At the time that the UK is looking back on the 1982 Falklands War remembering its fallen heroes, the Argentine government is whipping up a frenzy amongst its people looking for another bash at grabbing control over the islands.
The rabble-rousing words of the current Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner have led to riots in the Capital, Buenos Aires, as masked protestors tried to overrun the British embassy. They were held back by their own police using water cannon, who were in turn attacked with Molotov Cocktails by union flag burning militants.
The Argentines keep saying they ‘own’ the islands, especially now that there may be oil in the region. They have expressed o regard for the islanders themselves. They have therefore totally lost any tenuous link they may have had to the Falkland Islands.
The UK must stand firm or risk degrading the lives lost by our servicemen during that infamous Argentine instigated conflict 30 years ago.
The UK defence secretary has said that there is no credible military threat to the islands sovereignty, “We do not intend to repeat the mistake of 1982 and allow the Falklands to be taken from us. We will defend them robustly, we have the assets, the people, the equipment in place to do so. We are not going to lose the Falklands. We have the assets in position on the Falklands which we didn’t back in the early Eighties. I emphasise again, there is not the slightest intelligence to suggest any credible military threat to the Falklands.” He said.
But just look back and you will see that we made the same assumption in 1982. At the time we decided to withdraw the survey vessel HMS Endurance, which may have given the Argentines the idea that we were no longer interested in the Falkland Islands.
What are we doing today? We are ‘temporarily’ (for about a decade) giving up our ability to project air-power via carriers. As an island nation with people abroad who rely on us this is a veritable crime.
And when the government eventually talks about re-arming (because that is what it will be) it will meet extremely strong resistance to those that would rather see the money spent on projects at home. Especially if we have decided to ‘share’ defence capability with France (already planned and in the pipeline). Unless we have a strong government at that time then we will have lost our ability to truly defend the islands forever.
But to some this will be a boon, no more wars no more deaths. But it will also mean a reduced ability to support such things as the Arab Spring.
We are an island nation and we cannot rely on the sea or some sort of faith in a new neutrality to keep others out. Only the naive could possibly think that.