday, the Falklands held an internationally monitored referendum, asking residents whether they wanted the archipelago to remain part of the United Kingdom. Literally 99.8 percent of voters said “yes.” In fact, out of 1,517 valid ballots cast, only three supported the “no” position. (Turnout was 92 percent.) And yet, after witnessing this nearly unanimous statement by Falklands residents, the Obama administration once again refused to affirm British sovereignty over the islands.
“The residents have clearly expressed their preference for a continued relationship with the United Kingdom,” declared State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “That said, we obviously recognize there are competing claims. Our formal position has not changed. We recognize the de facto U.K. administration of the islands, but we take no position on sovereignty claims.”
Nuland’s comments echoed those of Secretary of State John Kerry, who during his February 25 press conference with British foreign secretary William Hague said that “the United States recognizes de facto U.K. administration of the islands, but takes no position on the question of the parties’ sovereignty claims thereto. And we support cooperation between U.K. and Argentina on practical matters, and we continue to urge a peaceful resolution of that critical issue.”
But what is there to resolve? The Falklands have been an official British territory since 1833, and their residents wish to remain British subjects—after the March 10-11 referendum, there can be no doubt about that. Thus, from London’s perspective, there is nothing to negotiate.
10:34 AM, Feb 5, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In his first foreign trip in the second term of President Barack Obama's presidency, Vice President Joe Biden is gaffing his way across Europe. Biden's three country trip has taken him from Germany to France and, finally, to the UK, where he's just finishing meetings.
12:53 PM, Jun 1, 2012 • By THERESA CIVANTOS
The British government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, recently introduced a new initiative offering first-time parents relationship counseling, childcare classes, and advice via email and text message – all subsidized by the National Health Service, Department of Health, and Department for Education.
11:36 AM, May 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
While the debate continues over how to deal with an Iran that has nuclear ambitions, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has other things on his mind.
12:00 AM, Mar 17, 2012 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
It’s better to be lucky than good. So goes the old saw. It’s better still to be both lucky and good, which is what Britain’s new ambassador here in Washington seems to be.
10:45 AM, Mar 14, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
From the White House, via the pool report:
On the occasion of the Official Visit, The President and Mrs. Obama gave the Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron a one-of-a-kind Braten 1000 Series Grill hand made by Engelbrecht Grills and Cookers of Paxton, Illinois. Symbolizing the personal friendship between the President and Mrs. Obama and Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron, the gift commemorates their May 2011 visit to 10 Downing Street where together they grilled and served food to American and British Armed Service Members.
3:19 PM, Jan 24, 2012 • By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
The Guardian reported on Friday that Press TV, the English-language news outlet operated by Iran’s clerical regime since 2007, was stripped of its license for violating broadcasting regulations.
11:44 AM, Dec 14, 2011 • By ZACK MUNSON
With still about a month until its American release, controversy is beginning to swirl around the new Harvey Weinstein produced Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady. That a Hollywood film about the life of one of the 20th Century’s great conservatives might play fast and loose with the facts should certainly come as no surprise.
12:58 PM, Nov 30, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Reuters reports that, in response to the Iranian attack on Britain's embassy in Tehran yesterday, Iranian diplomats have been booted from London and British diplomats in Iran have been brought back home:
Britain shut down the Iranian embassy in London and expelled all its staff on Wednesday, saying the storming of the British diplomatic mission in Tehran could not have taken place without some degree of consent from Iranian authorities.
4:04 PM, Nov 29, 2011 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
The attack on the British embassy in Tehran came just days after the Iranian “parliament” voted to expel the British ambassador, and therefore reeks of official complicity. The attack—complete with an invasion of the grounds, looting, and a brief hostage-taking—is an always useful reminder of the nature of the regime in Tehran. These are thugs, whatever their religious titles.
11:00 AM, Sep 22, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
New York, New York—"Until we have a resolution to see, Daniel, the United Kingdom is not answering that question and you will not evoke another answer, I know, from another authoritative source from the United Kingdom delegation,” Alistair Burt, a member of Parliament and a member of the UK delegation to the U.N., tells me in response to a question about whether his nation will support the Palestinian bid for statehood this week.
6:15 PM, Aug 9, 2011 • By ALEX DELLA ROCCHETTA
The riots in the United Kingdom continue for a fourth straight day. On Tuesday, Londoners awoke to torched cars and street scuffles in Ealing, police horses lining up in Lewisham, and stores and residences in flames in Tottenham. Prosperous boroughs in the capital now resemble war zones, as mobs continue to overwhelm police and loot stores. In the last twenty-four hours, disorder has also spread to cities across England, including Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, and Nottingham.