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There was zero chance of either. At the end of the day the insurgencies in Central America were fueled by internal factors and the Soviet help was inconvenient but not decisive. When those regimes (left and right) finally were reformed in the late 80s, things quieted down. The Soviets offered help to the Argentinians and were told to shove it, and for all claims of support, all that materialised was Brazil's internment of a Vulcan and the Peruvians giving some Mirages.

 

If the Argentinians had managed to held to the islands, the military regime may have bought a few more years before falling due to their incapacity, and the absolutely worst case would be a Peronist goverment like they have now, which would proceed to happily screw the country.José in Honduras is not going to care one iota for José in Buenos Aires.

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OTOH there was very little the US could do to force the Junta to leave the Falklands. Once they had gone out at the Casa Rosada balcony to receive the cheers of a grateful nations, the generals couldn't give them up without the Junta falling, so no matter what, they weren't about to bend to US pressure to hand them over without a fight. And one needs to ask, what else could the US do? embargo arm supplies to Argentina? done. Support the UK in retaking the islands? done. Gather NATO support to have european allies back the UK? done.

 

They could have deployed a carrier group, but it was going to take as much time at least as the Task Force, and by then the war would be either ongoing or wrapped up.

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OTOH there was very little the US could do to force the Junta to leave the Falklands. Once they had gone out at the Casa Rosada balcony to receive the cheers of a grateful nations, the generals couldn't give them up without the Junta falling, so no matter what, they weren't about to bend to US pressure to hand them over without a fight. And one needs to ask, what else could the US do? embargo arm supplies to Argentina? done. Support the UK in retaking the islands? done. Gather NATO support to have european allies back the UK? done.

 

They could have deployed a carrier group, but it was going to take as much time at least as the Task Force, and by then the war would be either ongoing or wrapped up.

 

Not sure I entirely agree. I mean most of their main strike wing, the A4s, Hueys etc were kept operational, and I can only assume US companies were supplying the parts. ditto bombs, amtracks, before the war. You only have to make the slight comment that embargos on all of their military kit for evermore and they would have been in a bit of a muddle. Granted a lot of kit was acquired from elsewhere (not least France), but an awful lot wasnt.

 

 

 

And the UK, specifically their Type 42 destroyers. They also had some Canberras.

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The only regreatable thing about that conflict IMO is that the Brits decided to be noble enougth not to burn Galtieri and his fellow junta asshats alive by Tomahawking the "Precidential" Palace in Buenos Aires. Seeing the junta creatures spending their last two min alive running around soaked in burning jet fuel could prolly have been at least some form of comfort for their thousands of victims and and/or for their famillies. "Nope, no more throwing of handcuffed ppl into the Atlantic from choppers for you, Mr Captain Astiz. You have a date with the (RN) hangman ol' chap"! Oh, what a glorious BBQ it could have been!

So what if the rest of the S A tin pot dictators wouldnt have liked it -fcuk em!

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Not sure I entirely agree. I mean most of their main strike wing, the A4s, Hueys etc were kept operational, and I can only assume US companies were supplying the parts. ditto bombs, amtracks, before the war. You only have to make the slight comment that embargos on all of their military kit for evermore and they would have been in a bit of a muddle. Granted a lot of kit was acquired from elsewhere (not least France), but an awful lot wasnt.

 

Given the short length of the conflict, there were enough spares to keep their gear going, including the British supplied one.

 

Its not so much military options that were the issue. It was the lack of political support BEFORE the war and whilst it was ongoing that would have been so valuable. Note that even the US admits it may have inadvertently given the impression an invasion would be looked on favourably. Isnt that in itself pretty extraordinary?

http://www.dailymail...-CIA-chief.html

 

Now you are failing to see the American perspective, this were unimportant islands whose sovereignity was disputed and there were negotiations going on, with the UK giving signs that they were willing to give away (withdrawal of UK passports for the locals, withdrawal of Endurance) in a world wiith plenty of hot spots. The US response to this events is sluggish in all cases (see the Perejil island conflict) to something they see as irrelevant to their interest.

 

You say they gave support to Britain in retaking the islands, well thats an arguable point. There was little if any political support given that I can recall at the time, and the recent documents seem to support it. Indeed we have direct testomony that Haig was going to tell the Argentinians about the UK landing on South Georgia, its own territory! That not political support, thats moral equivalency where there couldnt be any.

 

True but you don't need to blame malice when stupidity explains it.

 

That Argentina wouldnt bend at the last minute and withdraw, I dont disagree. As usual you are quite right. What I dont really understand is why they thought Britain would, and ultimately, why should it have done? Doesnt that in itself imply a complete lack of understanding of the conflict and the players in it? What I dont think people get is that the Falklands was less a colonial conflict (which is presumably what the state department thought it was) than a statement of intent about the western alliance. IE, if you wouldnt stand up for a piece of territory that belonged to you, why would you stand up for West Germany? That makes the British position explicable, and the American one (and actually the lack of support from Nato and the UN) wholly inexplicable.

 

Because they had been receiving plenty of signals from the Foreign Office that the islands were negotiable and the UK was willing to negotiate them away - what they missed was that although the UK had given up colonies post-war, in nearly all the cases there were pressures to do so, while the islanders resolutely wanted to be British! As to handling them over to a dictatorship, well, that wasn't a factor in Africa and lots of other places.

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OTOH, ive pointed out before a Vulcan raid on the argentine mainland was just about possible, and probably a very good idea. After all, they were attacking British ships in international waters and invaded our one of our territories. Im not sure why were were so leery of attacking their own territory. Its not like the UN didnt vote against us anyway.

 

Now that is an interesting question, isnt it?

Good thing I never belive in consperacy theories ever :ninja: , else I might discreetly have started looking in the direction of your Special Friend again..

 

Was a UK strategic strike (non nuclear) on main land Argentina ever considered at any stage of the war?

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Not sure I entirely agree. I mean most of their main strike wing, the A4s, Hueys etc were kept operational, and I can only assume US companies were supplying the parts. ditto bombs, amtracks, before the war. You only have to make the slight comment that embargos on all of their military kit for evermore and they would have been in a bit of a muddle. Granted a lot of kit was acquired from elsewhere (not least France), but an awful lot wasnt.

 

Given the short length of the conflict, there were enough spares to keep their gear going, including the British supplied one.

 

 

Its not so much military options that were the issue. It was the lack of political support BEFORE the war and whilst it was ongoing that would have been so valuable. Note that even the US admits it may have inadvertently given the impression an invasion would be looked on favourably. Isnt that in itself pretty extraordinary?

http://www.dailymail...-CIA-chief.html

 

Now you are failing to see the American perspective, this were unimportant islands whose sovereignity was disputed and there were negotiations going on, with the UK giving signs that they were willing to give away (withdrawal of UK passports for the locals, withdrawal of Endurance) in a world wiith plenty of hot spots. The US response to this events is sluggish in all cases (see the Perejil island conflict) to something they see as irrelevant to their interest.

 

You say they gave support to Britain in retaking the islands, well thats an arguable point. There was little if any political support given that I can recall at the time, and the recent documents seem to support it. Indeed we have direct testomony that Haig was going to tell the Argentinians about the UK landing on South Georgia, its own territory! That not political support, thats moral equivalency where there couldnt be any.

 

True but you don't need to blame malice when stupidity explains it.

 

That Argentina wouldnt bend at the last minute and withdraw, I dont disagree. As usual you are quite right. What I dont really understand is why they thought Britain would, and ultimately, why should it have done? Doesnt that in itself imply a complete lack of understanding of the conflict and the players in it? What I dont think people get is that the Falklands was less a colonial conflict (which is presumably what the state department thought it was) than a statement of intent about the western alliance. IE, if you wouldnt stand up for a piece of territory that belonged to you, why would you stand up for West Germany? That makes the British position explicable, and the American one (and actually the lack of support from Nato and the UN) wholly inexplicable.

 

Because they had been receiving plenty of signals from the Foreign Office that the islands were negotiable and the UK was willing to negotiate them away - what they missed was that although the UK had given up colonies post-war, in nearly all the cases there were pressures to do so, while the islanders resolutely wanted to be British! As to handling them over to a dictatorship, well, that wasn't a factor in Africa and lots of other places.

 

Re Gear, never said the conflict was long enough for it to kick it. It would however matter a great deal in the years afterwards if a blanket ban on spares to Argentina had been put in place. After all, how long were Argentinas Hercules going to remain operational if Lockheed were told to put a withhold on spares? Or the Etendard if France decided not to supply parts of ammunition? Ultimately there was too much money to be made to put in place long standing bans like that. As I say, im not pointing the finger at the US in this. EVERYONE had a finger in that pie. But I do think the US could have applied a lot of pressure if they had made threats like that. For whatever reason they chose not to. Neither for that matter did anyone else.

 

Very true about the leadup to the conflict, they may have been following the British lead, which with Carrington at point not surprisingly was a bloody mess. A very good point.

It does however, not explain the American attitiude WHEN the Argentinians invaded the Falklands and we made it clear we were going to get them back. The attitiude in the lead up to the conflict is regrettable, but as you point out, probably understandable. After the invasion its becomes muddled and frankly incomprehensible. Not just in the days after the taskforce sailed, but right up to the final hours of the conflict when they wanted us to withdraw and replace the soldiers with US and Brazilian peacekeepers. Indeed its hard to see a step change from prewar to wartime thinking from the US perspective. Were they really missing all the pointers when PM Thatcher said she would retake the falklands? Not much ambiguity there. Yet they somehow deluded themselves a settlement was still possible long after it became obvious a conflict was inevitable and that it was impossible for the British to back down. At that point it would have been adviseable to have turned hardball on the Argentinian regime, and throw in their lot entirely on the British side. And despite a lot of claims that was the case, I see no evidence of it ever happening. Now you have to admit, whatever reason it may have been, thats pretty bizarre behavior dont you think?

 

 

Well there was stupidity on all sides. I would not be so arrogant to suggest that the US state department had a copyright on it. In actual fact im sure the UK FCO told them everything worth knowing about incompetence. :P

 

After the war, don't forget that Argentina went through a significant political change, so there was no reason to keep the embargo - which nevertheless the Americans kept, which is why they got upgraded A-4s instead of F-16s, why they didn't got Kfirs (Yank engine) and had to made do with Israel's surviving Mirage and they got the SuEs they had paid already. Neither of which was enough for a re-run.

 

It is also possible that the Americans didn't thought the Brits were all that serious - this was post-Vietnam and military posturing was passé.

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I don't think anything was declared per se, just the US closing down the availability of modern hardware. Chile ended up in the same position, which is why they were glad to take the Hunters offered by the UK and went Israeli/South African until after Pinochet. The US has always taken a dim view at the latinos having up to scratch hardware, although some countries have been able to work around the restrictions by shopping abroad (UK, France), noticeably, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.

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Now you are failing to see the American perspective, this were unimportant islands whose sovereignity was disputed

The US de facto position before the Argentinean invasion was that there was no dispute over sovereignty. The USA never recognised Argentinean claims to sovereignty. Don't forget which navy intervened when an Argentinean agent tried to act as if the islands were Argentinean - it wasn't the Royal Navy! For almost 150 years before the war, the USA had been happy to act as if the islands were British.

Edited by swerve
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Fair point, but the factual is that Haigh was trying to balance UK vs Argentina, which amounts to a de facto recognition of the dispute.

I thought he was fighting Kirkpatrick at the UN, who was 100% behind Argentina and thought the US should follow that line. A view that still prevails to some extent given the recent stance of the Obama administration on the matter. But that's only a surprise if you think the so-called "special relationship" trumps pragmatism and realpolitik...

 

BillB

Edited by BillB
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ever assume SecState, Nat'l Security Advisor, and the State Dept. are on the same team. Particularly when there's an R in the White House, the lifers in State and the diplo appointees in the WH at best have a sort of detente, at worst actively work against each other.

 

Precisely. Iraq is just a recent example...and it was US armed forces on the line...

 

I think that if the Argentinians had put fighters in Falklands then a direct attack against Argentina was very probable.

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