Can we ban Argentina from London Olympics after latest outrage on Falklands?

Argentina has just run a TV ad showing one of its athletes training for the Olympics on the Falklands – “Argentinian soil“ it says. We say it’s time to make life harder for Buenos Aires

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Fernando Zylberberg trains on the British War Memorial on the Falkland Islands
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The Commentator
On 4 May 2012 08:33

The answer to the question is probably not. Banning countries from taking part in international sporting events requires enormous effort and the kind of consensus that would be difficult to imagine.

But after the latest outrage, it is surely time for Britain to raise the threat level against Argentinian interests – sporting or otherwise – and rally our allies to condemn the increasingly hysterical outbursts emanating from Buenos Aires.

As is being widely reported in the British media, Argentina has recently aired an immensely provocative television advert on the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Argentinian warship The General Belgrano by the British submarine HMS Conqueror during the Falklands War in 1982.

The advert features an Argentinian hockey player running past Falkland Island landmarks and the message is highlighted with the words: “To compete on English soil we train on Argentinian soil“.

Now, we may not be able to ban the entire country from competing in the London Olympics but surely we can explore the option of making the athlete in question persona non grata. We could also do the same for some senior government officials – the sports minister for example.

We are not clear on what is legally and practically possible. But we are clear that we should be making much more mischief with the Argentinians than we currently are. 

Speaking to Sky News, Foreign Secretary William Hague called it a stunt which he suggested may have been born of frustration at Argentina having failed to get its way at the recent Summit of the Americas with a joint declaration supporting the country‘s position on the Falklands.

He may well be right, but that’s no reason not to take it seriously. Claiming someone else’s territory as your own would be taken by some countries as tantamount to a declaration of war.

At the very least this advert was deeply insulting – in one part it featured the Argentinian athlete training on a British war memorial. In deed as well as word, it must be made clear that there is a price to pay for this. (Although if recent form is anything to go by, Argentina is not exactly a fan of paying its dues. )

We should also not hesitate to reverse Argentina’s propaganda against itself. For it is they who are acting like imperialists and colonialists, not Britain. They have no credible historic claim to the Falklands which lie around 300 miles from the Latin American Coast.

If geographical proximity determined sovereignty rather than the will of the people that would give Britain the right to Ireland and a sizeable chunk of Western Europe – as it would for European states viz a viz Britain and each other.  (You can apply the same principle globally.)

Plainly, that would be a recipe for permanent war, which is why the civilised world (i.e. not the current political leadership of Argentina) gives primacy to the principle of national self-determination. 

So enough of their posturing and enough of our timidity. Let’s get tough with Argentina, and show them that if they want to play ball with us, we’ll play ball with them. But let’s also remind them, it’s our ball, and we always win in the end.

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