Following a year of escalating political tension and a political stunt at The World Cup The Falkland Isles are back on the political agenda of the South-American country. But why is the country now kicking up a fuss over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands after 30 years of relative quiet on the matter?

Well, the answer is simple– internal woes.

Argentina suffers from economic turmoil: disaffected strikers regularly fill ‘La Plaza Mayor’, disrupting daily life in the capital city of Buenos Aires. This is industrial action a scale that is not easy to dismiss; they truly threaten the national economy.

Argentina Flakland las maninas

Memorial to Royal Marines at Port Stanley.
Rights; fromthevalleys

Argentina is a country blessed with an abundance of natural resources; mining of precious metals, fertile land to grow crops to produce biofuels and, of course, the rich Patagonian oilfields. As a country with huge energy consumption, they rely heavily on natural gas and oil to meet their high energy demands. So, when a strike by workers in the petrochemical industries is joined by lorry drivers who transport that precious petrol across the vast country, and taxi drivers, the tram unions and train unions strike too, there is certainly an element of a country being ransomed by its workers, and the present possibility is that it could happen again and again.

No petrol, means no lorries, no cars, no busses or taxis can run – transport breaks down, the strikers no very well that when there is no fuel, chaos reigns.

This threat to stability naturally worries the democratically elected politicians as they realise that they are not truly the powerful at all, that it is the populace, infuriated with the proposed new income tax, who when they group together have the capability to bring the country to a standstill and thus the Government to its knees.

So how does a government try to unite a politically divided nation?

They inject a sense of national pride; a simple, innocent ideal, which acts as a great equaliser, differing political opinion aside, all are born of the same great nation and as such are united. Each nation has grievances and idiosyncratic behaviour which creates sweeping generalisations, for example, Britain is a sarcastic nation with a marked and historic rivalry with the French.

National pride, patriotism, nationalism, in its true sense, is a useful and incredibly dangerous tool which each country has prerogative to wield. By bringing national feeling to the forefront and presenting the proud masses with old grievances and slights, injuring the mother country’s pride, political attention can be focused outwards. Allowing The Government not to deal with the true source of the problem, or simply buy itself time to deal with said problem.

This is increasingly evident with the situation in Argentina; by reopening the debate with Britain on the issue of the sovereignty of the Falklands – or ‘Las Malvinas’ – The Government is gaining time to avoid their possible toppling; because politically motivated Latinos have left a legacy of ideological fighting and change, a legacy of political will.

Who can blame the Argentinian Government? Indeed who could say without a hesitation that they would not do the same in that intolerable position.

The Government can sit comfortably again, they can pass legislation which would ordinarily have been contentious, because, with the prospect of two powerful sovereign nations going head to head, resisting your government who are acting in the national interests would result to be unpatriotic. A horrible shame. Argentina is certainly not the only nation to employ the tactic of patriotism as a smokescreen France, Britain, Germany, America, all have to different extents and for different purposes throughout history.

It is an effective tool when its effects cannot be measured in cost to human life. However the danger that must be guarded against when stoking the fires of nationalism; is,that, when playing with fire, it is easy to get burned.

It begs the question, for a moment of internal peace, is it worth risking external conflict?

 

Image Rights; Dwilliams851.