Thirty years ago, on this day at 8:30 am, a place called the Falkland Islands ceased to be British, after Argentinian commandos landed there to ‘reclaim’ it as theirs.
No one had heard of these islands and they appeared as remote as the outer Hebrides, so when the then British PM Margaret Thatcher sent a task force to save the people from the dictatorship of Galtieri.
Some thought the nation had gone mad.
Thankfully, the outcome came to this nation’s favour, because even in their depleted state the armed forces of Great Britain are still highly professional, and because British statesmen skilfully played the rivalry between Chile and Argentina to this country’s advantage. It was never a foregone conclusion and those who fought will tell you that Britain was very lucky – that is the nature of war, which why you never enter a conflict unless it is absolutely necessary.
So what was Argentina thinking of?
Mature, adult nations settle their dispute through negotiation not invasions.
Argentina says the islands is historically theirs – Britain has held them since 1832, and there was no independent Argentina then, and the current inhabitants of that south America state also speak Spanish, which means they are as much colonists as those English-speakers who now live on the Falklands.
It never needed to come to war, Britain is very good at talking about things that it no longer needs, ask China and Spain.
Had Argentina waited they probably would have got them.
Now, they can just dream of reclaiming the Malvinas.