Argentina and the Falklands: 30 Years On

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As Argentina continues to ratchet up tensions over their claim to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, hopes that the re-emergence of the dispute would pass with its 30 year anniversary are fading.

In this stretegic briefing on the current state of the dispute, HJS Associate Fellow Peter Cannon examines the UK’s strategy in dealing with Argentina’s provocative approach, recommending that the UK “retain the will and the capability to defend the Falkland Islands and the rights of the islanders, alone.”

 

Executive Summary:

  • 30 years on from the Falklands War, Argentina has escalated its diplomatic and economic campaign to claim the Falkland Islands from the United Kingdom (UK).
  • Argentina has complained to the United Nations (UN) about the UK, accusing it of ‘militarisation’ of the South Atlantic. This is clearly unjustified as the reasons for the UK’s military presence is Argentina’s continuing claim to the territory following its unsuccessful attempt to take the islands by force in 1982.
  • Argentina has received support in its campaign from neighbouring countries and  leftist political leaders in Latin America. The United States (US) administration unhelpfully states that it “takes no position regarding sovereignty”.
  • Spain has also sought to renew its claim to Gibraltar and to call for bilateral negotiations over sovereignty. Like Argentina, Spain seeks to act without reference to the self-determination of the population of the territory.
  • Concerns have been expressed about the UK’s capacity to repeat its success of 1982 in the event of an Argentine invasion of the Falklands, particularly following the Strategic Defence and Security Review. However, the islands are much better defended now and it is highly doubtful that Argentina has the military capability to launch a successful invasion.
  • There is, however, no room for complacency given Argentina’s behaviour. The UK must retain the will and the capability to defend the Falkland Islands and the rights of the Falkland Islanders, alone.

 

To view the full report, click here

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