April 1, 2007


The Falkland Islands way: Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands 25 years ago, triggering a brief, but bitter war in which 655 Argentines and 255 British servicemen lost their lives. The BBC correspondent who famously said in 1982: "I counted them all out and I counted them all back," has been back to report on life there now. (Brian Hanrahan, 3/31/07, BBC News)

Isolation once served as a shield to keep the world at bay but now it is more like a badge which shows the distinctiveness of life here and outsiders are welcome to share it, if it is to their taste.

That has encouraged an entrepreneurial spirit and set off a search for new businesses like tourism and mineral exploration.

It leaves a community which is happy, prosperous and part of the wider world but at the same time, keeping some distance from it.

The war was fought for political, not economic reasons, to protect a community whose origins, attitudes and aspirations are all British.

On the other side of the equation, after Iraq (twice), Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, we as a country, have more experience of what it costs to use military force.

So was it worth it?

I suppose the answer depends on whether, knowing what we know now, we would do it again.

Huh? Is it worth it to protect a distinct community that identifies with you culturally? How can that even be a serious question?

25 years after war, wealth has transformed Falklands (Larry Rohter, April 1, 2007, International Herald Tribune)

Today, the 2,955 people living here face a very different challenge: an influx of outsiders, brought on by the prosperity that has resulted from changes that the British introduced in this overseas territory after their 1982 triumph.

Jobs like sheepshearing and nursing are now filled by Chileans, while mixed-race people from the island of St. Helena, which lies some 4,000 kilometers, or 2,500 miles, to the northeast, work as waiters and store clerks. Just offshore, Korean, Taiwanese, Russian and Spanish ships with Indonesian, Filipino and Bangladeshi crews scoop up tons of squid, which has replaced wool and mutton as the territory's principal export.

"There are just not enough of us to do all the work that has to be done," said Mike Summers, a member of the Falklands' Legislative Council. As a result of affluence and increased contact with the outside world, there is now a growing need "to balance the inevitable tensions you find between 'belongers' and newcomers in any small island," he said.

"There was a time when all of us were small rural farmers," Summers added. "Now we're not. We're something else, still Falkland Islanders, but we need to determine what that means."

They're the Malvinas after all.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 1, 2007 9:50 AM

A war fought over sea power, that is, control over a naval choke point, and won by sea power.

The Marine aviation community, of which I was a part during the war, watched to action intently. Argintina was flying the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and Britian the AV-8 Harrier. At that time, The Marine Corps was in the process of switching from the A-4 to the Av-8. My reserve MAG still had its A-4's.

The casulty figures, as low as they remain, are mostly naval casulties. Recall that over 300 Argentinians went down with the General Belgrano.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 1, 2007 10:43 AM

Choke point? If it mattered the USSR would have funded an opposition as it did in Ireland, Palestine & South Africa.

Posted by: oj at April 1, 2007 12:31 PM

Huh? Is it worth it to protect a distinct community that identifies with you culturally? How can that even be a serious question?

I agree with you completely, it is a strange mindset at the BBC.

Posted by: pchuck at April 1, 2007 1:19 PM