So far it’s a psychological war to try and persuade the British to begin Falkland Islands a sovereignty discussion with Argentina but there is nothing to discuss about since the Islanders don’t want to belong to Argentina and that’s it, said UK retired Major General Julian Thompson.
A 1982 Falklands’ conflict strategist and a prestigious military historian and lecturer at King’s College in London, Major General Thompson was interviewed by Buenos Aires daily Clarin on the current escalating ‘war of words’ between the UK, Falklands and Argentina.
However the Major General also admits that even when the conflict was over in 1982 the dispute could last a thousand years. “The conflict was over in 1982, but we were also really aware that it wasn’t over and when opportunity crept, the Argentines would resurface the dispute and it would last a thousand years”.
“I believe Mrs. Cristina Kirchner wants the glory and the acknowledgement that she can get the oil in the South Atlantic back, and is naturally putting pressure on what she wants”, but at the same time “I doubt she will succeed: I hope the Foreign Office is robust, certainly our Primer Minister (David Cameron) has said no negotiations”.
Nevertheless the former Royal Marine said he hoped common sense prevails: the British are concerned the Argentines might do something, “but what is clear is that the Islanders don’t want to be part of Argentina. Only one Islander I believe wants to become Argentine, but the heart of the matter is that the wishes of the people from the Falkland Islands must be the priority”.
And if the Argentines effectively try something, this is after all the 30th anniversary of the conflict. “I would expect the British response would be to reinforce the Falklands and bring down anybody who wants to be involved in such an operation. I hope that is what will happen”.
When told that a former Argentine Defence minister suggested the dispute should be solved in a football match between Boca Juniors and Manchester City, Major General Thompson said it was “positive since they want to keep the relation at a sports level” but at the same time it indicates the Argentine military don’t have the resources for war.
“I’m glad to hear this because I don’t want to see Islanders facing tanks. The point is that this whole discussion on negotiations is a psychological war which attempts to persuade us to begin negotiations. But there is nothing to negotiate. The local population doesn’t want to be part of Argentina, which seems to have been forgotten by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton that are rattling about negotiations”.
Major General Thompson added that the US administration seems to forget that the UK has the Afghanistan chip to play.
When asked about the US resolution calling on UK and Argentina to negotiate the Falklands’ sovereignty dispute, the former Falklands conflict strategists was equally clear and direct. “Simply ignore it. The only thing we have to do is veto it at the Security Council, for that we have a permanent seat”.
Finally Major General Thompson supported PM Cameron’s stance of not yielding.
“He’s accused of being inflexible, obviously Mrs. Kirchner is going to say that because it’s part of her strategy to show the British as inflexible, and trying to give the UK a bad name as intransigent and difficult people”.
However “it is the Argentine government that is difficult and intransigent because this conflict was over in 1982. But we also knew that it wasn’t over and when opportunity crept, they would make it resurface and would last a thousand years” concluded the Falklands veteran.