"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Falklands Principle

Argentina wants the Falkland Islands, which they call the Malvinas.   They have for a long time, and thirty or so years ago even tried to take them from the Brits.   But the actual people who live there want to stay as a British protectorate.   Today they voted overwhelmingly to remain under British rule, with something like 99.8% of the vote in a referendum affirming that desire.

The Obama Administration has studiously remained neutral in the Falklands/Malvinas dispute.   Just last year, at the "Summit of the Americas" in Cartagena, he confirmed his administration's neutrality (although mistakenly referring to the islands as the "Maldives," which is a different island group off the coast of India).  

Given today's vote, however, what would be the principled basis for remaining neutral?   America is a democracy.   We presumably believe in self-determination.   We supported the popular elections of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.   John Kerry, Obama's new Secretary of State, has referred to the government of Iran as "elected."   So on what principle would Obama deny self-determination to the people of the Falkland Islands?

I can tell you what his "principle" would be.   His principle, which in my observation has governed much of his foreign policy, is that Western European civilizations are bad, and must be opposed regardless of the merits of their claims, and non-European cultures are good, and must be supported regardless of the demerits of their claims.  

I just don't think he'll admit it.  

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