It is 25 years today that the military dictator of Argentina ordered the invasion of the Falkland Islands, a self-governing Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. The Falkland Islanders wanted to remain British citizens. At the same time, Argentines were engaging in large-scale civil unrest against the repressive military junta. As the junta hoped, the invasion distracted them.
Britain was taken by surprise by the attack, but launched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force, and retake the islands by amphibious assault if necessary. During the time British ships streamed across the Atlantic, the Argentine government refused to withdraw, as requested by the UN. It refused to respect the Islanders right to self-determination. After combat resulting in 258 British and 649 Argentine deaths, the British prevailed. Happily, the Argentine defeat inspired even greater popular protests against the military junta, which accelerated its downfall.
Later, when US President Ronald Reagan addressed Parliament, he said about the Falklands, the British fight "for the belief that armed aggression must not be allowed to succeed, and the people must participate in the decisions of government."
Today, with British sailors and marines held hostage, the question we face once again is how to prevent armed aggression from succeeding.