20 January 2016

Cowardly Corbyn surrenders to Argentina over the Falklands


In his eye-opening BBC interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday, Jeremy Corbyn further underscored why he would be a disaster as British Prime Minister if he ever took the reins of Downing Street. In addition to his ludicrous argument that Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines should patrol the seas without actually being armed with nuclear weapons, the Labour leader called for a “reasonable accommodation with Argentina” over the future of the Falkland Islands. In Corbyn’s words, “it seems to me ridiculous that in the 21st Century we would be getting into some enormous conflict with Argentina about some islands just off it.”

His suggestion that the sovereignty of the Falklands is up for negotiation is a stunning propaganda gift to Buenos Aires, which in recent years has escalated a futile campaign of intimidation and aggression against the Falkland Islanders, and amounts to an act of surrender. It will be music to the ears of Argentina’s new government, which, like its predecessor led by Cristina Kirchner, is determined to press Argentina’s baseless claim to the Falklands.

In case Mr. Corbyn hadn’t noticed, the overwhelmingly British inhabitants of the Falklands voted resoundingly in a 2013 referendum to remain a British Overseas Territory – to the tune of 99.8 percent on a 92 percent turnout. As the government of the Falkland Islands declared in a robust response to Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter:  “The right to self-determination and have a say in our own future is fundamental to people of the Falklands. Any decisions affect our lives.” The suggestion that Argentina should have a say over the future of the Falkland Islanders is an affront to their democratic rights, as well as an insult to the memory of the 255 brave British servicemen who gave their lives to liberate the Falklands following the Argentine invasion in 1982.

Jeremy Corbyn’s views on the Falklands should come as no surprise. He is at heart an appeaser of Britain’s enemies, whether in the form of Islamist militants, Russian nationalists like Vladimir Putin, or Iranian–backed terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. He has a long history as well of sympathy for the Irish Republican Army. Corbyn, like many of his compatriots on the far Left, believes that Britain should be humbled on the world stage, and in some instances has actively sought to elevate those who threaten Britain’s interests. He is also an isolationist, deeply anti-American in outlook, and shockingly dismissive of the NATO alliance, the partnership of nations that has guaranteed the security of the West for the past seven decades.

There can be little doubt that a Corbyn administration would usher in a period of swift British decline, undermining Britain’s defences, casting aside this nation’s global responsibilities while emboldening the enemies of the United Kingdom and the free world.

Is it any wonder that Alicia Castro, Argentina’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, joyfully boasted that Corbyn was “one of ours” when he won the election to be Labour Party leader last September, declaring that the “change of winds” would be blowing through British policy on the Falklands? As Ms. Castro gleefully put it in an interview:  “His leadership could decisively guide British public opinion towards favouring dialogue between the governments of the UK and Argentina, in keeping with the demands of the international community.”

Buenos Aires is now reaping the fruits of its faith in Mr. Corbyn – for indeed the Labour leader is parroting exactly what Argentina wants and demands. Jeremy Corbyn’s comments on the BBC this weekend are a betrayal of the Falkland Islanders, and a slap in the face for all of those who fought for the Falklands to be free. He should be ashamed of his words and acknowledge them for what they are – an ugly and cowardly kowtow before a Latin American government that continues to question the freedom and sovereignty of nearly 3,000 British citizens who wish only to live in peace with the right to decide their own destiny.

Nile Gardiner is director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation.