For background on the Falklands controversy read :
Calm down everyone. Pay no attention to the pictures of our Hillary and the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner chatting happily together about the Falkland Islands. Ignore Hilliary’s offer to mediate discussions of the Falklands between Britain and Argentina. The Guardian has a 20/20 hindsight view of the situation:
Clinton’s comments mark no real change in the substance of US policy towards the Falklands. The US policy is one of neutrality, as it has been since the end of the second world war, and the offer to act as a mediator goes back decades. Even around the time of the 1982 Falklands war, the US president Ronald Reagan wrote to Thatcher making an offer similar to Clinton’s. During the war, the US maintained a public front of neutrality while behind-the-scenes it helped British forces with intelligence.
Last week, the state department spokesman, Philip Crowley, made a statement about the Falklands almost identicial to the one Clinton made. He said the US was neutral and recognised sovereignty over the islands, supported dialogue and if asked to mediate, the US would consider it.
The reality is that the US does not care about the Falklands. The state department section responsible for the western hemisphere may do but the other parts of the state department – and the White House – do not: they are more concerned about maintaining a good relationship with the UK and the issues that bind them, mainly Iran and Afghanistan.
Part of the reason that Clinton has gone to Latin America is to see President Lula of Brazil. The US is trying to get the UN security council to adopt new sanctions against Iran and Brazil, which is on the 15-member council, is reluctant to back sanctions.
Well, this is all good on paper but Hillary should remember she is representing an Administration headed by the King of Diplomatic Distance and Disdain. Remember his first trip to Europe, eh? Not too respectful of the Queen. Those pictures had emotive powers as well.
It is unfortunate that when British troops are dying next to our own in Afghanistan that we should do anything to upset this old and settled relationship. We need Britain. They are the only country making a significant contribution in troops and material to the Afghanistan surge. With Muslims consolidating their power in Britain,this may not always be the case.
The fence-sitting in this hemisphere is painful. We are anxious to end years of bad blood between us and Central and South America. However, those sought after friends may not be very trusting of a country that turns its back on its long-time ally at the drop of a hat. The Spanish and Portuguese are very concerned with honor and how to preserve it. So Hillary, perhaps you need to rethink making any last minute changes to your planned itineraries or policies in the future.