11 January 2011

Falklands - British diplomacy triumphs again

The Foreign Office has confirmed that Brazil has denied diplomatic clearance to dock at Rio de Janeiro to the RN Falklands protection ship HMS Clyde, despite the defence cooperation treaty signed with the Brazilian navy in September 2010.

That was the same month the Type 42 destroyer HMS Gloucester was refused permission to dock in Montevideo, explicitly to register Uruguay's solidarity with the Argentine claim on the Falkland Islands.

The refusal to permit HMS Clyde to dock in Rio was without a doubt a similar act of solidarity with the recently widowed, ultra-nationalist Argentine President Cristina Fernández by the new Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, previously a Castroite guerrilla.

When signing the defence agreement, British Minister for International Security Strategy Gerald Howarth described the UK and Brazil as "old and trusted friends" and said the treaty would mark a "new dawn" in defence relations between the two countries.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: ""Brazil did not grant diplomatic clearance this time. We respect Brazil's right to make such a decision. We have a close relationship with Brazil. The UK-Brazil defence cooperation treaty signed last September is a good example of our current strong links."

In other words, let's not put our relations with Brazil at risk for those miserable islanders who have so stubbornly resisted all our efforts to sell them out to Argentina. Ha ha! This time we've got 'em.

On a closely related theme, see Sharkey's World on the French aircraft carrier that is supposed to provide air cover for our fleet while we bugger around with our naval air capability. If there is one thing more sure than that the Foreign Office is determined to prove it was right pre-1982, it is that the MoD wants to get shot of its commitment to defend the islands.

Bingo! We don't have the capability anymore. Just like we damned nearly didn't in 1982. If the Argentines had waited another year they could have walked in and all the British could have done was bleat ineffectually to the UN. See my 2006 book Razor's Edge: the Unofficial History of the Falklands War.

The Argentines have a word for our diplomats - vendepatrias. The personnel has changed, but it's the same game plan; and this time, oh joy!, the Americans won't back us, as both The One and Clinton have made clear.

Job done, you sneaky, cowardly, shameless sons of bitches.

P.S. Look out for leaks from the Foreign Office about how they warned the government this would happen if it persisted in upholding British sovereignty and licensed oil exploration off the Falklands.

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