WIND the planet’s clock back far enough and almost every country has had different boundaries and territories from their current ones.
Empires have come and gone amid fluctuating political fortunes, ambitious leaders have over-extended themselves while the subjugated fight for independence.
The desire to colonise other parts of the world has been significantly blunted by the UN since the end of the Second World War, at least in comparison with previous generations; and so in that respect we live in a more geographically settled globe.
It wouldn’t be hard for most nations to start picking fights over land if they reach back far enough into the past. Perhaps the British could ask for Calais back for instance.
But most sensible countries have decided to draw a line in history rather than pointlessly and endlessly rekindle old animosities.
Exceptions remain, of course, the most notable at the moment being Argentina who in the last couple of years have been like a dog with a bone over “reclaiming” the Falklands.
Its claim to the South Atlantic territory has some support in South America and, unhelpfully, President Obama hasn’t been as dismissive of it as his Whitehouse predecessors.
But there is no way on earth that these isles should become part of Argentina unless the inhabitants wish it so.
Natives of the Argentine have been spun a pack of lies by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who has effectively rewritten the islands’ history in support of her case which helps to distract the electorate from her country’s parlous economic state.
She wrote an open letter to David Cameron last week claiming that Britain “stripped” Argentina of the Malvinas 180 years ago, expelling its native inhabitants.
But this is a load of tosh. British sovereignty over the Falklands dates back to 1765 – before the South American republic even existed – and the events of 1834 involved a previous Argentinian attempt to claim the land by setting up a garrison there. No civilians were expelled.
OK the islands are closer to them than us. But mere proximity is no justification for a hand-over.
It doesn’t take a Mensa brain to work out that the recent discovery of oil, combined with on-going wounded pride and domestic problems have brought this to the surface.
Kirchner’s claim that Britain is acting like an old colonial power in breach of UN directives is way wide of the mark, as explained above.
We have far greater claim to the territory than Argentina which, in its demand for land, makes it the would-be empire-builder.
Meanwhile, the Argentinians seem set on ignoring a far more relevant UN directive about self-determination. The Falkland Islanders will be holding a referendum on sovereignty later this year: the outcome is as foregone a conclusion as the South American reaction to it.
If Ms Kirchner wants the historical clock rewound, no matter how deluded her view of the past, perhaps the native Argentinians should start repatriating millions of their fellow citizens who are European origin. Kirchner, I believe, is a German name.