As a country that with some justice prides itself as a global beacon for democracy, the United States should abandon its equivocation over the status of the Falkland Islands and agree to throw its considerable weight behind the winner of the referendum asking islanders whether they wish to remain a U.K. overseas territory.
The U.S. position, or more accurately non-position, is a veritable case study of diplomat-speak. John Kerry, the new U.S. Secretary of State made a stop in London last week to underscore the “special relationship” between those two countries. It is not so special, however. If it were, the U.S. would approve the democratic rights of Falkland Islanders to self-determination. Said Mr. Kerry, “Our position on the Falklands has not changed. The United States recognizes de facto U.K. administration of the islands but takes no position on the question of parties’ sovereignty claims thereto. We support co-operation between U.K. and Argentina on practical matters.”
Last June, the U.S. government opted to abstain when member countries of the Organization of American States, at its General Assembly, held in Bolivia, voted to readopt a “Declaration on the Question of the Malvinas Islands,” which backs Argentina’s call for negotiations between London and Buenos Aires. Canada stood alone in arguing that the Falkland Islanders should be allowed to decide their own future.
The inhabitants of the Falklands go to the polls on March 10-11. They will be asked, “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?” It’s a clear question, and there is little doubt as to the outcome. There is no desire to see the islands ruled by Argentina. The people will have spoken. The Argentines won’t accept that, but the U.S. should.