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July 21, 2017

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Falkland road show comes to UN

UNITED NATIONS -- The Falkland Island Road Show has come to the United Nations, with all the political trappings of drama, hyper-nationalism, and self-righteous moralizing. The focus remains on the future of this windswept British territory in the South Atlantic claimed by, and also once invaded by, neighboring Argentina.

Now thirty years after the end of the bitter but brief Falklands war, the political players are posturing, happily not on naval vessels in the South Atlantic but in the quiet and sleepy chambers of the U.N.'s Decolonization Committee alongside the East River. And as they have since the 1980s, the Argentines have pressed, with significant Latin American cheerleading, to resolve this unresolved "colonial issue," while the British simply restate the obvious; the Falklands remain a self-governing territory.

At the time of the 1982 invasion, Argentina was run by a military junta who unwisely played the nationalism card and seized the islands 300 miles off the coast of South America. The Argentine generals figured this would be an easy win and a political boost for a teetering government.

They picked on the wrong guy, or in this case woman, and soon Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government struck back with resolute fury; a Royal Navy task force was assembled from 8,000 miles away and recaptured the atoll.

Today the salvos are not lethal but rhetorical. President Christina Fernandez Kirchner and her entourage descended upon New York on "Tango 01" to bring a high profile political road show to a normally somnolent U.N. committee. An impassioned plea by President Kirchner demanded diplomatic discussions with Britain on the future of the Malvinas.

Regarding the "Question of the Malvinas Islands," a consensus resolution backed by Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela along with Chile states that "the only way to put an end this special and particular situation is a negotiated settlement of the dispute existing between the governments of the two countries and requests the parties to consolidate the process of dialogue and cooperation."

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