The Lexington Incident Part 1
Of all the periods in American history, the years 1825 to 1840 are least studied by diplomatic historians. The reason for this lack of attention is usually ascribed to an absence of important diplomatic events. As Thomas A. Bailey wrote, "The chronicle of American foreign affairs from 1825 to 1840 is not thickly studded with striking developments. During no other period of similar length prior to 1872 does the student of diplomacy find so little significance to record." This position, however, is in need of revision. There was, in fact, at least one significant development during this period which merits the attention of diplomatic historians.And so begins our little tale of how the whole Malvinas imbroglio comes to today, 176 years later... and 25 years after the war between the last Argentine dictatorship and Margaret Thatcher's 1980's Britain.
Between 1831 and 1833, the United States became involved with Argentina in a dispute over events which occured at the Falkland Islands. The ensuing crisis was considered so important at the time that it was the subject of two state of the union addresses by President Andrew Jackson. Moreover, the incident brought the United States to the brink of war with Argentina and resulted in a prolonged cessation of diplomatic relations between the two nations
In the interest of full-disclosure, I firmly believe that the Malvinas belong to Argentina and before them Spain. Not only that, this writer can point to more than 3 treaties signed by the United Kingdom acknowleging that the islands belong to Argentina.
What fascinates me, however, is the relatively untold involvement of the United States in this fiasco; something that is not taught to school children in the US, Argentina, nor the UK.
It was not a small matter.
In fact, had it not been for the actions of a one-armed, war-hero, US Navy Captain; an incompetent US Consul in Buenos Aires; and a meddling UK, still smarting from the loss of its New World holdings...the tiny, desolate, wind-swept, gloomy islands might still be under the Argentine flag and there would be no commemorations of an undeclared war described by Jorge Luis Borges "as two bald men fighting over a comb."