News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Falklands War 25 years on

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the war between the UK and Argentina over the Falklands Islands. Officially, war was never declared, so the words conflict or crisis are often used. However, I believe war remains the best description - after all, a rose by any other name smells as sweet and the same applies to guns.

The invasion of British territory by the Argentine dictatorship was swiftly dealt with by Margaret Thatcher's government. It was crucial to the Falkland Islanders themselves, who wished to remain British. It was also of wider significance to the United Kingdom. It was a key moment in re-establishing national pride, which had been dealt such a severe blow by the Marxist-inspired trade union crises of the 1970s. Two governments had been brought down by militant unionism, but now democracy re-asserted itself over dictatorial force.

There are still wooly minded liberals who complain that the Royal Navy should not have sunk the Argentine naval vessel known as the Belgrano, as it was sailing away from the islands. The argument is ridiculous. Only in Britain could people complain that our fighting men and women had destroyed a genuine enemy military target. Britain was not the aggressor - any invasion of another country's sovereign territory is a clear act of war. Margaret Thatcher was right to order the sinking of a foreign military ship which posed a threat to British troops and the civilian population of British territories in the Falkland Islands.

It was not only Britain's war. Many nations of the world, particularly the US, Chile and those of the Commonweath rallied to support Britain. In substance, the war was much more important than a dispute over territory. It represented a victory for democracy over tyranny. The Falkland Islanders saw their right to self determination upheld and ultimately, the Argentine defeat resulted in the popular uprising against the dictatorship. Argentina remains a democracy 25 years on.

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