Thursday, June 14, 2007

Falkland Islands Redux

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina. And just like that conflict somewhat overshadowed Spain '82, the news of something brewing in Venezuela might do the same to this summer's Copa America.

Headlines in Russia state that Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is set to finalize a deal to buy high tech subs from Vladimir Putin's government. Why does Chavez need all of this hardware? He says he needs it to defend against America's evil empire. Military affairs writer, Austin Bay, suggests something else entirely:
[A]n expansionary ideology and explosive ego propel Chavez. He styles himself as the new Simon Bolivar, who will reunite the South American continent while cowing the United States and other imperialists. He also bills himself as the 21st century's Fidel Castro.
He may be looking to enforce land claims against Colombia, Guyana, and the most menacing of all global hyperpowers—the Netherlands. Islands such as Aruba and Curacao, located off Venezuela's northern coast, are Dutch Constituent Countrys. But would Chavez really try to reclaim these territories? Bay thinks it out this way:
Chavez isn't stupid — he knows Argentina lost its Falklands gamble. But he also knows that Britain's Falkland victory was more of a "near thing" than many think. Argentine combat aircraft could just reach the Falklands, while Venezuelan fighters could easily strike the Antilles.
Supposedly, the Netherlands has started stockpiling its islands with naval forces, F-16 fighter jets, helicopters, and an infantry battalion. Just another sidebar to the upcoming Copa America tournament.

Venezuela's Chavez to finalise Russian submarines deal [Breitbart]
A look back at Falklands War, with Venezuela in mind [Houston Chronical]


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