Don Bauder 9:40 p.m., May 21
National pride and the Falklands: a new war at hand
In recent weeks, the Falkland Islands have been in the news a lot lately. Lying roughly 290 miles off the coast of the South American mainland, the Islands are a self-governing British Overseas Territory and are also claimed by Argentina. The Argentineans have even invaded the Islands in 1982 in order to assert their claim, which dates back to 1833.
With the twentieth anniversary of the Falklands War fast approaching, both the Argentineans and the British have been saber rattling with each other, trying to ward off the other. Britain has gone as far as deploying the Royal Air Force unit to which Prince William is assigned. This has greatly upset the Argentineans, but this move was a very savvy political move on the part of the British.
While the Argentineans claim the Prince “wears the uniform of a conqueror,” the British people, including residents of the Falklands, view him as wearing the uniform of a defender. This was also a move to send the Argentineans a message – stay away from our territory.
A politician, especially the heir to the throne, does not venture to a region of the world where his territory is threatened to make nice with the threat while he is wearing the uniform of his country’s military. He is simply alerting the Argentineans that when he takes the throne – and it will be soon, given the Queen’s advanced age – he will not hesitate to use military force to defend the integrity of the British Commonwealth.
This is also an issue of national pride. When the military dictatorship in Argentina came to power, one of the ways they garnered public support was promising to take the Falklands for Argentina. In 1982, the Argentineans invaded. In order for Britain to preserve its own national pride – and to ensure then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher could be taken seriously by her fellow male politicians – the British counterattacked, evicting the Argentineans from the Islands in a two-month war.
The Argentineans need to accept the fact that they lost in 1982 and if they try anything stupid they are going to lose again. The Falklands have been a British territory since 1833 and the inhabitants have always preferred being a part of Britain than of Argentina. The needless shedding of blood does not need to repeat itself over a couple of islands and a few thousand sheep.