March 12

Where is the special relationship?

Australia could be seriously affected if Argentian invades the Falklands again, warns Dr.Hal G. P. Colebatch (“Obama needs to support Brown over Falklands”, The Australian 5 March).   He writes that BHP has been warned it will face sanctions in Argentina if it pushes ahead with oil exploration offshore of the Falklands.  If Argentina got away with such an invasion, he believes, it would damage the whole framework of international law in a manner ominously reminiscent of the way the international order began to unravel in the 1930s. 

“Of course Argentina would be mad to invade the Falklands, which could still be made very costly for it, but it has shown itself capable of such irrationality once before in similar circumstances, and conquering them seems a widespread national obsession,” he says.

“A strong Anglosphere stance, a strong statement by Obama or Clinton now, would be the end of the matter. Argentina will probably not launch another war over the Falklands. But if it does, Brown and Obama, as well as Kirchner will have a full share of blood on their hands for letting the situation come about.”

…special relationship damaged?…

Dr. Colebatch argues that that in releasing the Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi and allowing him to return to Libya, where the Libyan government gave him a hero’s welcome despite assurances it would, and British courts ordering the release of US intelligence deemed sensitive by the Americans, Britain has infuriated the US.

And President Obama shows little interest in maintaining any special relationship.

But Dr Colebatch  says the US should be “big enough to swallow the Brown government's antics and to recognise that supporting Britain in so serious a matter is of paramount importance.”

He sees no evidence of any assurance that this is the case.

….Daily Telgraph readers on Falklands readiness…..


There were three letters on this subject in The Daily Telegraph, London:


SIR – It is questionable whether the Fleet Air Arm is ready for the renewed threat to the Falklands from Argentina (report, Issue 971).

Not only is it down to one operational mini-carrier, but also the Harrier FA2 fighters that so ably defended our fleet in the Falklands in 1982 were decommissioned in 2006 to save the £700 million cost of upgrading them for an extra six years' service until their replacements arrive. The GR7/9 versions in service are not fighters. This £700 million is less than one month's subscription to the Brussels talkfest. Priorities?

John Parfitt, Painswick, Gloucestershire


SIR – It was not, of course, aeroplanes, ships or Trident submarines that sank the Belgrano.

It was, in fact, a nuclear-powered submarine, the HMS Conqueror, which is probably in the South Atlantic now, along with others of the same type.

All the Argentines need to know is that they are there (they are not easy to detect) and that they will be used if an invasion fleet comes anywhere near the islands.

The Argentines also know that, if the need arises, it would not take several weeks to get troops and munitions to Port Stanley, where there is now an airfield that can take wide-bodied aircraft.

Before they do anything silly, they would be well advised to take odds from bookies on the likely outcome. I know where my money is.

Roger J. Arthur, Storrington, West Sussex


SIR – Sixty billion barrels of oil sounds like quite a lot. Why can't we share the development costs and the proceeds with Argentina?

John Gibson, Standlake, Oxon






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