Friday, July 14, 2006

The Economist article on the Falklands

As you can now guess I'm a long time Economist subscriber ( for about 20 years ). And its good to see some of the danger in the South Atlantic being raised with my fellow countrymen.

The Economist article (free) is on how NĂ©stor Kirchner is driving a new war of words on the Falklands. This is worrying as:

1) It will drive the inhabitants of the Falklands into a seige mentality - there is no hope of compromise over sovereignty under these circumstances. The previous Carlos Menem approach of engagement has some long term hope of change.
2) He's just paid for a large upgrade to the Argentine air force. ( Think how badly off Argentina is right now - but they have money to spend on missiles ).
3) Incursions into Falklands(UK) airspace have increased with the Argentine military apparently probing RAF defences.
4) Defence of the Falklands depends to a large part on one relatively small location on the Islands.

Blair and Des Brown are distracted by the current police investigation, Iraq, Afghanistan, Stopping Gordon Brown from becoming PM and their continual electioneering. Who is paying attention ? The defence budget is down 25% despite running 2 small wars policing actions and a load more at the moment.

We should send a clear signal now - eg recommission Sea Harriers ( whilst its still possible ) as a clear sign of intention. This is vastly cheaper than fighting and probably losing a war sometime latter. ( Think of the battle for Crete and what the loss of the military air field would mean. )

Why can't a stitch in time save nine ? Its possibel to be sure of peace by giving clear unambiguous signals now. ( Alternatively if the policy is to be weaker then we need to negotiate now - not later ).

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