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Episode 110. Wargaming: Argentina Reinvades the Falklands

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Argentina's incoming president, Milei, was queried about reclaiming the Falkland Islands for Argentina, following the path of his predecessors by vowing to seek their reclamation. These claims, coupled with intense media scrutiny, have fueled increasing speculation about a potential second invasion of the Falkland Islands. But are these speculations well-founded, or merely ongoing rhetoric? Will these threats intensify into a more significant conflict between Argentina and the UK, and if so, how might such a conflict unfold? We present these questions to our panel of experts:



LISTEN TO THE PROGRAM HERE



 

EPISODE SUMMARY:


PART I: A Crumbling Cadaver: - (03:00)

with Tim Fish

- Renowned Defence Analyst Specialising in Latin America

- Fmr Editor of Shepherd Land Systems

- Fmr Naval Reporter for Janes Information Services


  1. Falklands War Aftermath and Argentine Military Decline: The Falklands War was a significant setback for Argentina, leading to a considerable decline in the capabilities and funding of its armed forces. This had long-lasting effects on both the Argentine Navy and Air Force.

  2. Economic Constraints Impacting Military Spending: Argentina's challenging economic situation has resulted in reduced military spending, with defense budgets consistently low since 2003. This has led to outdated and decrepit military equipment and a lack of modernization.

  3. Shift in Military Priorities and Management: Post-war, Argentina shifted its military focus towards internal security rather than external threats. A large portion of the military budget is allocated to wages, leaving little for equipment procurement and modernization.

  4. Regional Military Comparisons: Argentina's military capabilities have fallen behind other South American countries like Chile and Brazil, who have updated and modernized their forces more effectively.

  5. Future Military Aspirations and Challenges: Despite aspirations to rebuild its military forces, Argentina faces significant challenges, including economic constraints and international sanctions. The ongoing desire for sovereignty over the Falkland Islands conflicts with the reality of a weakened military and strong British defenses on the islands.



PART II: From Stability to Stanley: - (22:32)

with Wilder Alejandro Sanchez

- President of Second Door Strategies

- Member of the Center for Internaltional Maritime Security

- Specialist in Latin American and Central Asian Procurements and Strategic Policy




  1. Historical Repercussions of the Falklands War: The Falklands War significantly impacted the Argentine military, leading to loss of life, military equipment, and the eventual end of the ruling military junta. This war fundamentally altered the role and perception of the military in Argentine society and politics.

  2. Current Argentine Military Stance and Strategy: In the contemporary context, Argentina's military focuses on internal security and border patrol rather than conventional warfare. This approach includes combating drug trafficking and smuggling, reflecting a shift from traditional military roles.

  3. Comparative Military Strength in South America: Argentina's military is relatively weaker than some of its neighbors, like Chile and Brazil, but stronger than others like Bolivia and Paraguay. This balance impacts regional dynamics and Argentina's foreign policy, especially in relation to territorial disputes.

  4. Economic Constraints and Military Modernization: Argentina's current economic challenges, marked by high inflation, limit the capacity for significant military spending and modernization. This economic situation constrains Argentina's ability to address existing military weaknesses or embark on new military ventures.

  5. Falklands/Malvinas in Argentine Identity and Future Prospects: The Falklands/Malvinas remain a crucial aspect of Argentine national identity, making it politically unfeasible for any leader to renounce claims to the islands. However, practical considerations, including military capability and economic challenges, make a renewed conflict over the islands unlikely.


PART III: From Stanley to Scarcity: - (33:15)

with Kevin Fleming

- Visiting Snr Research Fellow at the Corbett Centre

- UK Defence Attache to Brazil

- Director of the Royal Navy's Division in the UK Defence Academy


  1. Diplomatic-Military Coordination: The Falklands War highlighted the importance of cohesive government signaling and decision-making. In 1982, there was a disconnect between the UK's diplomatic messaging about the Falklands and its military readiness, which Argentina misinterpreted. This underscores the need for defense officials to align military capabilities and diplomatic communications.

  2. Maritime Logistics and Agile Capabilities: Modern military operations, particularly in remote areas like the Falklands, depend heavily on agile and scalable maritime logistics. The UK's ability to resupply and reinforce the Falklands has improved significantly since 1982, making a successful invasion by Argentina less likely.

  3. Political Commitment to the Falklands: The UK's commitment to the Falklands is rooted in the democratic choice of the islanders to remain British. This political will is a critical factor in maintaining a military presence in the region, despite the high costs.

  4. Economic and Capability Constraints for Argentina: Argentina currently lacks the economic stability and military capability to mount a successful invasion of the Falklands. The nation's focus is on internal issues and political changes, reducing the likelihood of external military adventures.

  5. Long-term UK Involvement in the South Atlantic: Despite budgetary constraints, the UK is likely to maintain a significant role in the South Atlantic. This presence is part of a broader strategy to contribute to global stability and is not limited to the defense of the Falklands but extends to potential involvement in other regional issues.



Wargaming: Argentina Reinvades the Falklands

(Released 11th December 2023)


 

THE RED LINE'S EPISODE 110 READING LIST:

I: The Battle for the Falklands

- By Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins


II: The Falklands War: A Case Study in Expeditionary Warfare

- By Kenneth L. Privratsky


III: The Argentina Economy

- By Aldo Farah


 

For episode transcripts, monthly geopolitics Q&A’s, member-only videos and to support the show, check out our Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/theredlinepodcast


 

This episode is dedicated to our Patreon members: Megan Szydlowski, Todd Cottle, Hansen, Ben Hobbs and Laura Kean-Morris


 



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