Geopolitics

Sad Farewell To Margaret Thatcher In Falklands - Silence In Argentina

Margaret Thatcher only went to the Falklands twice
Margaret Thatcher only went to the Falklands twice
Natasha Niebieskikwiat

STANLEY, FALKLAND ISLANDS – In nearby Argentina, President Cristina Kirchner and her ministers offered not a single word after the death this week of Margaret Thatcher. Absolute silence was the strictest order of the day in the halls of government in Buenos Aires.

Still, some veterans from the 1982 war did react, including the head of the Falkland’s Fallen Family Member’s Commission, César Trejo, who lamented that the former British prime minister died without being brought to trial in the Hague for the Royal Navy's sinking of the Argentinian war ship Belgrano, which killed 323 sailors during the short-lived conflict.

Meanwhile, Thatcher's memory was duly honored in the Falklands, where she has long been viewed as a singular heroine. Shortly after word spread of her death, the British-run administration of the Islands issued a statement. “It is with great sadness that we received news of the death of Baroness Thatcher this morning,” read the text signed by advisor Mike Summers. “She will forever be remembered in the Islands for her decisiveness in sending a task force to liberate our home following the Argentine invasion in 1982.”

He added that the islanders expressed their “sincere gratitude," concluding that Thatcher's “friendship and support will be sorely missed, and we will always be thankful for all that she did for us. The thoughts and deepest sympathies of all Falkland Islanders are with her family and friends at this sad time."

Thatcher is the only British Prime Minister with a Falklands street named after her, located behind the monument to British soldiers who died in the war with Argentina where Islanders gather every June 14th to mark what is known here as “Liberation Day,” the date Argentina surrendered in 1982.

Thatcher was on the archipelago only twice. She arrived for a surprise visit during the summer of 1983, then she was there for the local celebrations ten years after the victory in the war.

Recently, declassified documents from the UK show a surprising level of flexibility from even Thatcher's administration had regarding claims of sovereignty before the Argentine invasion, which may have caused a slight dent in the island's love affair with the ex Prime Minister.

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Geopolitics

"The Truest Hypocrisy" - The Russia-NATO Clash Seen From Moscow

Russia has decided to cut off relations with the Western military alliance. But Moscow says it was NATO who really wanted the break based on its own internal rationale.

NATO chief Stoltenberg and Russian Foregin Minister Lavrov

Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS via ZUMA
Pavel Tarasenko and Sergei Strokan

MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry's announcement that the country's permanent representation to NATO would be shut down for an indefinite period is a major development. But from Moscow's viewpoint, there was little alternative.

These measures were taken in response to the decision of NATO on Oct. 6 to cut the number of personnel allowed in the Russian mission to the Western alliance by half. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the removal of accreditations was from eight employees of the Russian mission to NATO who were identified as undeclared employees of Russian intelligence." We have seen an increase in Russian malicious activity for some time now," Stoltenberg said.


The Russian Foreign Ministry called NATO's expulsion of Russian personnel a "ridiculous stunt," and Stoltenberg's words "the truest hypocrisy."

In announcing the complete shutdown in diplomacy between Moscow and NATO, the Russian Foreign Ministry added: "The 'Russian threat' is being hyped in strengthen the alliance's internal unity and create the appearance of its 'relevance' in modern geopolitical conditions."

The number of Russian diplomatic missions in Brussels has been reduced twice unilaterally by NATO in 2015 and 2018 - after the alliance's decision of April 1, 2014 to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between Russia and NATO in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Diplomats' access to the alliance headquarters and communications with its international secretariat was restricted, military contacts have frozen.

Yet the new closure of all diplomatic contacts is a perilous new low. Kommersant sources said that the changes will affect the military liaison mission of the North Atlantic alliance in Moscow, aimed at promoting the expansion of the dialogue between Russia and NATO. However, in recent years there has been no de facto cooperation. And now, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced, the activities of the military liaison mission will be suspended. The accreditation of its personnel will be canceled on November 1.

NATO told RIA Novosti news service on Monday that it regretted Moscow's move. Meanwhile, among Western countries, Germany was the first to respond. "It would complicate the already difficult situation in which we are now and prolong the "ice age," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.

"Lavrov said on Monday, commenting on the present and future of relations between Moscow and the North Atlantic Alliance, "If this is the case, then we see no great need to continue pretending that any changes will be possible in the foreseeable future because NATO has already announced that such changes are impossible.

The suspension of activities of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO, as well as the military liaison and information mission in Russia, means that Moscow and Brussels have decided to "draw a final line under the partnership relations of previous decades," explained Andrei Kortunov, director-general of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, "These relations began to form in the 1990s, opening channels for cooperation between the sides … but they have continued to steadily deteriorate over recent years."

Kortunov believes the current rupture was promoted by Brussels. "A new strategy for NATO is being prepared, which will be adopted at the next summit of the alliance, and the previous partnership with Russia does not fit into its concept anymore."

The existence and expansion of NATO after the end of the Cold War was the main reason for the destruction of the whole complex of relations between Russia and the West. Today, Russia is paying particular attention to marking red lines related to the further steps of Ukraine's integration into NATO. Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov previously stated this, warning that in response to the alliance's activity in the Ukrainian direction, Moscow would take "active steps" to ensure its security.

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