President Barack Obama may have upset many Brits when he entered the White House by unceremoniously kicking Winston Churchill's bust out of the Oval Office, but a real test of how he views the "special relationship" may come in the near future. That test is whether he'd support Britain in a war against Argentina over the Falkland Islands.
The last time the two countries went to war over the British-controlled islands (located some 460 kilometers off the coast of Argentina) was in 1982. After Argentina (ruled by a military junta) invaded – emboldened by proposed U.K. military defense cuts – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher responded with decisive military force and beat them back. The islanders (who had been ruled by Britain since 1833 and wanted to remain that way) cheered the return of British troops.
According to a group of former top British admirals, war is once again likely. This is because of the U.K. government's decision – as part of an austerity budget – to scrap the country's only aircraft carrier along with its entire fleet of 80 Harrier jets (along with other defense cuts). In a letter to the editor of The Times of London, the admirals described the decision as "strategically and financially perverse," and wrote that "Argentina is practically invited to attempt to inflict on us a national humiliation … one from which British prestige, let alone the administration in power at the time, might never recover."
One of the participants in the 1982 war was Britain's Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. He served as a Sea King helicopter pilot on the ship Invincible and actually came under Argentinean fire – the first Royal to come under fire in more than 200 years. His nephew, the newly engaged Prince William (to Kate Middleton) is in the Royal Air Force (RAF) ...