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CONCLUSION On 4 November 1982 the UN General Assembly voted on a resolution based on an original Latin American draft. It began by 'realizing that the maintenance of a colonial situation is incompatible with the United Nations ideal of universal peace', before noting all the old General Assembly resolutions, the more recent Security Council resolutions and the existence of a defacto cessation of hostilities (which Argentina would not make dejure). It said nothing about the principle of selfdetermination and in talking about the views of the islanders used the words 'interests' rather than 'wishes'. It reaffirmed the principle of the non-use of force and then requested the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom 'to resume negotiations in order to find as soon as possible a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute relating to the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)'. Finally it asked the Secretary-General 'to undertake a renewed mission of good offices in order to assist the parties in complying with the request'. The resolution was adopted by 90 votes to 12, with 52 abstentions. A number of Commonwealth countries, some with large neighbours, voted with Britain. Other Commonwealth countries and members of the European Community abstained. Latin American and non-aligned countries voted in favour, and so did the United States. In one sense Argentina's strategy had succeeded. The war had enabled it to attract international attention to the Falklands issue, convince the General Assembly that this was a dispute requiring a long-term settlement and put pressure on the United Kingdom to 413 Conclusion negotiate seriously. It even gained American support for this stance: Washington was desperate to mend fences with Latin America. However, the resolution had no binding force. The British Ambassador , SirJohn Thomson, explained that it was 'impossible to accept a call for negotiations as if the Argentine invasion had never occurred'. The British Government now saw no reason to discuss the future of the Falklands with anyone but the islanders. It refused to forgive Buenos Aires for seeking to take by force what it had not achieved by negotiation. Unlike the pre-war period, Britain's uncompromising position was now to be backed by a full garrison, supported by formidable air and sea power. The political pressure which Argentina had sought to impose on London only made sense when London itself was uncertain as to its long-term intentions towards the Islands. At the start of the year it had been torn between intransigence and compromise, between its sentimental support for the Falkland islanders and its unwillingness to spend resources on practical support, between its sense of obligation to people who identified with Britain and its own economic and political interests in Latin America. The objective of the Junta had been to force Britain to tilt in favour of compromise. Unfortunately by its own actions it had encouraged a firm move in the other direction. It is difficult to speculate on the consequences of an Argentine victory in the war. It is by no means clear, even with a new British Prime Minister, that it would have been easy to obtain long-term recognition of Argentine sovereignty. On the other hand, serious negotiations, if not a guaranteed outcome, along with an agreed Argentine presence on the Islands, could have been obtained as the fruits of its seizure of the Islands at the start of April. This was on offer during all the various mediation attempts. But the Junta could not bring itself to accept any solution to the conflict which did not enforce a transfer of sovereignty. If Britain had not been able to mobilize so quickly, the Junta's maximum political objective might have been achieved. But once the task force had been dispatched the Junta faced a wholly different strategic situation from the one that it had expected to face and its objectives should have been moderated accordingly. This inability to 414 Conclusion relate its available military means closely to the developing political situation characterized theJunta's overall conduct of the campaign. It was caught by surprise not only by the strength of the British response but also by the lack of international support for its own action. Questions of legitimacy (i.e. aggression shall not be rewarded) are more important than politicians nurturing a long-standing grievance often recognize. If Britain's response had depended only on the asset value of the Islands then Argentina would have had little difficulty. But if this had been the case...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400861583
MARC Record
OCLC
889251506
Pages
512
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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