Britain 'should not expect US help over Falkland Islands'

Apr 3, 2012

'Special relationship' with US only goes so far, says Max Hastings

FOLLOWING an extraordinary day that saw an impassioned speech from Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to mark the 30th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War followed by the burning of an effigy of Prince William by a mob outside the British Embassy in Buenos Aires, Max Hastings has written in the Daily Mail that Britain should expect no help from the United States should the situation escalate.

President Kirchner made her speech to a crowd of about 5,000 in Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego province, to which Argentines consider the Falkland Islands belong. She said that it was unjust that a "colonial enclave" exists "just a few kilometres away", adding: "Every day that goes by, it looks more ridiculous, more absurd to the eyes of the world."

Kirchner went on to insist that Britain end its oil exploration in the island's territorial waters, accusing London of "usurping our environment, our natural resources, our oil".

As she spoke, demonstrators in Buenos Aires, including members of the nationalist group Quebracho, threw Molotov cocktails, burned an effigy of Prince William and chanted: "English out of Malvinas!"

The protesters, who came up against baton-wielding riot police and water cannon, claimed they were denouncing the "provocation" of the UK. The Ministry of Defence has said that one of its most advanced warships, the HMS Dauntless, will leave Portsmouth tomorrow on a routine six-month deployment to the islands.

With emotions running high, Max Hastings, who reported on the Falklands War and was at the liberation of Port Stanley in June 1982, warns that Britain should expect no extension of the 'special relationship' with the United States should the situation develop into open conflict.

"Today", Hastings writes, "the Americans have made it plain that we are on our own in the continuing dispute about what US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls 'Las Malvinas'. She publicly urges Britain and Argentina to get around a negotiating table." The British Government knows it can expect no help from Washington while fighting its corner in the South Atlantic.

This lack of support should come as no surprise, says Hastings. He says that in 1982 "most of the Reagan administration rooted for the fascist junta in Buenos Aires, which they considered vital to their crusade against the Left in South America".

It was only thanks to US Defence Secretary Casper Weinberger – a passionate Anglophile – "that our task force got critical intelligence and logistical help from America to win the war".

Furthermore, while we should surely look back on the victory in the Falklands with pride, nowadays we could not launch a military operation on anything like the scale of 1982.

"We sent 30,000 men to recover the Falklands", Hastings says. "But when the current defence cuts are complete the army will be able to deploy only a single brigade group of 7,000-8,000 men for sustained operations overseas".

Thirty years after the end of the conflict, Hastings concludes, "the war looks to me like a last triumphant hurrah".

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This is an unusual US Presidency as regards foreign affairs, best reserve judgement to see how the next administration handles things as regards the underlying trend here. Be that 2013 or 2017.

Who really cares what Sean Penn has to say? Celebraties should not be allowed there say anymore than the average person. He should stay out of politics.

As we have no longer have yer akshal sea going aircraft carriersm, at least the islands are unsinkable ones for future ..err.. Antarctic climate research, hydrocarbon exploitation & fish finger farms.

And the nutty woman (Christina Fernandez de Kirchner)  accuses us of stirring thing up by our political posturing and colonialism? What the hell does she think she's doing with all this rhetoric? Duh! Has Argentina got internal problems like unemployment and inflation, that is so serious she has to distract the population with this garbage? She supposedly believes in democracy. Let her ask the islanders what they want and then respect their wishes, unless she's another despot in disguise. ( Sounds like an Elvis song).

it's only right that Britain gives back the islands. they should also give back northern ireland and gibraltar. britain needs to know it's place in the world.

...not really a lot of sense so far in these comments - pity.   Max Hastings distinguished himself during the 1982 Falklands conflict and won plaudits for his very professional and factual coverage of all aspects of that quite unnecessary war.   I served in the British Army at that time and "enjoyed" a very intimate view of the planning of the entire land operation from the safety of the UK.

The conflict was unnecessary, because the administration in London of the time, under Margaret Thatcher, stubbornly refused to heed the warning signs and seismic rumblings of the Argentinian junta under Galtieri.   It then became a "necessary" war for Britain (not least for Mrs Thatcher herself) we were forced to show resolve, with the eyes of the world on us. by retaking the islands  

The ruthless and reckless reduction of the Royal Navy's surface fleet under John Knott, the British Defence Secretary at that time, and the proposed withdrawal from the South Atlantic station of the Ice patrol vessel, Endurance, must have been the confirmation of diminishing interest and resolve of the British with regard to the Falkland Islands, that the Argentinians were hoping for and, of course, the rest, as they say "is history".

Max Hastings is probably right in what he says about our lack of ability to retake the Falklands if the Argentinians mount a successful second invasion.   On paper, the British have just about sufficient forces to give any invading force a "bloody nose" - defending the islands for any length of time, however, is an unlikely scenario - there would be very little point in defending the islands in the face of inevitable capitulation to overwhelming numbers of Argentinians - especially when faced with the fact that no British reinforcements could, realistically, arrive in theatre before it was much too late, either militarily or diplomatically, to have any effect. 

I don't think that the Americans have any vested interests in siding with Britain next time around (it is arguable, indeed, that they had any vital strategic interest in supporting us in 1982) - times have changed and the "Special Relationship" is pretty well confined to anti - terrorism cooperation between the USA and Britain (as a part of Europe) - the Americans are ruthless pragmatists, not unduly burdened with sentiment - the sooner that Cameron and his floppy-haired public school boy -blunders recognise that fact of life, the better - I fear that it is already far too late to hold out any realistic hope of retaining the Falkland Islands in the face of a genuine and competent attempt to re-take those islands by the Argentinians - who are not, when all is said and done - exactly rational when talking about their "Malvinas" - their passion might well trump our Anglo Saxon phlegm and "pragmatism".

It never took them from Argentina. The Falklands were British 50 years before Argentina existed. Maybe Argentina should give it's land back to the native South Americans, they are just the decendants of spanish conquestadors.

Britain has helped the US in TWO wars in the past decade, neither of which had anything to do with us. But as soon as our own territory is under threat, America wants nothing to do with us. Seems this so called 'special relationship' only works when the Yanks want it.....

You are so stupid. 

 In the present day Britain could defend the islands due to the type 45 destroyer which can shoot down 38 aircraft within a 100k radios, there is also a RN submarine of the coast which can force there fleet to turn back or cribble them and send them back to port. Britain has all means nessersery to retake the islands. However the UK could not bring the fight to the enemy due to decomissning of Britain’s two aircraft carriers. It is also important to note that the argies equipment has not changed since the first war. Also with two RN Queen Elizabeth super carriers under construction for 2016/2020 and a strong naval power to protect the carries it is very unlikely they will try again, and hopefully peace will remain between the two countries.

If you think you can take the islands against the wish's of the population who want to remain as they are then please come and have another go 
The Natural resources belong to the Falkland islanders and not some jumped up 2 bit fascist regime led by a loud mouth no good wanna be politician 
The Falklands will never be part of Argentina 

 Not quiet. Argentina became independant in 1816. In 1825, Britain recognizes Argentina's independence and sovereignity over the territory, making no objection about falklands o malvinas. In 1833 Britaing invades the islands by force. But also, Britain had accepted the falklands as a part of the spanish colony, so it's kinda obvious that Argentina should inherit the land.

The US help Britain ? What a laugh, always late on the scene.Special relationship , my backpassage, one way more like.