The Falklands War and its Triple Impact: systemic, regional and local

Davide Borsani*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


The 1982 Anglo-Argentine war over the Falkland Islands, in which the United States “superpower” ultimately sided with the British vital ally against the Argentine important ally, had repercussions at systemic, regional and local levels. In the aftermath, the victorious Great Britain led by Margaret Thatcher was diplomatically strengthened. The victory rose the country’s morale, reversed its declining international posture and allowed the British to play a relevant role in the Cold War bipolar dynamics in the second half of the 1980s, including a leading position within NATO. Such leadership was welcomed in the US administration, where the Prime Minister increased her influence on issues concerning the Euro-Atlantic area. The Soviet Union appeared to be surprised by the British assertiveness shown during the war. This perception further complicated the Soviet precarious international situation. The Falklands victory, indeed, vigorously impacted upon the overall Western strategic posture. The lesson learned was that NATO had capabilities and will to fight when necessary. In Washington, Thatcher’s influence on systemic issues relating to the Euro-Atlantic context was not extended to other theaters, such as Latin America. The 1983 US invasion of the former British colony of Grenada, still a member of the Commonwealth Realm headed by the British Crown, was emblematic. The US support given to Britain in the 1982 South Atlantic war and the unilateralism shown in the Caribbean one year later imperiled the hemispheric pillar of US foreign policy and, therefore, weakened US hegemony over the Americas. The resulting anti-Yankee wave propagated across Latin America compromised almost definitely the inter-American multilateral system. Because of the military defeat in the Falklands war, Argentina concluded the era of military dictatorships and returned to democracy. This new manifestation of the ‘third wave of democratization’ gave further legitimacy to the idea of moral superiority of democracy over other forms of repressive governments and, consequently, of the Western system over Communism. Today the sovereignty over the Falklands remains an open issue. The rivalry between Argentina and Britain has been recently rekindled by diplomatic attacks of neo-colonialism on both sides. The 1982 war and its memory crystallized the two positions. Argentina asked for new diplomatic talks, but Britain has been refusing any dialogue for more than 34 years, upgrading on the contrary her military posture at the Islands. Also for this reason, a definitive agreement equally satisfactory for the two counterparts does not appear to be on the horizon.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteActa 2016, Local Wars - Global Impacts. 42nd International Congress of Military History,4 – 9 September 2016
Numero di pagine7
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018
Evento42nd International Congress of Military History,4 – 9 September 2016 - Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Durata: 4 set 20169 set 2016


Convegno42nd International Congress of Military History,4 – 9 September 2016
CittàPlovdiv, Bulgaria


  • Falklands War
  • International System


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