X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Fog around the Falklands

22 December 2011

12:48 PM

22 December 2011

12:48 PM

For the populist president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, the ban on Falklands-flagged
ships agreed by the Mercosur summit
in Montevideo
is a diplomatic triumph. It comes after a string of similar moves throughout the region aimed at tightening the noose around the Falklands. For example, HMS Gloucester was denied
access to Montevideo in 2010 and, in an effort to strengthen Brazilian-Argentinian ties, Brazil did the same when HMS Clyde sought to dock in Rio de Janeiro.

In reality, ships from the Falklands can switch flags before they enter any regional ports, but Argentina’s intent is to isolate the islands — and bring fellow South American nations
along with them in the process. In which case, the default British response of talking war is beside the point. The Falkland Islands and Britain are at risk of being outmanoeuvred diplomatically,
not confronted militarily. And the British government must find ways to strike back diplomatically, not listen to the pugilistic voices of ex-admirals.

[Alt-Text]


That said, the situation is also not as clear-cut as Argentina — and the press — would have us believe. Yes, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica did say he would join other Mercosur states
in barring Falklands-flagged vessels from their ports. But Mujica also made clear that the Uruguayan government would refuse to join an economic or maritime blockade of the inhabitants of Falklands
because this, in his view, would represent a violation of their human rights and complicate negotiations between Argentina and the UK. So there will be clear limits to how far Argentina can go in
its effort to isolate the islands.

Besides, as maritime strategist James Rogers points out:

‘In some ways, though, the closure of South America’s Atlantic ports does not matter very much. There are only twenty-five vessels in the Falklands’ merchant marine; the
Royal Navy’s warships do not need to berth in South America’s Atlantic ports, for Britain has the logistical wherewithal to support them almost anywhere with its auxiliary fleet (as
well as at the naval station in the Falklands at Mare Harbour); and vessels flying Britain’s merchant ensign will still be welcome (Uruguay went out of its way to assert that its support
for Argentina is not an anti-British commercial drive).’

The Argentinian move requires a firm response from Britain, but one with perspective. As Argentina has rallied Mercusor, so the UK needs to rally its allies in the EU, NATO and
elsewhere. Perhaps a senior British minister should consider spending some of his or her Christmas holiday on the Falklands. Talk of a sending a nuclear submarine will be counter-productive by
confirming Argentina’s narrative of Britain as a colonial military aggressor and the Falkland Islands as some kind of foreign implant. Diplomacy is not a lesser tool and ought to be the default
option, not military manoeuvres. 

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close