tv [untitled] February 15, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EST
the culture is that so much i can tell you that you love her even more so because all we're trying to take your pick of all my wins but i'm i'll be in britain and argentina again sparring over the legal status and future of these islands is this disputed. any match once lived is bound. to burn for ever more eternal fire is gone thinkable could possibly. do we all wants to see this on forever. wealthy british style. is no time to cut.
eleven thirty pm in moscow the zero r.t. headlines iran says it's considering cutting the oil sales to six e.u. countries but wouldn't do so at the moment because of cold weather in europe. syria's president announces a vote on a new constitution that would effectively end nearly fifty years of single party rule in the country amid rising turmoil. at rallies marking one year since the pro-democracy uprising in bahrain protesters face yet another harsh clamp down with police using tactics any weapons from the u.k. . across top coming up this time peter lavelle and guest talk about the strained
relations between argentina and britain over the falkland islands stay with us. if you can. follow in welcome to crossfire time people about take your pick of the falkland islands with a melvina written and argentina again sparring over the legal status and future of these islands is this dispute about self-determination and sovereignty or one of the last vestiges of british imperialism. and. cross-talk the endless dispute over these islands i'm joined by my guest in washington larry burns he is the director of the council on hemispheric affairs alex gibson he's a fulbright scholar specializing in contemporary argentinian politics and a research associate at the council on hemispheric affairs and luke coffey he's
a fellow in the margaret thatcher center for freedom at heritage all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want larry i want to go to you first here over the last few weeks and months we've seen a ratcheting up of tensions between britain and argentina over these islands the islands that these two countries fought a war over thirty years ago what's in play here what what we should be worried about the tensions here or is this something of a function of domestic politics in both countries. well probably a combination of all of those things i think that the the real danger that lies at the bottom of this whole issue is is an accident or some kind of unplanned development that may deteriorate into. a shooting conflict but the both the auction time military and the british military are really in no shape to. fight a war that's thousands of miles separating the disputants and oh so it's
very apparent that much of the motivation behind this conflict is there to ration of domestic conditions in argentina which was the same explanation for why the war in one nine hundred eighty two broke out that is the military which ruled the country in argentina at the time was. gay gene corruption and deep cation of funds and the government needed some kind of great patriotic issue to pull the nation together roughly speaking the same sort of thing is happening now and i think that is part of the explanation for what we're now seeing ok if i'm going to look i think it's very interesting here in britain most people don't really care much about the what they call the falkland islands and i mean of course that was that was patriotic on the side of the the
brits thirty years ago but it's not really a big issue and people aren't sitting in pubs talking about these islands but they are in argentina is that isn't that kind of a risk too and it seems odd if it people in britain don't care about it why does the british government care so much about it well i would have to say that your average person on the streets in great britain don't care much about the issues surrounding the falkland islands and tell it's made in the shade by the argentinians. we saw that the front page of the sun newspaper today in britain had sean penn's remark. during his recent visit in the falklands so i think i think you're absolutely right about the political classes care a great bit about the falkland islands and britain sovereignty over those islands and i think the reason is because no british government could ever survive losing the falkland islands ok alex that's that's rather peculiar too because i mean there's so much is that risk here i mean britain and argentina these are important countries and they should have good relations why is it isn't it with their risk
for the british to put so much into this bad relationship over what three thousand people whose claim of self-determination is a bit dubious at best. if i can just quickly respond to mr burns point first and then get to luke and yourself we should be careful first about drawing parallels between the ninety two situation between argentina and britain and what we see today because as mr resolute two one thing that should ring very clear here is that no one's going to war in both countries know this so what's what's really really important question to get here is what are the underlying motives why are we talking about this now other than just the fact that it's the thirtieth anniversary of the conflict getting to this point about about the importance of the falklands to britain and well let me in let me add on that a bit to argentina i think the question of survival is a bit extreme i think anyone would acknowledge that and britain would be absolutely
fine with out without the falklands under their sovereign control but what would pose an even greater problem is the is if argentina were to continue on the track with its relationship with the falklands now what i mean is without some sort of sovereignty or at the very least nick sovereignty very basic things like trade agreements between the falklands in argentina is just the effect of their geographical location is going to make it difficult to sustain a puzzle relationship not just for argentina but for those cultures which are what the falkland islanders are called one final point here and quickly also. the main thing to remember about all of this is. this this isn't an issue that's going on like i said before it's going to escalate in into conflict it's a political issue but it's also something that's at the core of argentine identity these these islands have been under argentines claim since before its independence this is not just something that came off as
a whim argentina leaves that these islands belong to them and has felt that for over a century so i think we have to look at the deeper issues underlying this rather than just the political a grief if we go larry i mean is it good for the mother. ok ok look but for many in south america this is a. colonial issue for a lot of people in south america right go ahead well well yeah. and so far as the argentinians would like to colonize the three thousand british citizens and her majesty's subjects currently living peacefully in these islands that want to go back to a point alex smith i think you misunderstood me slightly when i was saying that the issue about survival is not the great britain as a nation can survive with the loss of the falkland islands i was saying that the government of the day would fall if the falkland islands were ever taken now i do agree with you know there is not going to be a military the military answer to this this is going to be resolved peacefully in
the end i firmly believe ok look if i can stay with you it's been thirty years so why hasn't it been resolved and it looks like nobody on either side wants to with all of it well as far as the british government is concerned the situation is resolved they've made very clear that. it's a matter of self-determination as clearly outlined in the un charter and that is so long as the people of the falkland islands want to remain british they shall remain british and this is a very simple the simple fact the people of the falklands want to be british ok i don't want to be our little i don't think it is that simple fine go to larry here i mean this is not an indigenous people to these islands are they and this is what the argentine position is ok what he's how strong those who claim to self-determination if they're not indigenous to the island and as a matter of fact i mean i read somewhere was that only forty percent of the population there is lived there for ten years what kind of self-determination is that. well trace of paternity of a lot of countries
a lot of civilizations you may find kind of a murky antecedents but the interesting thing is recourse the british had no difficulty in liquidating a vast empire its empire today consists of christian to. other falklands bermuda and a couple of other islands here and there so this is not exactly a country that's dedicated to colonialism or can you find an explanation of why this is happening in such a simplistic explanation as clueless and i think really what it is is that. in both countries the issue has become wrapped in symbolism and there also is another issue here and that is what really brought argentina into the falkland war in one nine hundred eighty two and why is it posturing again right
now i think the beginning of a discussion is we don't really know all the facts of the matter for example i would like to know why in general vernon walters was in the argentine military club when the issue is being of invading the falklands was discussed the being discussed and everyone turned to general walters who is raked president reagan's emissary from the united states and he simply shrugged this was taken interpreted by the argentine military as an assent to what the auction counter were about to do and we also had ambassador jean kirkpatrick that evening the evening of the invasion which at the argent con embassy in washington she knew the invasion was going to take place why was she there. i think that the argentine government has a point. a body called the rotten back commission which is looking into these
matters but this war this conflict this issue has an extraordinary potential for being explosive not because of rich and herring importance but because of the emotion now do you catch the issue on both sides ok alex what about the issue of self-determination i mean how strong do you think the case is for the people who live on the island for self-determination well i think. argentina has a very long history of angle argentine relations and not just that but english heritage within argentina there's no reason why the islanders the people who live on the island can't live peacefully independently within the sovereignty of argentina i mean if you look at argentina today has had to go to you and i also was there give me about well because that they want to be british subjects ok well look you bring up a good point why you want to be british such as it can be why can't they just be british subjects within the sovereignty of argentina. what's wrong with that well
yes if they were under the siren control of argentina they wouldn't be british subjects well they would like it's very clear that some determination is based around the idea that these people are living in the falkland islands today and want to be british now this argument that they're not an indigenous population well there's never been an indigenous population on the falkland islands ever in fact the closest thing we have to an indigenous population is what we have there today you're correct in saying that you know roughly forty percent of these people may have lived in the falklands for less than ten years i'm not sure those facts but that sounds about right but that means sixty person have lived there longer and some of them have been there for generations so quite clearly this is a matter of self-determination for the people of the falkland islands wanting to remain british now large and tina needs to do is if they if they think they have a solution to this problem they need to say what they would do with the three thousand people living on these islands who wish to remain british if these islands
were to go back on or go back into argentine control all right let me jump in guys we're going to go to a break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion of the future of the south atlantic island state party. if. this is not a politics but a culture. this could. its own. cultures of resistance are two.
welcome back to crossfire and i'm peter lavelle to mind you were talking about what the british call default when i. said that we were talking about the issue of self-determination and and researching this program here i'm going to i'm not an international lawyer but you know it it seems like the they are sometimes have a pretty strong case for the sovereignty over the falkland islands i mean in many many ways and it was that they were themselves
a colony of the spanish so i mean you know it is this this is not helping either side because either side is very rigid on that but they do have still a very strong case. yes i believe they do and i want to make it clear i'm not a nut rallying for the falkland cause either i like to look at this of the perspective of a journalist but i'd be very happy to outline the arguments in argentina's favor and i think the biggest one just to respond to what luke was saying a moment ago the three thousand islanders that want to become british we should certainly respect that we should hear them and respect their their desires but also recognise the basic facts twelve million argentines three thousand people who live on a colonial vest each is not exactly equal in terms of of what they're both there they're the weight of both causes what we have right now is a falkland fortress and the question is do we want to continue that you can you know cameron can keep sending out as many elite destroyers as he'd like but it
seems a bit counterproductive and what we should really be looking at here again are the vela to be of argentina's claims which as you alluded to go far back both historically and also the importance of the geographic claims the resources surrounding the fucking ok i want to i want to get into the one i want to get to the way only shoot i want to tell you i should a second you can jump in go ahead. you yes if firstly that they don't want to become british they are british in terms of the history of who is had control of the falkland islands you made the point that the the spanish had the falkland islands or anything or control but the last spanish settlement actually left an eighteen eleven and i believe that the argentine declared independence from the spanish and eight hundred sixteen so at the time of this the argentine declared independence from spain no one had defacto control over the falklands and was until a hundred thirty three with a major british settlement that really became permanent around eight hundred thirty
eight that the falkland islands were actually settled by anyone and this argument about a geographical location is i'm sorry holds no water at all because look at canary islands for example then morocco would have a claim over the canary islands ok larry if i can go to you i mean as a result of the war thirty years ago there was it was the united nations that should be a compromise or should be negotiations between britain and argentina why can't wait can't this just be resolved i mean if there's just no political will is there. well in. a lot of little islands here one is argentine is not particularly famous for good governance and an argument is repeatedly made to remind us that back in nine hundred seventy six eighty three some twenty five thousand arjan current civilians were murdered by the military.
secondly. in terms are precedents and so forth you clearly can't look at this self-determination issue as either strengthening or weakening the respective positions of the two countries because you can find compelling arguments going either way and sovereignty issue isn't clear cut and you know both countries can score their points. the real issue at this point is that there has to be a solution at some period because the argent times are going to continue to mine over the issue because this is a great national cause that can be exhumed when. you need a big whenever you need a good distraction waves a bloody flag of the frog. and even even a british severance go right ahead. yeah let me jump in very quickly can i let me
tell you one very easy way for me to lose this argument by defending the military junta and argentina and i would never do that i'm not going to defend a group of murderers and murderers who are currently serving life sentences in jail now the real issue here is that art and the argentine democracy today which has not only distance itself from this military dictatorship but has been proactive in finding justice for for the atrocities committed why should they have to pay for the stupidity and the. just the actions of these military generals the violent actions of these generals i think we have to i think what mr burns is doing is he's equating the government of cristina kirchner to that of fidel or some of these more of these these dictators and that's just not fair so i think we have to really look at modern day argentina today ok just to get to a second point this issue of what ok i'm going to raise your second point quickly don't have. an easy argument also to say to discard argentines claims here is that
it's bloviation they're whining this is all political but if you actually look at the past thirty years their claims to the islands are and i'm talking the last thirty years very keeping with foreign policy and economic policy after the the actions the belligerent actions of the military who with with the birth of democracy following the failure of the war under menem in the ninety's he kept this issue low he wanted to get on the good side of england of britain but what happened with the kitchener first minister and the christina with their governments is they didn't want to be dependent on these strong western countries the united states so they said we are going to build our national sovereignty we're going to make him to sit out can do you know we're going to make this country great alex and it's been let me do that involves let me jump in because there's another huge issue out there that we haven't really talked about and that's called oil and there's a potential there vast reserves could be there and the british are now unilaterally doing exploration. is this what it should really now all about is about oil because
maybe the britons don't care about the falkland islands but they care about oil b.p. does go ahead. well that's a forgive me it's a bit of a simplistic way to look at the situation you're absolutely correct in saying that there is exploration going on around the falkland islands but i also believe and correct me if i'm wrong alex about think there's some actual there was some joint falkland argentina an exploration going on as well but the matter to me is quite simple if the oil that is found is found around the falkland islands in the area that. sovereign control then we we know where the oil belongs but the sort of back and forth between large and. the net and the following list that continues to dominate alex go ahead so i could sing yeah like i said the only the only colonial asking me to this whole debate is the fact that argentina wants a colonized three thousand british subjects on the hawke and i and i think that's
a bit simplistic alex you want to record i heard david cameron too but oh no that's right yes something i know what you are aware of us the us the great and wonderful as the three thousand people who live on the falkland islands and they will want to remain british ok larry if i can go to you how do you how do you see the oil playing into this here go ahead go ahead larry go ahead. i'm sorry i didn't get your point now my but you know we throwing in oil now here how does this change the mix all right right right. this becomes an economic determinism argument. you know the british certainly like the sniff of oil. but you have to face up to the fact that income we have to calm the. nigeria and so forth which have plenty of oil the british had no problem giving up. colonies. it is not that. and the. british tradition
when it comes to come these what you have here is that the conservative party margaret. you're the iron lady who was able to describe general and be known many as ten pop dictators but hard no problem in hugging and gracing general pinochet of chile because chile was of use to the british in the falklands that is the tories big adopted this issue as the as the great pottery out of the issue of the decade and it was a very heroic one and the british sending their v. bombers thousands of miles an improvised kind of hers that had landing strips laid down on them it was a it was a really a glorious war and there is a subset of the british population that is deeply committed to that war and also.
a much larger percentage of the british population that can have their enthusiasm be revived very quickly if there's any threat to the fore prudence and the tories know they can work this issue and of course is a domestic component to this but it's not something that the world has to get away with because the british have quite quite you know as a matter of fact have as bonafide a case no better no worse than the arjun time and i don't think the argentines have to say there's another scenario there's another element here look if i go to you what about the the antarctic ok because it's become more and more important and this is a nice nice foothold for the for the brits to be on what they call the falkland islands i mean there are other place you did these islands are moving but political reality and economic reality is moving. yeah with it with these islands and the south atlantic you know the days of the british empire are over the sheer t.j.
value of these islands now in the twenty first century or are not true is not really relevant this isn't about for great britain this is not about oil this is not about power this is a. strategic influence on the subtle i think this is a simple matter of three thousand people living on some islands that wish to remain british subjects and say is listen i'm going to give you we're going to give alex the last word here is this just a principled issue here there's no it that's that's the top priority you think in this conflict it's principle. of course not you have political rhetoric of course on both sides christine if you're just saying give peace a chance which everybody i think gave a little sigh to this is about i mean this is about sovereignty and this is about the issue of what are we going to leave the colonial past behind are we going to
look to the future or we're going to face up to reality which is that it's not sustainable for the islanders on the falklands and the argentine and citizens to keep up a good relationship if there's this tension and if there's this ridiculous divide between them trading lines their relationship in many different ways is very clear so we should just acknowledge that all right gentlemen we've run out of time now that a status quo has lasted for thirty years maybe in another thirty years that many thanks my guest today in washington thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.t. see you next time and remember.