Bret Stephens: Why the Falklands Matter





Mr. Stephens writes the Journal's "Global View" column on foreign affairs.

Thirty years ago this month, Argentina's military junta seized the Falklands from the U.K. and Margaret Thatcher decided to take the islands back. Newsweek ran a picture of a British aircraft carrier on its cover with the headline "The Empire Strikes Back," implicitly casting Mrs. Thatcher as Darth Vader. What, one had to wonder, did that make Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri in the eyes of Newsweek's editors: Princess Leia?
 
The Falklands war put partisans of the left and right to a dilemma. Some American conservatives, especially those who had criticized the Carter administration for being squeamish when it came to supporting pro-American dictators, were reluctant to abandon the anticommunist junta too quickly. But most conservatives admired Mrs. Thatcher and wanted to support a principled stand against aggression.
 
Ronald Reagan ultimately resolved the debate in favor of Britain. But not before Secretary of State Al Haig embarrassed himself, and the U.S., by trying to split the difference with a compromise that would have sold out the Falklanders.
 
The dilemma was even more acute on the left... 



comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list