Foreign Secretary William Hague has clearly forgotten the first rule in politics - when you're in a hole, stop digging.
Having united the whole of Latin America in opposition to his declamatory rhetoric over the Falkland Islands, he has wasted no time in attacking Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez for tabling a draft Bill to take over the YPF oil and gas company in which Spanish transnational corporation Repsol has a major share.
What business is it of Hague what the Argentinian government proposes to do in its own country with its own resources?
Yes, its own resources. Hague, the Spanish government, the European Union and their echoes within the imperialist media make great play of Repsol's ownership of 57.43 per cent of YPF, but the oil and gas exploited by the company constitute Argentina's natural wealth.
President Fernandez has explained to the Argentinian people precisely why she is acting in this way.
She is unhappy that, 17 years after YPF was privatised, her country has become, "for the first time, a net importer of oil and gas with a total deficit of over $3 billion."
They agree with her, which is why unidentified right-wing politicians in Buenos Aires are happy to tell US TV networks that the president's plan is "madness" but can't speak out publicly because they fear a "voter backlash."
Far better that these anonymous quislings and their role models in Europe and the US question why ordinary Argentinians, like their counterparts in Venezuela, Bolivia and elsewhere, rejoice when they hear national leaders Fernandez, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales reassert popular sovereignty over national assets.
Hague hinted at a clue when he expressed concern at "the latest in a series of trade and investment related actions taken by Argentina which are damaging to business interests and will undermine Argentina's economy by reducing its attractiveness to international investors."
Tory Party house magazine the Daily Telegraph ran an article by business editor Alistair Osborne suggesting that Fernandez risked "triggering the type of international incident that will condemn Argentina to pariah status, in the minds of investors, for years to come."
US global electronic media chain CNBC asked fearfully whether Argentina was becoming the new Venezuela, recalling that "many international investors had their fingers burnt by the 2001 Argentinian default when the country defaulted on $120bn of sovereign debt, with a recovery value of just 35 cents in the dollar."
A pattern is clearly discernible in these utterances, illustrating that the interests of "investors," aka financial speculators, are in conflict with people and governments whose assets attract the attention, doubtless for the most altruistic of reasons, of the aforesaid investors.
In such a conflict we can have total certainty over which side of the argument Britain's City-financed political elite will tend to favour.
Britain's labour movement should be no less determined to back the right of fellow workers overseas to demand that their governments take back the assets bought by foreign companies that, in their opinion, have failed to deliver for their people.
Venezuela was lectured by big business and the international financial agencies when it began to limit its dependence on the whims of capitalist "investors" and prioritised its own development. It has survived and thrived.
Argentina will be no different, having recognised that following the diktats of the economic rulers of the world holds no joy for working people and the poor.
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