The British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has expressed its “disappointment” that the Obama administration continually refuses to support the rights of the British Falkland Islanders to self-determination.
The report about Britain and America’s ‘special relationship’ was generally upbeat but reflected regret over the current administration’s stance on the Falklands: “we are disappointed that the US administration fails to give priority to the principle of self-determination in its position on sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.”
One witness to the committee said that Obama’s White House wanted to “play it both ways” over the issue.In 2012 President Obama caused outrage in Britain by saying: “We have good relations with both Argentina and Great Britain, and we are looking forward to them being able to continue to dialogue on this issue.”
For Brits, there is no debate to be had, and Argentina’s sabre-rattling on the issue is seen to be an attempt by President Kirchner to distract from her troubled economy.
In the same press conference, Obama tried to call the Falkland’s “Las Malvinas”, in what was taken as an indication of his support for Argentina. However, the slight backfired when he accidentally referred to them as the “Maldives”, a wholly unconnected island nation in the Indian Ocean.
The Foreign Affairs Committee wrote its 67-page report after taking a wide range of expert evidence. This included Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain’s ambassador to Washington until 2012, who stated that the Obama administration’s stance had been “uncomfortable” and “not what we wanted”.
Many Britons remain angry about Obama’s lack of support for the Falklands as it came at a time when the US was using British Diego Garcia as an air base to attack enemy combatants in Afghanistan.
The London political establishment were rumoured to be so worried about Obama’s anti-British views that they even organised for Sasha and Malia Obama to have a carriage ride around the grounds of Buckingham Palace to flatter the first family.
Tensions between Britain and Argentina remain high as the Falklands were invaded 32 years ago this week. Last year, in the face of diplomatic pressure, the Falkland Island government offered a referendum to it’s citizens about whether to remain a British Overseas Territory.
On a turnout of 92 percent, an overwhelming 99.8 percent voted to remain a British territory, with only three votes against.