As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Falkland War next month, Britain and Argentina’s war of words continues to heat up. Thus far, Argentina has opted for lawfare over warfare, vowing to bring domestic and international court cases against any company looking for oil in the vicinity of the islands. The FT quotes Argentina’s foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, on his country’s plan of attack:
This government . . . will not let a single day go by without filing some action in a court, administrative seat or international tribunal enabling us to protect the reserves which belong to the people and to the Argentine Republic.
Britain, for its part, is not taking this lying down, and defended the Falkland Islanders’ right to develop a hydrocarbon industry as an “integral part” of their self-determination, pledging to “continue to protect and defend” the islands from Argentinian intimidation.As the conflict enters the courts, energy companies active in the area will bear the brunt of the Argentinian legal assault.While this conflict is still unlikely to erupt into open war as it did thirty years ago, it isn’t going away anytime soon. Both countries, particularly Argentina, have significant economic troubles at home, and British and Argentine leaders may be happy to use the nationalism this conflict evokes to distract from domestic problems. Expect this war of words—and lawyers—to continue.