The Falklands are sovereign British territory and must be defended. The Times reports that Argentina’s President Kirchner has issued a decree (how quaintly autocratic) that all ships sailing in waters claimed by Argentina will require a permit. Presumably, that includes Desire Petroleum’s rig, which is en route to drill for an oil field comparable to the North Sea field.

Over at Conservative Home, Daniel Hamilton points out that the decree contravenes international law and that Britain has a right to explore for oil unimpeded. So what are the Argentines up to? Nile Gardner explains:

‘If the floundering, corrupt and increasingly unpopular government in Argentina is foolish enough to choose a confrontation, it must be prepared to face the consequences.’

The parallels with the domestically unpopular Galtieri are ominous. There are currently 1,300 military personnel, a destroyer and 4 Typhoons stationed in the Falklands. If Kirchner doesn’t back down should Britain risk escalating the situation by increasing that deployment? Whilst I have no desire to see Brown ungainly clambering about on tanks and quoting Churchill, the deployment must be increased. Aside from potential oil revenues, an increase might deter idiotic Argentine aggression against British citizens.

Tags: Argentina, Armed forces, Foreign Policy, Gordon Brown, International politics, UK politics