However, most Latin American governments sympathized with Argentina.
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A notable exception was Chile , which maintained a state of alert against its neighbour because of a dispute over islands in the Beagle Channel. The perceived threat from Chile prompted Argentina to keep most of its elite troops on the mainland, distant from the Falklands theatre. In addition, Argentine military planners had trusted that the United States would remain neutral in the conflict, but, following unsuccessful mediation attempts, the United States offered full support to Great Britain, allowing its NATO ally to use its air-to-air missiles, communications equipment, aviation fuel, and other military stockpiles on British-held Ascension Island , as well as cooperating with military intelligence.
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Falklands war: what lessons for the labour movement?
In between American President Jimmy Carter had helped negotiate the flawed Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel which, though ending hostilities between Jerusalem and Cairo, made no serious attempt to address the plight of the Palestinians, an omission that continues to haunt us to this day. When, in April , terrorists seized control of the Iranian embassy in London and took the occupants hostage, Margaret Thatcher had no hesitation in ordering the SAS into action. The protest was aimed at putting pressure on the British government to give political status to IRA activists who had been jailed for terrorist offences.
Margaret Thatcher came under enormous international pressure to make concessions to the IRA, but she remained true to her philosophy of not giving in to the demands of people she regarded as terrorists, and the IRA was eventually forced to call off the hunger strikes by the distraught families of the hunger strikers.
But not before ten IRA prisoners had starved themselves to death.
But while many of her supporters regard the Falklands as her finest hour, it was her long-running ideological battle, and ultimate triumph, with the Soviet Union that will define her premiership as one of the greatest of the modern age, on a par with that of Winston Churchill. According to Charles Powell, who worked as her foreign policy guru in Downing Street throughout most of the s, they shared the same view that the detente espoused by Henry Kissinger during the s had not succeeded in reducing the threat posed by the Soviet Union and hardline communist ideology.
We can do business together. And the central role Margaret Thatcher played in achieving a famous victory ensured that Britain could call itself great once more.
A Damn Close-Run Thing: A Brief History of the Falklands War
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