The following article was first published in Proletarian Revolution No. 21 (Spring 1984).

The Malvinas War Revisited

The British Economist magazine has revealed in its March 3 edition that the United States played an indispensable role in aiding Britain’s military victory over Argentina in the 1982 war for the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands in the South Atlantic. The Pentagon specially outfitted its Ascension Island airforce base for British use and diverted vast quantities of war materiel with astounding rapidity. This included 200 Sidewinder missiles, “the most decisive weapon of the campaign.” It promised to immediately replace an aircraft carrier if the British lost one. The U.S. also gave the British details of Argentine radar frequencies so that installations could be hit by radar-seeking missiles, told them how to defuse unexploded U.S.-made bombs landing aboard ships, and repositioned a military satellite to supply Britain with 98% of its military intelligence on Argentine movements during the war.

All this from a country that was pretending for a time to be an “honest broker” during U.N. negotiations and Secretary of State Haig’s “peace mission.” And there was a tight censorship of journalistic coverage, “to prevent the world (and the state department?) knowing the scale of American help.”

The reason was the Pentagon’s “doubts over Britain’s capacity to win a conclusive victory, and concern at the effect this would have on NATO.” This confirms what we wrote at the time: “Any threat to the delicate fabric of world stability had to to be squashed ... the united front of imperialism was the decisive issue in the war” (Malvinas War Tests Leftists in Socialist Voice No. 17). Since a British victory meant a victory for imperialism as a whole, we concluded that Marxists had no choice but to stand for Britain’s defeat.

The new revelations are the final proof that there was a clear-cut imperialist side in the Malvinas War. Those leftist organizations, such as several in Britain described in our article and the International Spartacist Tendency, that refused to campaign for Britain’s military defeat by Argentina shamefully betrayed an elementary socialist obligation.