Imagine you woke up this morning to read this story in your morning paper:
Mexico City, March 8, 2010: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband offered today to mediate a territorial dispute between Mexico and the United States of America. The Labour Party official offered Britain’s “good offices” in the century-and-a-half diplomatic row over conflicting territorial claims between the two North American nations. Miliband raised eyebrows at the U.S. State Department by referring to the American state of Texas by its Mexican name of “Tejas.”
That would surely cause you and most other Americans to be outraged. Butt out, Brits, you would be likely to say, as quickly as you can say “John Bull.” Don’t Mess with Texas!
Yet, the reverse of this situation has just occurred with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s latest diplomatic blunder on her Latin American tour. During an official visit to Argentina, Mrs. Clinton referred to the Britain’s Falkland Islands as “Las Malvinas--the Argentine name for them. She said the U.S. was willing to mediate the conflicting claims of Argentina and Britain to the collection of rocky crags that have been British since 1833. The Falklands have been British a decade longer than Texas has been American. Argentina still claims these crags--and is even keener to have them back now that oil is rumored to be bubbling beneath the stormy seas of the South Atlantic.
Every one of 3,000 living souls on the Falklands is British--and defiantly so. We haven’t polled the Falklands’ other residents yet--the Silvery Grebes, Blackbrow Albatrosses, or Macaroni Penguins. Although, with a policy gaffe this bird-brained, perhaps we should.
Is the Obama administration determined to undo everything Ronald Reagan accomplished? In 1982, Argentina’s rogue government got into trouble because of its insane economic policies. The military junta then in charge in Buenos Aires in 1982 started yelling “Remember the Malvinas!” They hoped to distract their tormented people from their hardships at home by naked aggression abroad. The Argentine military invaded the sparsely populated Falkland Islands--there are almost 800 of them, most of them uninhabited.
The Argentine junta reckoned without the Iron Lady, Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. There was never a doubt that Mrs. Thatcher would respond to this brazen aggression with force.
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