Don’t Cry For Me, David Cameron

Remember thirty years ago, when Ronald Reagan stood up for our British allies when their sovereign territory was seized (as part of the Argentinian military dictatorship’s diversion from the woeful economy) by force?  How Reagan backed the Brits and Prime Minister Thatcher’s stance that getting foreign policy wishes granted by force was wrong and must not be rewarded by acquiescence?

Barack Obama sure doesn’t:

Only a month after lavishly praising U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, President Barack Obama ditched him at a press conference in Colombia.

Obama’s turnabout came April 15 when he was asked about Argentina’s demand for control of the Falkland Islands, which are home to roughly 3,000 British citizens. The islands are located in the South Atlantic some 300 miles from Argentina.

“Our position on this is that we are going to remain neutral… this is not something that we typically intervene in,” Obama replied to the question.

It’s not an idle question.  The Argentines, addled with a left-leaning government that’s losing control of their economy, needs to whip up some nationalist fervor in lieu of bread and circuses.  The Falklands – Malvinas, to them – make a handy bit of jingo to toss about.

Oh, yeah – remember back in 2000-2008, when Presidents bobbling geography was a threat to democracy?

Obama also mislabeled the islands as “The Maldives,” partly because Argentina’s government says the Falkland Islands should be called the “Malvinas” islands.

In fact, the Maldive Islands are in the Indian ocean, not in the South Atlantic. They are some 8,200 miles from the Falklands.

He’s a former law professor, doncha know.

Obama’s neutral stance contrasts with his fulsome praise for Cameron and the U.K. during Cameron’s state visit March 14.

“For decades, our troops have stood together on the battlefield… So, David, thank you, as always, for being such an outstanding ally, partner and friend,” Obama declared.

“As I said this morning, because of our efforts, our alliance is as strong as it has ever been,” he added.

The islands have been populated by British citizens since 1833. In April 1982, an Argentinian invasion force occupied the islands, but was ejected by a British fleet that sailed 7,800 miles from the U.K.

The Falklands are now increasingly valuable because the surrounding seabed is expected to contain oil and natural-gas reserves.

In March, Argentinian foreign minister Hector Timerman slammed the U.K.’s plans for oil exploration. Without approval from Argentina, any drilling would be illegal and would prompt civil and criminal charges, he declared.

“The South Atlantic’s oil and gas are property of the Argentine people,” he claimed.

However, Obama’s familiarity with the three-decade-old dispute is unclear.

Neither Cameron nor Obama acknowledged discussing the Argentinian claim during the March state visit.

Also, Obama said the United States “typically” does not intervene in the territorial dispute.

However, the U.S. provided critical aid to the 1982 British naval campaign that defeated the Argentinian invasion force. The aid, approved by President Ronald Reagan, included spy-satellite data and advanced heat-seeking missiles that were used to shoot down Argentina’s anti-ship bombers.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Cry For Me, David Cameron

  1. We just watched The Iron Lady over the weekend, and it was very, very good. One part of the Margaret Thatcher bio-pic dealt with the Falklands crisis and had Al Haig urging Thatcher and Britain to not go to war over small islands thousands of miles away from “home”. “You mean like Hawaii?,” Thatcher responded (paraphrasing).

    I’ll also repeat that this is a great movie: timely, illuminating and inspiring. It’s well worth a couple hours of your time because it’s effects will stay with you for much longer than that.

  2. “However, Obama’s familiarity with the three-decade-old dispute is unclear.”

    Barry was a student at Columbia U studying International Relations back in ’82. I guess the course study didn’t include the significant international relationship at the time between the UK and US.

  3. When Obama speaks off the cuff he takes sides against whatever may be viewed as the colonial power. Doubtless some of this has do to his education, but some of it is his upbringing. He spent his formative years living in a newly independent Indonesia and in 1970’s Hawaii. Mainlanders are usually ignorant of this, but the 70’s saw the rise of the Hawaiian nationalist movement. This was a powerful influence in Hawaii politics in the 1970’s, and especially especially so to the the haole intellectual class (and in this context, Obama is as much of a haole as I am. He attended Punahou Academy, not Kam Schools).
    The only president that equals Obama’s instinctive anti-colonialism is Carter.

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