Opinion: Macri and the Falklands; a path to peace at last

NOTICE: The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of LA Mundi News.

NOTICE: LA Mundi News does not support either faction in the Falkland Islands conflict. All opinions and suggestions belong only to the author, not the publication itself.

In 1982, the Falklands War, or in Spanish, La Guerra de las Malvinas, was fought between the United Kingdom and Argentina. It’s a subject of heated debate both in the UK and Argentina, with monuments and memorials on every corner and special reports on the Falklands. Although this article won’t touch on each side’s argument or take sides, I will give you a small background. I the Colonial Age, a host of countries were involved. However, in the Modern Era, the conflict was between just tow factions: the aforementioned Argentina and the UK. Argentina claims that since Spain originally had colonies on the islands, and since Argentina used to be a Spanish colony, it declares itself the “successor state”. The Argentine government also backs up their claim with the fact that they are geographically closer to the Falklands. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, claims that they colonized it for a longer duration.

The 1982 war, although devastating for both sides, was a victory for the British. However, it also caused a breakdown of relations between the two nations, which still continues on today. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though.

Mauricio Macri, the right-wing owner of the Argentine soccer club Boca Juniors, is that beacon of hope. When ordinary Argentine citizens elected him their president to fight a growing recession and corruption, they also elected a man who wanted to see a lasting peace between the UK and Argentina. Ever since, he has become the only Argentine President to ever ponder reconciliation and even giving up the Falklands. He recognizes the Falklands for what they are: a useless and mostly uninhabited archipelago. And although the Falklands are good for grazing sheep and surveying the Southern Atlantic Ocean, it’s easy to realize that they’re not worth a war. Unfortunately, all of that might change in the coming year.

It’s election season in Argentina, and politicians preaching reconciliation or abandonment of the Malvinas are used for target practice. The Falklands aren’t a campaign issue, but they are a centripetal force in Argentine politics. It’s the one thing “every politician can agree on”, and even the war of ’82 had political motivations.

You see, Argentina used to have a military dictatorship, and while at the beginning of the junta the economy was well-off, towards the end it started burning. And in a last-ditch attempt to rally the country and preserve the dictatorship, Argentine generals ordered the invasion of the Falklands to take them back.

As you may have realized, the only path to lasting peace and stability for the Falklands is for both countries involved to be stable themselves, but unfortunately, that’s not the case for either party involved.

The United Kingdom is going through Brexit and political turmoil in the Prime Minister’s cabinet, meanwhile Argentina has plummeted into an economic recession like none they have ever contended with before (it’s gotten to the extent where Argentina had to borrow $50 billion from the World Bank). In addition, Argentina’s former President Cristina Kirchner has been accused of corruption and stealing from the nation’s reserves well over $150 million (it’s actually been proven but her allies in the Argentine Legislature have refused to lift her post-presidential immunity). And finally, on top of all that, the first Argentine politician we’ve seen in a half-century who is advocating a compromise will probably lose his next election, as his current approval ratings are at approximately 25%.

So what now?

While earlier in the article it was mentioned that both countries need to be stable, it also means that if both are preoccupied with overwhelming domestic issues, neither has the political capital to pursue another foreign war.

Today (April 2, 2019) is the 37th anniversary of the 1982 Falklands conflict.

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