By a vote of 99.8 percent to 0.2 percent, Falklanders said they wanted the Falkland Islands to remain British. In the Monday referendum, 92 percent of the Islanders voted, and all but three choose to vote for continuing political union with Britain.
In response, the Obama administration shrugged. In the past, the President of the United States was often called the leader of the free world, but this administration values what it calls “neutrality” more than self-determination. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland:
The residents have clearly expressed their preference for a continued relationship with the United Kingdom. That said, we obviously recognize that there are competing claims. Our formal position has not changed. We recognize the de facto UK administration of the islands, but we take no position on sovereignty claims. [Agence France Press, March 13]
The U.S. military uses and benefits from bases on Britain’s overseas territories, including Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus, Ascension Island in the mid-Atlantic, and Gibraltar. Some of these overseas territories, such as Gibraltar, are controversial, but the U.S. uses them and supports British claims to them. It appears that because the U.S. military does not use the Falkland Islands, the U.S. applies a different standard to them. [“The United States Should Recognize British Sovereignty Over the Falkland Islands,” by Luke Coffey, Theodore R. Bromund, and Nile Gardiner, March 4]