Back in March I wrote a piece condemning Hillary Clinton’s foolish decision to side with Argentina’s calls for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falklands. Three months on, she’s done it again. As Damien McElroy reported, the United States joined with the Organisation of American States (OAS) in an unanimously passed voice vote resolution earlier this week calling for negotiations between London and Buenos Aires, a position which is completely unacceptable to Great Britain. The United States should have firmly rejected the resolution as an affront to its closest ally, and as fundamentally against US interests.
Significantly, the resolution referred to the “Malvinas” Islands, and not the Falkland Islands, its official, internationally recognized name, another snub to the British position. Washington is acutely aware of the sensitivities involved in the use of “Malvinas”, and the British government launched an official protest over its use by a senior State Department official at a press conference in February.
Here is what the OAS resolution actually said:
DECLARATION ON THE QUESTION OF THE MALVINAS ISLANDS(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 8, 2010)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
CONSIDERING its repeated statements that the Question of the Malvinas Islands is a matter of enduring hemispheric concern;
RECALLING its resolution AG/RES. 928 (XVIII-O/88), adopted by consensus on November 19, 1988, in which it requested the Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to resume negotiations in order to find, as soon as possible, a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute;
REAFFIRMS the need for the Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to resume, as soon as possible, negotiations on the sovereignty dispute, in order to find a peaceful solution to this protracted controversy.
DECIDES to continue to examine the Question of the Malvinas Islands at its subsequent sessions until a definitive settlement has been reached thereon.
The Obama administration’s decision to once again slap Britain in the face over the Falklands in the face of strong British objections is yet another insult to America’s closest partner on the world stage. When David Cameron meets with Barack Obama at the White House in July he should strongly object to the State Department’s support for the Argentine position, and make it clear that Washington’s backing for negotiations is deeply unhelpful and unwelcome.
In a phone call to Cameron just after he became Prime Minister, President Obama talked of “my deep and personal commitment to the special relationship between our two countries – a bond that has endured for generations and across party lines.” It’s time to put those words into action, and demonstrate he is sincere about his commitment to the Anglo-American alliance, not least at a time when British and American troops are fighting shoulder to shoulder on the battlefields of Afghanistan.
Cross-posted at The Telegraph.