No es Buenos Aires: Argentina's ambush of William Hague reveals hard truths
The Argentine ambush of William Hague was symptomatic of wider contempt emanating from Buenos Aires
Earlier this week the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague launched the Foreign Office’s report in human rights only to be “ambushed” by a mad woman ranting about “colonialism” and a resolution passed by the morally bankrupt United Nations some five decades ago. Who was it? A journalist from Press TV? George Galloway in a skirt (shudder)? Or did some FCO mandarin accidentally let Clare Short in?
None of the above. But their ignorance of diplomatic etiquette and protocol was quite profound. It could only have been Argentina’s ambassador to the court of St. James, Alicia Castro (no relation, apparently).
Evidently discontent with Hague’s response that, “Self-determination is a basic political right of the people of the Falkland Islands, and they can count on us always, permanently, to stand by them,” Castro continued to embarrass herself and her country (not hard these days) by peddling the same old Argentine old wives tales about the sovereignty of the Islands. "They keep on about self-determination,” Castro exclaimed, “but not everyone can have self-determination. A province in my country can’t decide to vote and join China for example.” An intriguing insight into the bunker mentality of the diplomat of a state that has just annexed a foreign multinational company.
Castro’s glib interpretation of the Falklands’ sovereignty appears to be as robust as the Argentina government’s knowledge of international credit obligations and the integrity of free markets. Or perhaps they’re just continuing to play dumb. President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner’s Chavista-inspired decision to nationalise YPF is exactly the kind of dictatorial move The Commentator warned of after her landslide victory last year.
Unfortunately our prescience regarding the dangerous path being pursued by Kirchner is only now coming to the forefront because of Spanish interests. In truth, it’s been a long time coming.
The policy solutions here are consistent with what we’ve been recommending for the past year. Firstly, the international community must immediately cease lending to the Argentina government through institutions such as the World Bank until all sovereign and private debt holders are repaid in full from the 2001 crash. The Obama administration and other leaders in Congress have taken a lead on this issue, but the British and other governments in Europe appear to have shown little stomach for taking such action. For the British government to have this policy tool at its disposal and fail to join forces with the Obama administration to help nix Argentina’s belligerent ways is nothing short of farcical.
In advance of the G20 summit in June, members of parliament in Britain and across the European Union should take a stand against such economic warfare being waged against countries like Spain by calling for the expulsion of the Argentine government from the organisation. Some have said that the G20 may lack credibility if Argentina continues to remain as a member. We disagree.
The G20 can no longer claim to have any credibility as the “premier forum for international cooperation on the most important aspects of the international economic and financial agenda,” as long as radical socialists in Buenos Aires are arbitrarily seizing private assets.
Coupled with its bellicose rhetoric and disdainful treatment of international creditors, the Argentinian government has demonstrated all too clearly that it cannot be trusted to act responsibly on the international stage. Castro’s interruption on Monday was quite befitting of the government she represents: arrogant, ignorant and contemptuous of any rules set out to establish international norms. With friends like these, what else can one expect?
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