Anglo-American Relations and the Falklands Conflict

  • Christoph Bluth

Abstract

It has been one of the peculiar features of the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and the United Kingdom that however one judges its success in co-operation for the defence of Europe, its extension to out-of-area issues has often been difficult as American and British interests in various regions of the world have often differed. One historical parallel to the Falklands conflict of 1982 which has been cited frequently is the Suez crisis of 1956 where the United States strongly opposed British policy. This has been interpreted in different ways. Some in the US administration, like Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State Alexander Haig saw Suez as an example not to be repeated. In their view the American stance during the Suez crisis had dramatically weakened Western unity after World War II and damaged the Anglo-American relationship. The Argentine junta on the other hand interpreted the precedent of Suez as evidence that the United States would be on the side of anti-colonialism and not support Britain. Although the United States eventually supported Britain very strongly over the Falklands, initial American responses were marked by the some degree of ambivalence as the administration found itself in a situation where it had to decide between competing strategic interests.

Keywords

Europe Radar Assure Fishing Argentina 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Julius Goebel, The Struggle for the Falkland Islands (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982) p. 442.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Paul Groussac, Las Islas Malvinas (Buenos Aires: Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936) p. 38; Goebel, p. 462.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
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  4. 4.
    Alejandro Dabat and Luis Lorenzano, Argentina: The Malvinas and the End of Military Rule (London: Verso 1984) p. 49; see alsoGoogle Scholar
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  8. 8.
    Quoted in Eddy, Linklater and Gillman, p. 124. Jeane Kirkpatrick later elaborated on this view, explaining that although she disapproved of the use of force, the case of the Falklands could be construed as a case of colonialism, that the ‘international community’ did not believe Argentina guilty of aggression and that Britain, in pursuing its case by force, could not argue that it was upholding international law or acting on behalf of the international community. See Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, ‘My Falklands War and Theirs’, The National Interest, 18 (1989/90) pp. 11–20.Google Scholar
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    For further analysis, see Christoph Bluth, ‘The British resort to Force in the Falklands/Malvinas Conflict 1982: International Law and Just War Theory’, Journal of Peace Research, 24 (1987) pp. 5–20. This analysis of Thatcher’s perspective, and in particular her preoccupation with the minimum achievement she would have to present to Parliament is confirmed to some extent by Haig, op.cit.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Alex Danchev 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Bluth

There are no affiliations available

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