Thursday, March 31, 2016

The UN and the Falklands: Much Ado about Nothing

A UN commission produced a ruling this week in response to Argentina's claim to extend their territorial waters in the Atlantic from 200 nautical miles to 350 nautical miles.

On Tuesday Argentina said that the Commission had granted this request and therefore had accepted their claim to own the waters around the Falkland Islands.

The first part of this claim appears to be partly true, the second part to be completely incorrect.

The UN commission had previously ruled that it only had jurisdiction to consider claims to extend Argentine territorial waters in areas which were not in dispute. It therefore adjudicated on Argentina's claim to extend it's territorial waters in the blue area indicated by a black arrow in the upper, centre part of the map below.

 
So if the UN panel's ruling had been legally binding, which the UK government says it isn't, it would still not affect the Falklands since the 200 mile zone around the Islands are disputed waters - Argentina claims them but the UK and Falkland Islands dispute that claim.

Also this week Microsoft  set up and in short order had to deactivate "Tay," an automated twitterbot which comprehensively failed the Turing Test, as long as you define the Turing Test as meaning that it had to produce messages which could be mistaken for those which might have come from an intelligent human being, and would not be satisfied with messages which could be mistake for those which might have come from a Donald Trump supporter.

According to the Guardian, "Anyone can now build their own version of Microsoft's racist, sexist chatbot Tay," heaven help us.

Well, to judge by the comments in my Twitter feed from various Argentine sources, I'm tempted to suspect that someone in that country may have done so, as a badly-programmed robot could have produced many of the tweets I have received arguing the Argentine case.

A couple of years ago the people of the Falkland Islands voted 1513 to 3 to stay British. Despite repeated unsuccessful Argentinian attempts to persuade the UN not to recognise the principle of self-determination in this case, that makes the islands British in the eyes of any true democrat.

This is not going to change in the lifetime of anyone who remembers the Falklands War.

And any Argentinian who imagines that a future Jeremy Corbyn government might take a different view would be well advised not to hold their breath while waiting. The fact that Jeremy Corbyn might ignore the wishes of the Falkland Islanders is one of the many reasons why I hope and believe that the British people will never elect him as Prime Minister.

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