After all, Blair joined Bush in the Iraq charade (Blair insisted that “history would vindicate” them, but history isn’t smiling.) So now an American expat and Anglophile “expert” demands in the British press that Obama bail out the Brits again and live up to the requirements of a mysterious “special relationship” that has never been put into treaty form, publicly debated, and given the advice and consent of the Senate as required by the Constitution. “The core of the problem is a simple inability to recognize and support our friends over adversaries,” he pouts. Argentina is not America’s enemy. Why would the author, a retired US military officer, want the US to blow a hole in its own hull so we can follow England’s sinking ship?
In 1981, Ronald Reagan had widespread support across Latin America. England was sinking even then, and had given up most of its colonies, including Hong Kong to the Communist Chinese and Zimbabwe to the communist Mugabe. But Maggie Thatcher couldn’t stomach giving back the colonies England had stolen from Catholic countries. So today, England’s last three colonies are in Catholic countries — Northern Ireland (Ireland), Gibraltar (Spain), and the Argentine Malvinas, the name all Latin Americans give the islands that colonial occupier England calls the Falklands.
When Reagan backed Thatcher in 1982, he alienated Latin America so profoundly that I predicted it would take a generation to recover the goodwill that he lost. Alas, a generation has gone by, and just look south of the border. How much love of the United States do we find there today? We certainly can’t call it friendship. Alas, a generation was not enough.
Shortly after the war between Britain and Argentina, Cap Weinberger, Reagan’s Defense Secretary, told me — unclassified, at a party — that the United States had actually been ready to go to war with Argentina, if English forces had not prevailed on their own. And they almost didn’t. If those Exocets had gone off and sunk those British ships (here’s why they didn’t), the United States would have been at war with a Latin American country on behalf of a European colonial power.
Like America’s security and defense industry and major financial interests, the Brits prosper from wars and the rumors of wars. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants to be king of the third world (with our money, of course), and join the hordes who prosper on ending poverty (with our money, of course). The United States has too many secret “special relationships” with too many countries: the UK, Israel, Iraq, Mexico, to name a few — and now, for all we know, with the corrupt regime in Kabul. It’s time to end them and return to a constitutional foreign policy.
Update: this post brought to my inbox a wave of support for the UK’s Falklands policy, and a ripple supporting Argentina’s Malvinas policy. My historical views there are my own, but the constitutional principle is not: it’s their fight, not ours. Our Constitution has no provision for declaring war with Argentina without a Declaration of War, and it allows no grounds for an undefined but sweeping “Special Relationship” with any country, however friendly, without a treaty that has been debated publicly and receive the advice and consent of two-thirds of the senators present and voting.1:51 pm on February 26, 2010 Email Christopher Manion