The Center of Gravity During the Falkland Conflict Essay

1946 Words 8 Pages
Much confusion has arisen from misinterpretation of Clausewitz’s discussions on Schwerpunkt or “center of gravity”. Many students of military theory interpret Clausewitz’s ideas through their own historical perspectives. For example, military officers tend to confuse military objectives for centers of gravity, assuming physical objects such as ships or cities are the source of a countries power. While these objects may provide tactical advantages, true power arises from the critical strengths possessed by a country, be they political, diplomatic, military, or informational. The Argentinean military junta made similar mistakes during their invasion of the Falklands. Without fully understanding the source of British power in the region …show more content…
To distract the population, Galtieri sought to turn military and informational (psychological) strength into political capital. By capturing the Falkland Islands, Galtieri hoped spark a nationalistic fervor, thereby avoiding general strikes and a possible governmental overthrow. He had good reason to think that he would succeed.
Critical strengths are capabilities considered essential for accomplishing an objective. Argentina had several critical strengths that would serve her advantage (Vego, 2007). First off, Argentina had a moral and legal claim to the Falkland Islands (Laver, 2001, pp. 66-71). Three hundred miles off the coast of Argentina and 8000 miles from England, the Islands had been successively occupied by various colonial powers since they were first settled in 1764. The island had been under British sovereignty since the Argentinean governor was evicted in 1833. In 1960 the UN passed a declaration stating all former colonies should be allowed independence and self-determination. However, the inhabitants of the Falklands did not desire independence. With a mostly British ancestry, the citizens were content on maintaining colonial status. In 1965, the UN invited Argentina and Great Britain to resolve the issue politically (Laver, 2001, p. 100). Despite several aborted attempts to resolve the issue in the international courts, no…