Reich to Newsmax: Argentina's Demand for Falklands 'Saber-rattling'

Tuesday, 08 Jan 2013 06:09 PM

By Jim Meyers and John Bachman

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Argentina’s renewed claim to the Falkland Islands is merely “saber-rattling” by a troubled regime, Latin America expert Otto Reich tells Newsmax.

The archipelago in the South Atlantic, a British Overseas Territory, was invaded by Argentina in 1982 but the British military ousted Argentine forces after a 2-month war. Now the administration of Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner is once again demanding the islands be turned over to her country, and British Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to defend them.

Asked how serious is the potential for new conflict, Reich — who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs in 2002 — downplays the potential for new conflict.

“I don’t think we are at the level that we were in the 1980s when Argentina and Britain went to war, because I don’t think that Cristina Kirchner will be left to suffer the same fate as the Argentine generals that invaded the Falkland Islands,” he says.

“The tension between Britain and Argentina will continue forever.”

Asked if the new claim by Argentina is just saber-rattling, Reich tells Newsmax: “Oh yes, saber-rattling, which by the way is something very common when an authoritarian dictator or authoritarian president is running into domestic difficulty, like Cristina Kirchner is in Argentina, because she has made power grabs that have backfired and certain sectors of the economy are not doing well.

“Then they create foreign devils. They create crises to try to generate national sentiment among the population, and that’s what led to the statement the Argentine generals made. They were having serious domestic difficulties so they decided to invade the Falklands to bring the entire populous behind them to generate support, and it backfired because they lost so badly that Argentina was humiliated and the generals were overturned.”

See the video below.

Editor's Note: Read the full Newsmax interview of Ambassador Reich:

Reich: Cuba's Castro Brothers Will Control Venezuela After Chavez' Death

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