With the anniversary of the Falklands War upon us, several of today's papers devote editorial space to it. The Times clearly states the most basic point (£):
The Falklands war was not some arcane boundary dispute over a remote and sparsely populated territory. It was about the principles of popular consent and the defeat of aggression.
The Falklands remain a British dependent territory because the inhabitants wish the islands to be governed that way.
It is even possible to assent to the proposition that the Falklands War 'remains among [Margaret Thatcher's] finest achievements.' Refreshing to note, the Guardian too - not always to be counted on when Britain or some other Western democracy is engaged militarily against patently anti-democratic regimes or movements - has a good observation on the Falklands dispute:
The charge of colonialism is a red herring. The central colonial acts in the Americas were the dispossession of native peoples and the enslavement of Africans, begun by metropolitan masters and continued by white settlers.
Precisely so. Those pressing the anti-colonial claims of Argentina seem often to forget the origins of Argentina itself. The point is immediately diluted, however, by this sequel in the Guardian's leader: that 'What followed in the shape of territorial rows between settlers was akin to a quarrel among thieves and deserves no moral stature'. The people now living both in the Falklands and in Argentina are not in general thieves or like thieves. They are merely people, who like everyone else everywhere, have emerged out of long histories for which they are not responsible. The moral force of the respective claims to the Falklands cannot be resolved by reference to such histories: it depends, rather, on the collective choice of the islanders.