Tuesday, May 6

Why is Argentina boosting Air Force Spending?

Argentina is in a spot of economic trouble, well, for many years now. This week's Economist had this to say.

Argentina is worse off on all three counts....provoked a tax revolt by farmers...lost its most important new face when Martín Lousteau resigned as economy minister over a policy disagreement.... The price of Argentina's bonds has plunged as investors show little confidence in the government......According to unofficial calculations, inflation has reached 25% (officially, it is 9%).....But overheating and inflation are already bringing Argentines some of these woes.... The statistics agency has stopped releasing poverty figures. Using an independent estimate of inflation, the poverty rate has risen from 27% in 2006 to 30%, with 1.3m Argentines descending into poverty last year....

Pretty much standard for a Latin American country, and I did not worry about it that much. But this raised serious worries for me when I got to read about the fact that more budget and aircraft were promised for the Argentine Air Force (hat tip: DefenceTalk).

You know that the United Kingdom is not going to be unable to mount another Falkland's campaign, not with most of our troops tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bosnia and other places. See here for a great graphic. Those 1300 soldiers in Falklands will not be able to stop the Argentines if they attack. At the most, they are supposed to provide a speed bump till reinforcements arrive. How will they arrive? Our main heavy lift aircraft, Hercules, is up on the blocks because it has cracks. Our naval aviator Harrier pilots are no longer fully trained or up to date on carrier landings. Our political system is currently undergoing massive upheaval and the economy is whimpering. If the Argentines wanted to pick a time to attack the Falklands, then they couldn't have picked a better one.

Am I crying wolf? I might be biased because my supervising professor is the official historian of the previous campaign and wrote about it in 2 vols, here and here. But remember what happened the first time around? They went to war because the country had economic difficulties and the military government tried to divert attention by launching into a war. That nebulous link with neighbours as mentioned in the Uruguayan newspaper is worrying, is that a reference to Venezuela? If not that, why or which other neighbour will have Air Force links with Argentina?

Dont know, but not getting a good feeling about this.

In the meantime, here's a good video of that war.
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