Drawing upon Jutta Weldes’ Constructing National Interests and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, this thesis solves the puzzle of why Britain fought the Falklands war. It situates the loss of the Falkland Islands colony in the historical context of the Suez war. It subsequently draws out the interconnections between the aftermath of Suez and a discourse of the decline of Britain. The contrasting meanings of British interests in the years before and following Suez illustrate that meanings attached to national interests were made and remade rather than innate.
After Britain lost the Falklands, British interests that had previously been constituted by the discourse of decline ceased to have any meaningful existence. Britain’s official representation of the Falklands crisis was a complete reversal of policy that traces back to the aftermath of Suez.
This thesis argues that after Britain lost the Falklands, Britain’s official representation of the Falklands crisis was structured into a chain of hypothetical propositions. Britain’s official story of the Falklands crisis began with a false premise that the Falkland Islands were a ‘British sovereign territory.’ The validity of the conclusion that Britain must repossess the Falklands flowed not from empirical evidence but from the power held by British officials to define the first premise. As shown within this thesis, it can also examine the logical truths of national interests that arrive at a particular conclusion through pure deduction.
I. A New Chapter on Insights from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
This thesis draws upon Jutta Weldes’ Constructing National Interests and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and Notebooks 1914-1916 in an attempt to conceptualise national interests through an analysis of the Falklands conflict. The usefulness of drawing upon his early philosophy is demonstrated in the analysis of the Suez war and the Falklands crisis. The applied perspective appears rather implicitly, however. I shall add a new chapter, coming after a general introduction of this thesis and before ‘Concepts and Methods’ chapter to justify why critical constructivists should look back to the Tractatus and Notebooks. This new chapter will directly engage with Wittgenstein’s writing and address why insights from the Tractatus and Notebooks merit serious consideration.
II. Redraft Concepts and Methods Chapter
With a new chapter on why the Tractatus, this thesis can better explicate a striking parallel between the deduction of one proposition from another and the construction of national interests in the midst of the Falklands crisis.
References to other authors (from Roland Barthes, Ernest Hemingway, Walter Ong to Paul Ricoeur), whose insights do not bear much on the central theme of this thesis, should be dropped altogether.
My discussions concerning ‘the functioning of national interests as a rhetorical device’ will be dropped.
III. Redraft Case Study: the Falkland’s Crisis
This thesis was completed in January 2012 before the eventual release of UK and US official records. The case study chapter will be redrafted to incorporate into my analysis: (1) US diplomatic cables on the Falklands war declassified in April 2012 and (2) British Cabinet Papers on the Falklands crisis declassified in December 2012.
My reference to the term of ‘nodal point’ will be removed.