Express Attempting to Stir up Trouble in the South Atlantic?

Yesterday (October 9th), I noticed that Express.co.uk had a story about a “plan B” for defending the Falkland Islands. According to “impeccable sources”, plans have been put in place to use South Africa as a refuelling and rearming stage, should the Falklands fall to Argentinina again and have to be retaken. This plan was apparently put into place because Britain currently has no aircraft carriers, which would be a significant handicap should it become necessary to retake the islands by force.

My first thought on reading the article was that it says South Africa is “about 3,800 miles from the Falkland Islands”, in other words, roughly the same distance as Ascension Island, which was used as a forward operating base in 1982. I couldn’t see any immediate advantage to organising a “plan B” revolving around South Africa, when there are facilities on Ascension Island.

It seems that I’m not the only one to have doubts about the Express story. An editorial by J. Brock at Falkland Islands News Network suggests that the story is an “un-researched and ridiculous attempt to stir the pot yet again in the South Atlantic.” The author goes on to point out mistakes in the Express article, and that Argentina and South Africa signed an agreement on military co-operation less than a year ago. It seems unlikely, then, that South Africa would agree to provide Britain with military facilities for use against Argentina. If they did, Argentina would surely have ample grounds for complaint.

All in all, the Express article seems to be, in J. Brock’s words, an attempt to play “Lets You and Him Fight”. I’ve never understood why some journalists seem so keen to send other people to war.