In 1976 the British Government commissioned a study on the future of the Falklands, which looked at the ability of the islands to sustain themselves, and the potential for economic development. The study was led by Lord Shackleton, son of the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. Argentina reacted with fury to the study and refused to allow Lord Shackleton permission to travel to the islands from Argentina, forcing the British to send a Royal Navy ship to transport him to the islands.
(source: (Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute - Wikipedia))
My question is: why were the Argentinians so angry about the study?
As you are undoubtedly aware, given the many questions you’ve asked here about the Falklands, the Argentinians have continued to dispute Britain’s ownership of the islands to the present day. My wild guess: Argentina wasn’t about to do anything to materially support any efforts by Britain to strengthen their use of the islands, and would get in the way of those efforts, if at all possible.
Thank you for your instant reply.
I’m very into the dispute of sovereignty between the two countries.
Personally, I think an attempt to know more about the economic problems the Islanders were facing wouldn’t have been a bad thing, even for the Argentinians. The survey could have been a good reference for Argentina if the country had had the chance to govern the islands again. That’s my logic.
Well, yes, but on the other hand, the Argentinians likely were hoping that the British would just give up on the islands, and pull their subjects off of them – or, barring that, that the British wouldn’t feel that the islands were worth defending, if it came to that (and, of course, it did).
Yes, the Argentinians, theoretically, could have learned something useful from the British study, if they had then taken control of the islands after the study. But, I imagine that they might have also feared that the study would give the British a good reason to increase their presence on the Falklands.
In addition, as the Argentinians seem to have, all along, felt that the British claim on the Falklands is not a legitimate one. Given this, providing assistance to a representative of the British crown who would be conducting that study would be antithetical to Argentina’s claim to the island, and possibly acknowledging the legitimacy of Britain’s claim.
Oh, the Argentinians may well have welcomed the study after it existed. Provided it said things favorable to their POV, perhaps along the lines that e.g. “as a British-controlled territory, Falklands would never be self-sufficient nor cost effective for HM government to support.” They’d love that conclusion.
What they are not going to do now is anything that smacks of admitting in any slight way that any part of the UK government has any right to do anything about the future of the islands, not even think about the future, without Argentine say-so.
Nations lose control of territory gradually, by doing “common sense get along with the neighbors” sorts of things. So if you’re a country involved in a border dispute, don’t do that. Be absolutist. You may have to accept that certain facts on the ground exist, but you don’t have to act like they exist any more than minimally necessary.
It’s really no more complex than that. Rightness, historical justice, peace, and all the rest has nothing to do with it. It’s about two posturing bullies who each want the opposite outcome. Think like that and you’ll be able to understand what happens in foreign affairs a lot better. Unlike barroom bullies most of the time they play more slow chess than Quick-draw McGraw. Although Putin showed the world that ol’ Quick-draw is not dead yet.
Thank you very much for your informative explanation.
I think Putin chose to be a Quick-draw McGraw than playing slow chess.
China, on the other hand, is playing slow chess with the US and Taiwan. Do you think the slow chess theory can also be applied to the relationship between China and the US as well as Taiwan?
China has a particularly interesting mentality - for over 2,000 years, when the central government was strong, it expanded. When it was weak, enemies took territory, local warlords spun off their provinces as separate countries, and the central government was overrun. The government since the revolution is asserting that it is strong - hence the annexation of Tibet, an on-again-off-again vassal state or province; it’s refusal to allow anything except retaking Hong Kong and Macao; and it’s assertion that Taiwan is Chinese, despite it being another on-again-off-again part of China or Japan and now independent. It also explains the dog in the manger attitude over the entire South China Sea.
The thing that bothers me - China and the USSR were run mainly by politburo committees. They may have been slow and clumsy but they restrained the worst impulses of wayward dictators. Putin embodies this problem - left unrestrained by a peer group almost as powerful he has committed his country to a reckless action that can only end badly. Xi demonstrated the same lack of restraint - see how he deliberately took out one of the previous ruling clique in full view of international television. The only restraint now over Taiwan is his own judgement (and, we hope, the example of Putin). At the very least, Putin’s misjudgment of his armed forces will give Xi pause to consider his own capability.
Of course, this does not always work. IIRC the Argentinian rulers were a junta (committee) and yet still went to war. They made the mistake of assuming that the British would not bother to defend the Falklands. The reasons to fight beyond normal were more pride and psychology than economic or strategic - a lesson Putin is learning, and that Xi would do well to consider. The Americans were afraid the Japanese in WWII would rather fight to the last man than surrender. The Ukrainians would rather not be ruled by Russians, even if it means severe destruction. What about the Taiwanese?
If I were Taiwanese, and owned a microchip factory, I would blow that fucker up instead of letting it fall into Chinese hands. Accepting the probability of my death at the hands of the Chinese [they are not known for kind gentle behavior to the conquored, especially those who they see as having gone rogue.]
There is a reason that it is bad to be burdened down with material belongings, you need your wealth in transportable format - have a moderate but nice home, a decent car in good repair, nice furnishings, a decent computer. Keep your data updated on a portable hard drive, have a laptop that fits into a backpack along with your tablet, charging cables and power plug converters for various electrical systems. Keep your important paperwork in a folder in that backpack, a copy of your medical file if needed. Carry a portion of your liquid wealth in something like keugerands or the canadian gold pieces - never gems, gems are usually bad investment, a greedy boarder guard can bite a gold piece and recognize it, not many guards are gemologists. BE ready to cut and run if you are anywhere that can be invaded [Ukraine, looking at you. Slava Ukraine.] Learn the lesson of the Jews in WW2 era Europe, nobody is safe, there will always be someone that hates you. And yes, I know it is a depressing world view, but very pragmatic. And I have a MOLLE large pack as a bail out bag. It actually has an older laptop and tablet already packed. My back up hard drive goes in the top inside in a stuff sack.
Huh? Communist China and the USSR were both run as absolute totalitarian dictatorships for the first half of their existences, regardless of what they may have been on paper, and I don’t think I’d categorize post Stalin and Mao Chinese and Soviet governments as actually being run by committee. Mao and Stalin hold first and second place in democide rankings. As for making people publicly disappear, it’s hard to beat Stalin:
Which is exactly why they changed to the politburo model after Stalin and after Mao, to try to prevent another such horror. Although my impression - not a scholar of this - is that Mao was less in absolute control. It was more like the Argentine Junta, constant jockeying for position. nobody overwhelmingly in control despite nominal leadership. Mao for example launched the Cultural Revolution, as I understand, as a means to take down rivals in the party a few pegs. That millions died or suffered was just a collateral damage.
But then, even someone absolutist like the Kims in N. Korea have to be wary of the people around them, that none get too powerful or too many of them stick their heads together behind closed doors. (Even back in the good old days of Rome or Byzantium, it was dangerous to be a successful general with a loyal army under a suspicious emperor.) it’s the proverbial “riding the tiger”. One school of thought is that Kim riles up the South and the USA to keep his own people on edge so they are too busy to consider side plots.
The committee process meant everyone had a little influence - which is why Xi’s deliberate treatment of a respected colleague was so unsettling. it seems he no longer needs to consider what the second tier party brass think.
Committees allow the dictarship to function… the dictatorship has the power over them… the threat of removing them if they don’t get results… but if the dictatorship has to punishment, they can take out a few committee members as an example, the other half then realise they have to obey the powers that be… if everything was dictatorship, a single person is in control, then you can get anarchy … where there are rebels or inept bosses … eg they just say they are getting results… Committees keep things a little honest while the culture evolves… if there is only a single boss of a province, then his loss sets the dictatorship back too much… no culture of olgicarchy recruitment, nepotism,cronyism… they might want to be but they dont know how to do it right ? the culture includes the idea that the personalities (of the children) are nurtured toward being better suited. They know how to be a backroom power broker, while keeping their outward appearance to be committee focused… so they aren’t in the next purge… they aren’t scapegoated…
Committees are a strong feature of stable dictatorships , as per md-2000 they “avoid the worst impulses of the wayward” … bosses at all levels.
The Argentian claim would be that the Falklands residents are suffering due to isolation (its mostly grass with no automobiles,not even roads for horse and cart !") ,or they are highly subsidised by the UK ( that the subsidy from the UK is just to keep the Falklands British… they’d want to be Argentinian if they weren’t being paid by the UK. )
Shackleton’s report is thinly disguised - while it looks like an honest “find out how to to improve life in the Falkland’s”, the Argentinians can assume it really is "Shackleton, please produce a report that says the people of the Falklands are a viable settlement with an economy that means they are self sufficient and not suffering a poor standard of living, to counter the Argentinian claim. "
Exactly - a leader cannot ensure the loyalty (or at least the obedience) of every single group, so they delegate that to a committee. As long as they are functional, and everyone is pulling in the same direction for self-preservation of the leadership, then things are stable. At one extreme, if the leader cannot at least somewhat trust those around him, then paranoia sets in and purges become common.
At the other extreme was the Argentine Junta, with the extreme inability to agree on things and inability to force compliance. Famously during the Falklands War, the Navy commander feared his forces were being left out of the “glory” of the war, so after a screaming match around the table he ordered the Belgrano out to sea against the strong wishes of the rest of the junta. They were right, he was wrong.