Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Bugle

Well, I've just discovered something great. It's a podcast called "The Bugle" by British comedians John Oliver of "The Daily Show" and Andy Zaltzman. Hilarious podcast about politics. Let me excerpt from episode 105 when they were talking about The Falklands -- this is an international issue I had no idea about. If you're not up to speed, Argentina is squawking about taking the Falklands again. Chavez (of course) has gotten involved, and the UK doesn't want to give them up because ... drum roll please ... oil has been discovered there! So John, take it away:

The estimate is that there may well be sixty billion barrels of oil around the Falkland Islands, and Britain has really hit the jackpot with this, Andy. Many people were mystified as to why we cared enough to fight a war over the Falklands all those years ago, but now we've been rewarded. It was like we bought an ugly painting no one liked from a thrift store, held on to it for decades, then we took it onto Antiques Roadshow only to be told there was a Rembrandt hidden behind it, and that we were now stinking rich.

- snip -

The beauty of this is that Britain must really be able to count on the U.S. with this one, Andy, we supported them in their morally dubious war for oil, time to call that favor in! But oh, hold on, what's this? It turns out the Obama administration has absolutely no desire to get involved in this at all; it has declined to back Britain's claim that oil exploration near the islands is sanctioned by international law, saying the dispute is strictly a bilateral issue. What!? What happened to "shoulder to shoulder"? All we are asking for is a tiny set of islands, not a region in the middle east. Et tu, Obama? Et tu? If Bush was president, Buenos Aires would already have been carpet bombed by now. Bring him back, Andy, at least we knew where we stood with that guy.
Go check it out.


Raised By Republicans said...

I've always thought the Argentines were the bad guys on this one. THe Falklands are inhabited by a population of several thousand people. All British who overwhelmingly wish to remain British. These are not Spanish speaking colonial subjects. These are English speaking British colonists who wish to remain in that status. The are the descendants of whaling industry workers from the 19th century.

Argentina claims the islands based on geographical proximity and some relatively short lived Spanish colony administered from Buenos Aires between 1780 and 1811.

By the Argentine logic, the United States should immediately invade both the Bahamas and Bermuda and possibly Canada as well.

The Law Talking Guy said...

RBR - you have overestimated the "short lived Spanish colony." I once spent a lot of time researching this.

The French founded a settlement at East Falkland and the British on West Falkland around 1770. Spain took over the French (but not the British) area in 1780. The British left West Falkland in 1774. Newly-independent Argentina withdrew the last few Spaniards in 1811. The Islands were then uninhabited and became a way-station for whalers and sealers with temporary lodgings. Dozens of nationalities took part. In 1831, Argentina tried to re-settle East Falkland. The USA sent a warship there, destroyed the settlement, and declared the islands free of government. Argentines returned in 1832, but were forced out by the British who arrived for good in 1833.

The Spanish presence continued for a few years with gauchos on the islands, and it left their behind common term for the countryside, the "camp" - from "campo" in Spanish. For the past 175 years, however, the exclusive population and presence on the islands has been British. The Argentine claim to the area is just not historically accurate or tenable in terms of the democratic right of the inhabitants to self-determination.

The discovery of oil, however, is another matter. It is one thing for the British to remain in control of a colony off the South AmMerican mainland that wishes to be under British control. It is another to use that same colony as an excuse for establishing a wide EEZ and claiming oil rights that might otherwise be shared or belong to the nearer country. This should be worked out with a nice revenue-sharing arrangement.

Raised By Republicans said...

"The Argentine claim to the area is just not historically accurate or tenable in terms of the democratic right of the inhabitants to self-determination."

I think this is the only real conclusion here. But it is far too common for people to side with Argentina out of some sense of political correctness.

As for the size and scope of the EEZ, that surely is a matter for bi-lateral negotiation as you say. But I don't see anything inherently unjust (or necessarily requiring compensation to the Argentines) about the UK exploiting the resources in and around the islands. After all, it is widely agreed that the islands are British by virtue of the self determination of the inhabitants.