When Theresa May became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Mauricio Macri became the President of Argentina several years ago, the chill between their two countries began to lessen. Their predecessors, over successive administrations, had closed doors to talks of any kind. Economic relations between the countries had come to a standstill. Diplomatic relations were cool at best and often non-existent. Many in the world probably did not perceive the significance of the G20 Summit being in Argentina recently. Theresa May attended. She became the first Prime Minister ever to visit Buenos Aires and the second ever to visit Argentina. May and Macri met in a private session at the Summit. The improved relationship between the two governments is evident in May’s comments: “It’s clear that our position on the sovereignty of the Falklands has not changed.
But what has changed in recent months is that we have seen better relations with Argentina.” It is very significant that flights between Argentina and the Falklands have resumed; they had been suspended since the war. Britain has facilitated the identification and repatriation of Argentines killed during the War and buried in the Falklands. It has permitted families of deceased to visit. There now are opportunities for Argentina to share in anticipated oil and gas wealth in waters surrounding the Falklands. Argentina would benefit greatly from future British investment, which is a distinct possibility going forward. The only thing of near certainly is that these countries will not return to the battlefield against each other in the foreseeable future. Britain has robust presence in the South Atlantic now, including significant early warning capabilities. Argentina, on the other hand, has very little credible military capability at all. I believe the issue of sovereignty will continue to fade into the background in years ahead.
It won’t go away, but it will not drive relations as it once did. I have talked to (younger) Argentines many times and brought up the subject of the Falklands/Malvinas. All of them commented that it was not an issue with them and that the two countries needed to move on.
A populist leader could arrive on the scene and create fervor over sovereignty again. I am of the belief that younger generations want the two countries to move away from the past and get along to the benefit of each other.