In recent weeks the relationship between Argentina and Britain has gone sour again over the disputed Falkland Islands
. Since the brief war
30 years ago Britain has kept a constant military presence on the island (the reason Argentina managed to take the islands so easily in the first place was the near non-existent military presence Britain had in the region in 1982 after the removal of HMS Endurance
leaving just a handful of marines to defend the islands).
The latest dispute is over the replacement of HMS Montrose
(and old model frigate) with HMS Dauntless
(a new model destroyer) which the Argentine government claims counts as militarisation of the South Atlantic. They've also claimed that a nuclear submarine has been deployed to the area, an accusation that has been described as "absurd" by UK officials (the deployment of nuclear submarines is a classified matter anyway).
I'd like to get some opinions of non-UK (as well as UK) citizens because from the perspective over here arguing over the Falklands seems bizzare. Interviews with the islanders reveal that they want to remain as they are and don't want to be governed by Argentina so I'm interested to know especially of any Argentinian/South American views on this. Why are the Falkland islands a big political issue? Why not leave the islanders as they are?
To stake my opinion if the Islanders wanted to be called the Malvinas and wanted to be under Argentine rule or self rule I would be whole-heartedly supporting that as well. Is this all just political sabre rattling or do the general populous of Argentina (and the other South American countries that refuse to trade with Falkland sailors) genuinely feel the islanders should be made to go under Argentine rule? Another question is what do Argentines and others think about the UK increasing its defence of the island? It wouldn't be needed if the threat of invasion wasn't there.
One last point; budget cuts to the UK's military over the last few years have significantly weakened its capability. It was in the process of replacing its aircraft carriers and the planes that operate on them with the goal of having a gradual switch over but controversially a few years ago this plan was accelerated so that all but one of our aircraft carriers has been decommissioned (with the new "super" carriers not coming online for a few years yet) and the planes that operate on them such as the harrier have been taken out of service (not to be replaced until the joint strike fighter is introduced, again some years yet). According to various analysts I've seen on the news this is why preventing the islands being taken by increasing the garrison makes more sense because retaking would be harder.