Falklands - the posturing begins

There may be 60 billion barrels of oil lurking in Falkands territorial waters, and recently there has been a bit of rhetoric from the Argies. They are starting what appears to be a diplomatic row, claiming (as usual) that the Malvinas belongs to them and accordingly, any oil they may flush from the ocean floor. So far, this has resulted in Argentina announcing that ships travelling between the country and the Falklands will require a permit. That is all. They are not yet threatening to bomb Port Stanley.

So, what is it all about? First there is the long-standing dispute about who "owns" the Falklands. How you view this depends upon whether you think places like this have the right to self-determination, and since, to all intents and purposes, the Falkland Islanders are British and wish to remain so, having colonised since the early 19th Century.

What are the stakes? Well, 60 billion barrels is a lot more than the 40 billion barrels sucked up so far from the North Sea. So it's enough to run a few Chelsea Tractors with plenty left to keep Gordon Brown in a fantasy world of largesse and grandeur. The trouble is, this is exploration - so far there has been no recovery of commercially viable oil. At the moment, the Falkland Islanders get a lot of revenue from Squid, and there is probably not enough of the slimy invertebrate to satisfy the needs of that slimy invertebrate.

What is the rhetoric? Well, our old friend "Yuman rights" of course. Cristina Fern├índez de Kirchner, Argentina’s president, said she would “work unceasingly for our rights in the Malvinas, for human rights.” A bit of background on Cristina reveals that she could not run a whelk stall, let alone a country. Argentina is perennially a shithole. Economically, it collapsed in 2001 and has still not recovered, having defaulted on Government Bonds and payments to the World Bank. A string of nationalisations has brought in some revenue, with the Government plundering private pension schemes as well.

Trade restrictions, however, are not unusual. The country has upset its neighbour, Brazil, by imposing them. Growth has increased slightly and is projected to continue in 2010, but this is largely due to public spending. (sound familiar) and the massaging of inflation indexes (sound familiar?). My assessment is that the Government of Argentina, and particularly the president (aided and abetted by her husband) are engaging in an increasingly wreckless series of initiatives which are driving the economy further into the poop (ditto?) A fairly prevalent view is that this affair is being trumped up to deflect attention from more pressing and real domestic issues.(see brackets passim)

What happens next is anybody's guess, but wouldn't it be just dandy if it reached a crisis just before a British General election?


Seaman Staines. said...

Well at least we're better prepared than during the last Argentine invasion. Far more troops and the latest fighter aircraft. Their Navy is pretty much stuck in harbour if it came to hostilities as our sub would just sink their ships one by one.
But it's a long way away and would be another expensive war.
I think you're right that it's mostly political and is to deflect attention away from the Argentine economic troubles and also to warn the oil exploration companies that they will mess them about as much as possible.
I notice the situation is similar to 1982. Early Spring and the UK government unpopular.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thanks for visiting SS. I would be interested to know more about the military aspect. Not that it should come to that.

Seaman Staines said...

WW. I served down there after the war and it's an amazing place. You can walk amongst penguin colonies and elephant seals. Watch killer whales from the beach and even windsurf on the shallow inland lakes.
It's a loooooong way away and took us about 16hrs of flying. I think Virgin now fly the troops down there after Globespan went bust.
Jess the dog has some good info on the situation..


The story about the Vulcan attack on Stanley airfield is an excellent read. I think it was called 'Vulcan 618' or similar. I've lent the book out so can't check. Like all wars the best stories are by the people who were involved. Ed Macy's 'Apache' is worth reading. It's about the pilots experiences flying the apache in Afghanistan and is only £3 from bargain Books for the hardcover version.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thank you for that SS. Keep reading the blog, and do comment again. I shall be watching this story.

BTW the book is "Vulcan 607". Vulcans were based in Lincolnshire, where I grew up, and in the sixties it was not unusual to see them on low flying exercises.

There was about a 40 year gap and then I took a look at one at the Scottish Museum of Flight. A magnificent looking aircraft.

Seaman Staines said...

Vulcan 607. That's right. I was lucky to see the last flying Vulcan last year at Leuchars airshow. Amazing machine but always needing more money to keep it flying. We can pay £4Bn a year for fake wars but can't keep the Vulcan flying for £100K a year.
It took 18 Victor refuellers to get the Vulcan on target over Stanley airfield. ( and then home again to Ascension - that was a close run thing )

JPT said...

Nice pics.

Dave said...

The Vulcan is a stunningly beautiful aircraft.
I recall climbing a mountain in South Wales in the 1970 and looking down on a Vulcan as it threaded its way done the valley, practising the low level flying that was thought to be needed to bomb Russia.
I also recall a wonderful sight over Kettering about eighteen months ago when the plane flew in formation with an air display team.
i just had to stop work and stand in the street as they croassed and recrossed the town. The din was incredible as the display team were all flying prop driven stunt planes.
The current row over the Falklands oil is just posturing. Neither side has the miltary capability or political will to fight a war. And if war was declared by the Argies, one submarine should sort them out.