The founding Charter of the United Nations in 1945 contained in its first article the right of self determination of a people declaring “all peoples have a right to self determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” The assumption might be, if you were to absorb the direct interpretation of such lofty language and principle, that a self contained set of lonely islands inhabited by 3000 people, recognizing their inability to provide for the overarching themes of government, such as the capacity for a currency and means of defense, would have such a right of self determination, and the capacity to choose their government of administration. Furthermore, if 99% of the stated inhabitants were absolutely committed to one common future, it would seem rational that the international arbiters of the Charter would make strong efforts to see the people achieve their goals of peaceful co-existence under the flag of their choice.
No such luck, when it comes to the Falkland Islands.
The Falkland Islands, a collection of two main and 776 lesser islands 250 miles off the coast of the southern tip of Argentina, have found themselves increasingly isolated in their efforts to retain their British ties and thoroughly British way of life. An uninhabitated cluster of islands first landed by the British explorer Captain John Strong in 1690 by accident, the islands for the next 150 years were under the continual tug of multiple nations and influences until coming under permanent British control as a formal colony in 1841. This included a brief period of several attempts at Argentinian colonization from 1828 to 1833. The restoration of British sovereignty has continued unabated from 1833 until the present and its continuance is the overwhelming desire of the local inhabitants, who want no part of would-be overlords from the surrounding neighborhood.
The issue of sovereignty suddenly became a hot one in 1982 when Argentina declared it would enforce its rule over the inhabitants, invading the islands, and the inhabitants called to Britain to provide their defense. In the short but bloody conflict known as the Falklands War in Britain and the War of the Malvinas in Argentina, nearly a thousand soldiers lost their lives, and Britain rested control back from the Argentinians. The islanders on multiple occasions have noted their overwhelming support for the outcome, and are as proudly British as the girls from Cornwall and the boys from Bristol.
The world we live in however has always struggled to do the right thing, particularly in international bodies, where the politics of power and convenience have often raised an ugly flag. The latest is the Organization of American States were Argentina has found common cause with such supporters of individual rights as Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. In a direct challenge to Great Britain and a threat to the people of the Falklands, a Declaration has put forth describing the Falklands under the Argentina label “Malvinas” and demanding that Great Britian and Argentina immediately enter into direct negotiations as to the “Malvinas” future sovereignity. The desires of the actual inhabitants of the islands – not an issue for clarification. The issue has becoming particularly acute lately with the identification of the Falklands as a potential source of vast oil deposits lying outside Argentina’s official 200 mile continental shelf claim. The impoverished government of Argentina would love to get their hands on the Falklander’s bounty, whether the locals wish their help or not.
Great Britain obviously has absolutely no interest in discussing the future of part of their commonwealth with a government that has a tenuous claim to any postion regarding the islands and one they defeated in a war. For the British at least, they have been always able to count on the backing of their closest ally, the United States of America – until now. The Obama administration, in another of its recent schizophrenic policy efforts to side with tyrants and ignore free will and determination, has signed on to the declaration. Britain, who has backed the United States time and time again as allies and spilled the blood of her sons in defense of United States national interests, is understandably miffed at Obama’s fair weather bonds of friendship. President Obama, in another calculated effort to side with those issues the United States traditionally opposed on the basis of freedom and democracy, has once again thrown its principles under the bus, in hopes of gaining “street cred” with those states that could care less as to common interests with the US. This nieve policy continues unabated despite one calamity and mis-step after another. The British are rapidly learning what others have found out in Poland, the Czech Republic, and on the streets of Tehran and Cairo. This President’s support will be a mile away and an inch deep at most. The Falklands are just one more step in the destruction of a framework of trust built up over many years, that in issues of freedom, rights, and social responsibility, the United States would always be in your corner. That, my friends, is one painful introduction to our modern reality- with this particular President, you are going to be on your own.