Monday, February 20, 2012

Cold Southern Ocean

Thirty years ago, the United Kingdom and Argentina led the 74-day war that killed about 1,000 soldiers and sailors. When my daughters were in their teens, I told them about the Falklands conflict. They thought that was one of those silly stories dads love makeup.

In their eyes, modern wars are always taking place somewhere east of Paris. But the Falklands war was real. This is the result of a long-simmering dispute between the fading old world power, and ambitious, but underachieving New World nations.

Now, without a tree and little fresh, settled South Atlantic Islands becoming a hot spot in international relations once again. Britain and Argentina are still at the core of the dispute, but the greater powers, including Brazil and the U.S. could easily get dragged into a mess this time as well. Falklands continues to command attention far beyond their intrinsic value to anyone who does not live there.

British-ruled territory is situated 300 km from the Argentine coast. It has a total area of ​​4.700 square kilometers, smaller than the state of Connecticut. Its two main islands, and about 750 smaller islands, together home to fewer than 3,000 inhabitants.

But there May be a lot of oil in the vicinity. "Area underexplored and highly prospective," Evan Cali, New York-based analyst at Morgan Stanley, said Bloomberg. (1) Together, the four oil wells are planned for development this year could produce about 8.3 billion barrels of oil. So much is enough oil to light some serious political fire, the Falkland Islands, there are plenty of old conflicts ignited.

The French first settled the islands, which were indigenous peoples, the 1764th Soon they were evacuated to the UK and Spain, of which Argentina is cleaved in 1816 as part of the United Provinces of South America that included parts of modern Uruguay, Brazil and Bolivia. After the collapse of Argentina came from the United Provinces, it has tried to start a colony on the Falklands (known as Las Malvinas in Spanish-speaking world) in the 1829th But the British never abandoned their claims, and established permanent control over the islands in 1834. For the past 177 years (with the exception of two months after the Argentine invasion in 1982), the islands are under British rule, and most of the present inhabitants are of British origin. Argentina, however, continue to press his request.

1982 crisis erupted when Argentine troops landed in a surprise attack. Argentina is in the center's Dirty War, a military junta - led by General Leopoldo Fortunato Galtier - was desperate to retain power. The invasion seems to be an attempt to rally the Argentine population and distract from the Argentine economic malaise and human rights violations by the junta to set the threshold. Britain under Margaret Thatcher, assembled a task force that retook the islands from Argentina, accelerating the collapse of the junta. Despite the change of government, however, Argentina continues to claim that the islands should be Argentine assets.

Now, with the promise of a new oil wealth, tensions rise again. The members of the Mercosur trading bloc, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, along with associate members Chile, announced that it will prohibit vessels carry Falkland Islands flag from docking in their ports. Argentina has also reportedly tried to undermine the Falklands fishing industry has indicated their boats to catch squid before creatures' migration takes them in the Falklands British waters.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced last week that held official talks about how Britain will defend the Falklands in the event of another invasion attempt. "It's important for Britain to send a clear message that as long as people in the Falklands wish to remain British, that we respect the right to self-determination," he said. He accused Argentina of colonial desire to compel the inhabitants of the island to accept the government did not choose.

Falklands residents of Cameron supported the declaration. Patrick Watts, radio station, told the British paper Telegraph, "Everyone here was very encouraged by this show of support from London and relieved that Britain did not forget the incredible sacrifice 30 years ago. Argentine threat came very unwelcome memories of 1982 for us here , so we felt very reassured by the comments of Mr. Cameron. "(2)

Argentina, meanwhile, argues that the inhabitants of the islands, most of whose families have been there for generations, imported occupiers who have no right to determine the territory's sovereignty. "David Cameron is pursuing a policy of piracy and aggression at home because the economy collapsing, there are riots in London, Scotland and Wales want to escape the English empire," Carlos Kunkel, a member of Argentina's ruling party said. Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has promised, however, that her country would consider only peaceful methods of pressure.

The historical claims of the two countries difficult to decipher. It is possible, though doubtful, that Argentina has some legitimate basis for a claim to be the legitimate owner of the island back in 1830. However, these claims have little relevance to the modern world. No one alive today was damaged by British Land Grab, if this is what it was, more than 175 years ago. American activity at the time were equally expansionist. So the south of Argentina's own March on the bottom of the continent, which led to decades of war with the Indians and lengthy border dispute with Chile. Argentina's Mercosur allies have their own history of aggressive expansionism.

What is relevant today is that longtime residents Falklands satisfied with their current government. Argentina, which has a history of taking and keeping things on which he had no right to (ask the people who stiffed bondholders in default, just a decade ago), is acting true to form. It does not deserve too much international sympathy.

Americans are prone to side of Britain and Falklanders. Brazil, however, seems to be placed on the support of Argentina claims, no matter how unfounded they are. This is in accordance with the Central and South America, the tendency toward skepticism in the English speaking world, whose peoples are often perceived as arrogant and presumptuous. Brazilians do not necessarily believe that the Latin Americans, but the dispute between the Spanish-speaking neighbors and distant England, they tend to identify with the former.

Brazil supported Argentina raises stake in any potential conflict. Unlike Argentina, Brazil is relatively well managed and is an important emerging power with growing influence in international affairs. The struggle in which the United States on the one hand, and Brazil has the second could get ugly.

The best way to alleviate the threat to bring Brazil's interests more closely in line with those in the world better organized farms. Many U.S. policy, including visas, not to recognize Brazil's relative stability and prosperity, instead of being treated in the same manner as the turbulent Central American nations such as Guatemala. It is very irritating to the Brazilian officialdom. The United States and Brazil, and the lack of tax treaty - practically a necessity for major trading partners - not to mention the free trade agreement. Instead of fostering close trade relations with Brazil, we discriminate against the key Brazilian products, including ethanol and citrus.

By opening more doors for Brazil to participate in international trade as a member of the developed world, we encourage to use its regional influence in the defense of the principles that make possible the development and trade.

With or without the help of Brazil, however, it is clear that the Falklands would require external protection, at least for a while. Further exploration of oil and continue to add more fuel to the old disputes. We must be willing to help douse any flames.

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