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Barack Obama: Student Of History

One of Barack Obama's promises when seeking the presidency was that he would "restore" our relationships with our historic allies. And unlike most of his other promises, this one appears to have not yet reached its expiration date.

In the South Atlantic, Argentina is once again making aggressive noises towards the Falkland Islands, which belong to Great Britain -- and have for about a couple of centuries.

These islands off in the middle of nowhere might seem like nothing worth fighting over, but Britain has shed blood twice for them. In World War I, they handed the German Navy a crushing defeat when the Germans tried to raid the islands for coal and supplies. And in 1982, when Argentina previously felt frisky and invaded the islands, the British lion showed it still had teeth when it forcibly took the islands back (albeit with some under-the-table assistance from the United States).

Now most people would look at the almost century and a half of friendship between the United States and Great Britain, add in that the people of the Falkland Islands are quite happy being British subjects, and expect the United States to at least lend some vocal support to the British and tell the Argentinians to tone it down.

But not President Obama. He recalls all too clearly the hostility that existed between the United States and Great Britain from our conception as a rebellious colony right through the Civil War (where the British aided and abetted the Confederacy) and knows you can't trust those Limeys. Hell, the hallmark of his foreign policy thus far seems to be somewhat contemptuous of the British -- he returned a prize bust of Winston Churchill, and gave tacky, almost insulting gifts to their Prime Minister and their Queen, among a host of other petty slights.

So, when England could use a strong friend to stand beside her, when a few choice words could potentially head off Falklands War II: The Electric Bugaloo, what does Barack Obama do:

He washes his hands and turns his eyes away.

It's actually worse than that.

"We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality," a State Department spokesman told The Times. "The US recognises de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party."

The claims of sovereignty are, indeed, in dispute. Great Britain's claims are based on discovery, occupation, and militant defense of the islands. They first settled on the islands in 1765 and have held and occupied the islands since 1832 -- except for a brief period in 1982, when the Argentinians invaded and occupied them briefly until they were driven off.

Argentina's claims are based on proximity and desire. "They're right near us and we want them, so we ought to get them."

The Obama administration apparently believes that it is in the United States' best interests to not recognize Great Britain's rights in this matter and instead curry favor with an overly aggressive Latin American neighbor in hopes of having our neighbors like us more.

I cannot imagine a more short-sighted perspective for a more futile objective.

For almost a century and a half, Great Britain has been a great and good ally, and in general been on the "right" side of things (certain vestiges of the colonial era notwithstanding, but even then it's worth noticing that being "a former British colony" seems to lead to success and prosperity) around the world. And in this case, there should be no disputing about who is right and who is wrong in regards to the Falklands. It's a no-brainer.

Sadly, "no-brainer" seems to be a pretty accurate description of the Obama administration's foreign policy.


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Comments (18)

They told me if I voted for... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

They told me if I voted for McCain that our allies in the world would become even more alienated... and they were right!

He's voting "present."... (Below threshold)
RPL:

He's voting "present."

You get what you pay for, a... (Below threshold)
codekeyguy:

You get what you pay for, and we are PAYING DEARLY for this joke of a prescident.

The main problem is no one ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The main problem is no one even knows what this guy believes. The MSM and the liberal wing sold our country out to slam Bush. ww

Obama preferes to coddle an... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Obama preferes to coddle and rub elbows with Marxists like Chavez, who promote and exploit issues like the Falklands. To take the UK's side would be to alienate his buddy Hugo, and that Obama does not want to do. For Obama, better to betray a long-time friendship with a democracy than to let a failing Marxist dictator pout and say bad things about the 'Won'.

When Obama was talking "all... (Below threshold)
Matt:

When Obama was talking "allies" he wasn't including white anglo saxons, or white roman catholics, or white lutherans, or well, white anything...

Considering the way he is t... (Below threshold)

Considering the way he is treating Israel, where the U.S. interest is both obvious and short term as well as long term, why should he treat Britain any differently where the U.S. interest is both indirect and long term?

Obama has a personel grief ... (Below threshold)
bigfire:

Obama has a personel grief against England due to how his grandfather was treated in Kenya during British rule. Sorry England, 3 more years of this.

Folks, Britain is a Sociali... (Below threshold)
Killerwhale52:

Folks, Britain is a Socialist cesspool. And in fact, Islamofacists are gaining power daily. I'm a conservative Tea Partier who realizes that BOTH sides are nasty, and we shouldn't help either side. I have no use whatsoever for Obama and his Marxist cohorts. So, let the Brits defend their own territory, oh, wait a minute....we are subsidizing their Socialism by defending them, aren't we?

This is what you get with a... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

This is what you get with an affirmative action president. When it comes to tough decisions, you ignore the problem. Just look at Iran, and North Korea.

9. Posted by Ki... (Below threshold)
9. Posted by Killerwhale52 | March 1, 2010 10:02 AM
Tilikum! Heel!

And stop eating the President's birth certificate!

So, let the Brits defend... (Below threshold)
Speller:

So, let the Brits defend their own territory, oh, wait a minute....we are subsidizing their Socialism by defending them, aren't we?
~Killerwhale52

Yeah, well you know NATO Article 5, the reason Britain is in Afghanistan?
Well that is the reason the U.S. should help Britain if it is attacked.

The Falklands are British territory.

Are you arguing for the scrapping of NATO?

The Army units deployed ... (Below threshold)
Speller:

The Army units deployed in Europe have been historically incapable of mission success, thus only useful as livebait/ bloody shirt propaganda purposes, i.e. more useful dead than alive.
~bryanD

The reason why Army units were stationed in Europe was to prevent Russia invading western Europe.

Russia did not invade western Europe, the mission was and is a success.

Actually it is a little mor... (Below threshold)

Actually it is a little more complicated then that. Argentina claimed the islands because Spain did. When Spain left South America and the individual colonies became nations those claims were passed to them. Argentina did have a colony there prior to 1832. It was destroyed by an American warship angry about Argentine mistreatment of American whalers.

There is supposedly a secrete corollary to the Treaty of Ghent transferring ownership of the islands from Great Britain to Spain or vice versa. Nobody can find it. In 1982 we were rather clear as to who had sovereignty over the islands -- and it wasn't Argentina.

One would think the same would hold here.

The whole thing is silly. ... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

The whole thing is silly. I will mediate: Britain is the surface owner and Argentina holds the mineral rights. Britain drills for oil as the 'producer' and therefore gets 3/4 of the proceeds and takes all the risk. The Argentinos get their 1/4 off the top. There are third party agents who can verify the whole deal. Win-win.

If they want to fight for honor then let Ms. Presidente's husband fight a duel with the idiot occupying #10. It would have to be in Uruguay since pistols are illegal in Engerland.

Student of Marxism is a bet... (Below threshold)
poptoy:

Student of Marxism is a better way to say it.

For real students of histor... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

For real students of history..

Curious the cognitive dissonance on this page in your rage to chastize Obama at every opportunity, while unstintedly praising conservative favorites like Reagan often in the same breath.

You might remember that in the Falklands conflict in 1982 Reagan,or Saint Reagan as he is revered and rated by Wizbang editors such as Drummond, was the real 'nobrainer for neutrality' with a slight tilt towards Argentina.

Reagan initially personally sympathized or tilted with Argentina and General Galtieri because of the General's strong anti-Communism despite (or I'm afraid because of) Argentina´s military's brutal conduct of 'the dirty war' against their countrymen.

But in the American foreign policy reality of the Falklands, in it's totality,

the Reagan Administration was sharply divided on the issue. Meeting on April 5, Haig and Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs Lawrence Eagleburger favoured backing Britain, concerned that equivocation would undermine the NATO alliance. Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Thomas Enders, however, feared that supporting Britain would undermine U.S. anti-communist efforts in Latin America. He received the firm backing of U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, Haig's nominal subordinate and political rival. Kirkpatrick was guest of honour at a dinner held by the Argentine ambassador to the United States, on the day that the Argentine armed forces landed on the islands.

The White House continued its neutrality; Reagan famously declared at the time that he could not understand why two allies were arguing over "that little ice-cold bunch of land down there". But he assented (finally after the conflict had started in earnest) to Haig and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger's position.


Margaret Thatcher would hav... (Below threshold)
Speller:

Margaret Thatcher would have lost the Falklands war in 1982 if America had failed to provide crucial missiles to bolster British air defences, according to an adviser to the former prime minister.
America, which angered the Thatcher government with its initially even-handed approach to the conflict, was believed to have provided little more than intelligence once Washington lost patience with the Argentinians.

But British and American officials say in the BBC documentary that Washington provided the latest Sidewinder missiles at 48 hours' notice after the British task force came under fire
FROM:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/sep/06/falklands.world

Further:

Lord Renwick, a senior diplomat in the British embassy in Washington, who went on to become ambassador, told the programme: "My role was to go along to the Pentagon and ask them for 105 Sidewinder missiles. These were the very latest version, which were far more accurate than the earlier versions and we wanted them delivered within 48 hours. That meant stripping part of the frontline US air force of those missiles and sending them to the South Atlantic."

Lord Powell of Bayswater, Lady Thatcher's key foreign affairs adviser, said that Britain would have lost the war without such assistance.

His remarks were echoed by Richard Perle, an assistant US defence secretary at the time, who said: "Britain would probably have lost the war without American assistance. That's how significant it was."

Actions speak louder than words says I.

...




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