Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. On a visit to Latin America, Jacobson was asked to comment on the growing tensions between Britain and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, and responded by treating the two countries as though they were equal partners in the eyes of the United States.
In her remarks in Lima (reported here by the Andina news agency), she reiterated the Obama administration’s call for a negotiated settlement between London and Buenos Aires over the Falklands:
Our position remains the same. This is a problem between two of our partners. We do not want to change our position (&hellip We prefer that both countries negotiate a diplomatic solution in that matter.
Jacobson’s comments were subsequently backed up by State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland:
We believe that this is a bilateral issue that needs to be worked out directly between Argentina and the United Kingdom. That’s what we are encouraging both sides to do as we head towards this anniversary… we are encouraging Argentina and the UK to work this out peacefully, to work it out through negotiations.
Washington fully understands that Britain will never negotiate away the sovereignty of the Falkland islanders, over 90 per cent of whom are British. Yet it still continues to call for a “diplomatic solution” to the sovereignty question when there is nothing at all to negotiate. It also fails to express any support whatsoever for the UK, and remains silent about the increasingly aggressive approach taken by Argentina, including its threats to blockade the islands and strangle them economically.
At the heart of the Obama administration’s approach is its abject failure to distinguish between America’s most important ally and an increasingly anti-American regime in Latin America, which is closely allied with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. There is a fundamental difference between Great Britain, which has fought alongside the United States in almost every major war involving the US since World War Two, and Argentina, a minor player on the world stage, that barely lifts a finger to help the Americans with anything. The Special Relationship is hugely important to the United States, from the battlefields of Afghanistan and the wider war against Islamist terrorism to US-led efforts to halt the rise of a nuclear-armed Iran. On almost every major international issue, the United States looks to Britain for support. Yet inexplicably this current administration continues to knife London in the back over the Falklands.
The Obama administration’s reckless calls for negotiations over the Falklands are nothing less than a betrayal of a close friend and ally, and will only serve to further encourage the Argentine regime in its foolhardy attempts to intimidate the people of the Falklands. It will hugely overshadow David Cameron’s upcoming state visit to Washington on March 13 and 14, which could well prove an embarrassing and deeply uncomfortable time for his host Barack Obama.
It is time for Washington to demonstrate its firm commitment to the Special Relationship, and show that alliances do matter, especially when nearly 10,000 British soldiers are fighting shoulder to shoulder with American troops in Afghanistan. At the very least the US should formally recognise British sovereignty over the Falklands, and declare its support for the self-determination of the Falkland islanders, the vast majority of whom wish to remain under the Crown and the protection of the Union Jack.