Nile Gardiner, the Falkland Islands and Barack Obama

Nile Gardiner: obsessive and paranoid. He could give Dr Strangelove’s General Jack D Ripper a run for his money.

There are two words that I’d use to describe Moonie Nile Gardiner. One is paranoid, the other is obsessive. He can only write blogs about two things: The Falkland Islands and Barack Obama. Sometimes…well, most of the time, he combines his two obsessions into a single blog.

Until Mitt Romney’s defeat last November, Gardiner was one of Mitt’s mutts. His brief was to brief Romney on foreign affairs. He did a pretty poor job of it too. Now he’s back to his day job as the Director of The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom (sic), a subdivision of the extreme right-wing Heritage Foundation.

In the last month, I’ve lost count of the number of Gardiner’s blogs that mention or feature Obama and The Falklands. It’s clear that he desperately wants some kind of confrontation between Britain and Argentina. He’s nostalgic for the glory days of 1982 and he doesn’t really mind if people get killed just as long as the Falklanders maintain their dubious ‘sovereignty’.

Take yesterday’ blog titled, “British Ambassador to Washington calls on Obama to back rights of Falkland Islanders”, in which he conscripts the ambassador to fight his corner. He writes,

Sir Peter Westmacott, the veteran British Ambassador to Washington, has an excellent piece in Politico today in advance of the Falklands referendum which is taking place on March 10 and 11. Aimed squarely at US policymakers, the article outlines why Argentina’s claims over the Falklands are unfounded, and why the future of the Falkland Islands must be decided by the inhabitants of the Islands themselves. It is a clear-cut case of self-determination. As Sir Peter writes, invoking the spirit of the American Declaration of Independence:

My bold. He’s got this all wrong. How on earth can he compare the Falklands – a British colony  Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic – to the 12 states that rejected British rule in 1776? His understanding of history is faulty. Here’s what the ambassador wrote,

The Argentine government claims sovereignty over the islands based on events that took place more than 180 years ago when the archipelago was little more than an isolated outpost with almost no permanent population. But according to the most fundamental principles of international law, accepted by all nations for the past 60 years, it is for the inhabitants of a territory alone to determine how they are governed — the fundamental principle of self-determination, which received its most eloquent expression in Philadelphia in 1776.

… Kirchner and her government seek to portray the Falklands’ status as an example of British colonialism. But what could be more colonialist than seeking control of a territory — over which you have never exercised sovereignty and which your country accepted was British more than 160 years ago — against the wishes of the people who lived there?

Britain, as it has done so many times, stole the islands from under the noses of the nascent Argentina.  The islands were formally colonized by Britain in 1840. But the word “colonialism”, which has been used by Cristina Kirchner, is contested by Gardiner and his buddy, Westmacott.  But the facts speak for themselves: the Falklands are one of the last vestiges of British colonialism along with the troublesome Pitcairn Islands and tax havens like the Cayman Islands. The title “British Overseas Territories” is highly misleading because these territories are colonies in all but name; their inhabitants are considered British citizens but have no political representation in the ‘mother’ country as is the case with French overseas territories or DOM-TOM. Most of these overseas territories have strategic value or are located adjacent to some natural resource or other. Hence the reason why they remain British.

But what about this referendum? Isn’t it a foregone conclusion that the Falklanders will vote to remain, er, ‘British’? So what’s the point of it? It’s simple: Britain or, at least, the Tories and perhaps UKIP, want to rattle sabres with Argentina. Both parties are nostalgic for the long-dead British Empire and both parties gush over the memory of Thatcher’s triumph over the beastly Argies.

In the previous blog, the Moonie writes,

As readers of this blog will know, the Obama administration has a long track record of knifing Britain in the back over the Falklands issue. It has consistently sided with Cristina Kirchner’s calls for negotiations between London and Buenos Aires over the sovereignty of the Falklands, and will not recognise the right to self-determination of the Falkland Islanders. The Obama White House and State Department have refused to condemn the Kirchner regime’s campaign of intimidation against the Falklands, a self-governing British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic, including the boarding of fishing vessels bearing the Falklands flag, and threats to mount a naval blockade.

“The Obama administration has a long track record of knifing Britain in the back over the Falklands issue”? The Obama administration has only been in place a little over 4 years. But here’s a question: how has Kirchner “intimidated” the Falklanders? He does not say. Knowing Gardiner, as I do, I would suggest that he’s come over all dramatic like a pantomime dame. I urge you to look at the blog title. It’s typically hysterical.

He provides a video produced by The Heritage Foundation… well, there’s a surprise.

The narrative advanced by this video ignores the fact that sovereignty over the islands has always been disputed. The reason why Britain colonized the Falklands was because of sealing and whaling. Both animals provided oil for lighting, heating and domestic products. Now oil of a different kind has been found offshore.

The Eastleigh by-election, in which the Tories came fourth behind UKIP, is shamelessly used by Gardiner to have another feeble pop at Obama.  He only mentions Obama once in this blog and it’s in the final paragraph. He tells us,

David Cameron needs to look to the Iron Lady, and not Barack Obama, for inspiration if he is to have any hope of winning in 2015. A conservative party can only win if it sticks to conservative values. Otherwise it becomes an empty shell that succeeds only in alienating its own base and destroying its very identity.

Ridiculous. Nurse! This one keeps thrashing about!

The day before Eastleigh, the ever-paranoid and shrill Gardiner tells us that Obama’s presidency is “A nasty, brutish, imperial presidency”. So why is that, Nile?

Thomas Hobbes wrote that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Today’s White House definitely isn’t poor, lavishly feeding off the wealth of the American taxpayer, and the current presidency certainly isn’t short, with nearly four more years to run. But it is undeniably nasty and brutish, as veteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward has found after questioning President Obama’s narrative on the sequester issue.

A quote from Hobbes? Great. Just what we needed. There’s more,

Woodward, one of two reporters who broke the Watergate story that led to Richard Nixon’s downfall (immortalised in the 1976 Oscar winner All The President’s Men), has revealed to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the White House warned him that he would “regret” his recent remarks on the sequester, made in Washington Post column. (Read the exchange of emails between White House economic adviser Gene Sperling and Woodward posted by Politico here.) Woodward is hardly a conservative, and has been at the heart of the liberal media establishment for decades. He is, however, not afraid of challenging the status quo, as he did with his 2010 book Obama’s Wars. Woodward is not alone. Lanny Davis, another liberal columnist and former special counsel to Bill Clinton, who has penned several pieces critical of Obama’s policies, has also spoken out against similar White House tactics.

So Bush’s presidency, in which the PATRIOT Act was enacted, doesn’t count?

We get to the point of the blog towards the end,

Will American liberals now stand up to the Obama White House and condemn its blatant attempts to suppress criticism and free speech? I doubt it. The Washington Post has provided relatively little coverage of the story, despite the fact that one its own star writers has been targeted.The New York Times is, unsurprisingly, completely silent (with the exception of a small mention in a single blog) on the issue. Ironically, most of the reporting of the White House’s attempts to intimidate liberal critics has come from the conservative press, led by the Drudge Report, which has propelled the story to national prominence. Both conservatives and liberals should be rallying to the defence of free speech and freedom of the press, holding the Obama presidency to account. All Americans should be concerned by government attempts to stifle press criticism in the land of the free, tactics which undermine the very foundations of liberty.

The first sentence of this paragraph reminds me of Louise Mensch’s outburst on Twitter when she demanded that the Labour Party condemn those who wished Thatcher dead. It’s a right-wing trick designed to claim moral authority over their opponents.

I would continue with Gardiner’s obsessions but I’d be here for months. Why not have a look at this page on Telegraph blogs? You’ll notice that the Moonie has little else to write about. He even manages a rather bitchy attack on Michelle Obama.

Now I’m not a fan of Obama but I find Gardiner’s fascination with him bizarre to the point of being pathological. He’s a cheerleader for war, death and destruction. His idea of freedom, like that of The Freedom Association, is Orwellian.

Mitt Romney lost the presidential election. Gardiner is still bitter that his man choked it. Now he spends his days churning out blog after blog about Obama. He also has the Falklands to use as a stick to smash his favourite target over the head. Obama will be in the White House for four years, but I suspect Gardiner will still write blogs about him long after he is gone.

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Filed under Ideologies, Journalism, Media, propaganda, Tory press

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