Lately, Argentina has been reviving nationalist sentiments as it seeks to regain control of the Falkland Islands. As much as ownership of the islands might help Argentine pride, the time has come to stop complaining about the islands and make the people of Argentina proud in other ways.
Here is some basic history of the Falkland Islands.
The islands have been historically claimed by both Britain and Argentina; Britain because they colonized the islands, and Argentina because they inherited them from the Spanish Crown. Argentina established a settlement in 1820; Britain did too in 1833. And since about that time there have been no Argentine settlers, while there has been a permanent British presence on the islands. Argentina demanded the islands “back” for decades and in 1982 fought a war with Britain over them but lost.
Ever since Argentina lost the Falkland Islands War, the issue has repeatedly been brought to light, and the rhetoric has been intensifying lately. As the possibility of off-shore oil deposits has attracted the attention of British businessmen, they’ve also been attracted the attention of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who has criticized Britain and demanded the return of the islands. The trading bloc Mercosur, of which Argentina is a member, has already banned the entry of ships flying the Falkland Islands flag, and recently, the Argentine Ambassador to Britain received essentially a stern talking to over suspicions that his government might be encouraging a boycott of British products.
It’s time for Argentina to let go and stop complaining about the islands. In eye-catching list form, here’s why:
The Falkland Islanders don’t want to be a part of Argentina. Survey after survey has shown almost no islanders expressing any desire to join Argentina.
Argentina is attempting to practice colonialism. Demanding land that doesn’t belong to it, and where the people are resistant to its rule. That reminds of me of something… imperialism.
Argentina already fought a war for the Falklands, and lost. It took seventy-four days for the British to defeat the Argentines. It’s time to face it: if even armed conflicted didn’t win Argentina control of the islands, nothing will.
Argentina should focus on other things. Argentina could utilize its diplomats time to do something other than mildly irritate a world power. It can use that energy to secure loans or international support for public works projects, humanitarian aid, or scientific advancements.
Thanks to President Kirchner’s policies, the Argentine economy is improving, and the nation’s world status is rising. Instead of wasting her time stoking nationalist feelings over islands they aren’t going to get back, Kirchner could turn her nation into a model of economic and scientific advancement. That way, maybe, just maybe, Falkland Islanders might want annexation.