Are Argentina and Britain headed toward a second Falklands War?

Populist Argentine President Cristina Fernandez is demanding that Britain return the Falkland Islands, the scene of an unfortunate 1980s standoff

Steel helmets mark a makeshift grave for Argentines killed in the Falklands War.
(Image credit: AP Photo/John Leonard)

In 1982, Argentine military ruler Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri sent a naval force to reclaim the Falkland Islands — called the Malvinas in Argentina — from Great Britain, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher retaliated, sending the Royal Navy and other arms of the British military to recapture the sparsely populated islands. It was a real fight, and 907 people died — 649 Argentinians, 255 British fighters, and three Falklanders — over 74 tense days. Thirty-one years later, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is demanding that British Prime Minister David Cameron peacefully hand back the Falklands, and Cameron has made it clear that he won't.

Fernandez made her claim in dramatic fashion, paying to publish an open letter to Cameron in several British newspapers on Jan. 3 — 180 years to the day, she said pointedly, that "in a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism, Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000km (8,700 miles) away from London." Fernandez continued:

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