US main interest is a “stable Argentina”, warns Falklands Task Force head
The head of the Royal Navy Task Force that recovered the Falkland Islands during the 1982 South Atlantic conflict has warned about UK defense cuts and underlined that United States has little interest in supporting Britain in any conflict since a stable Argentina is more important to the State Department.
Admiral Sir John “Sandy” Woodward in a letter to the Daily Telegraph said Washington was pushing for negotiations over sovereignty and significantly the Islands are already being called the Malvinas by the US.
With the end of the Cold War and emergence of Asian powers NATO and Britain were not as important to Washington which in 1982 played a significant part in providing satellite intelligence and missiles to British forces.
We can no longer rely on the Pentagon to support us in helping the Islanders in their wish to remain essentially British sovereign territory, he wrote.
This means Britain can now do precisely nothing to prevent Argentina retaking the Falklands.
If as is likely significant oil reserves are found around the Islands then pressure from Argentina will be immense to share in the riches.
The US would support an Argentine accommodation as its national interest supports stability in the area. This tells us all too clearly which way the wind is blowing.
The Organization of American States last week adopted a declaration calling for negotiations between Britain and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
Admiral Woodward said with the Armed Forces already over-committed in Afghanistan and Libya and the Royal Navy drastically weakened following last year's defense review the answer appears to be that we can do precisely nothing other than accede to US pressure.
The 79-year-old admiral led a substantial task force of two aircraft carriers, a dozen frigates and destroyers, four submarines and a total of 100 surface ships along with 25,000 servicemen to retake the Falklands in 1982 which had been invaded by neighboring Argentina that claims sovereignty over the archipelago.
But the Royal Navy no longer has aircraft carriers, has lost its force of Harrier jump jets and seen its warship fleet cut in half over the last decade.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the Falklands are currently protected by a force of more than 1,000 troops with a reinforced company of infantry and four Typhoon fighters and a single frigate. However the Typhoons have no anti-ship or anti-submarine capability.
A UK Ministry of Defense spokesman said: Claims that the Falkland Islands could be taken without a fight are completely without substance. The current garrison in the Falkland Islands is much larger in scale and has a greater capability than in 1982 and this together with our ability to reinforce rapidly by air has been maintained.