When the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands, a small British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic, go to the polls this weekend to determine their future relationship with the United Kingdom, their voices will fall on deaf ears in Washington, D.C.

Instead of backing British sovereignty over the Falklands and the right of the islanders to determine their own future, the United States has sided with Argentina by supporting its repeated calls for a negotiated settlement over the islands.

To make matters worse, the U.S. State Department has refused to say that it will recognize the outcome of the upcoming referendum. This policy plays right into the hands of Argentina and makes a mockery of the Anglo–American Special Relationship.

As Heritage Foundation research has pointed out:

As the Falkland Islands referendum approaches, the United States should strongly support the right of the Falkland Islanders to self-determination and should condemn Argentina’s aggressions. Washington should also make it clear that it stands firmly with America’s closest friend and ally.

When the Falkland Islanders go to the polls, it will be a historic opportunity to express, in a clear and democratic way, their right to self-determination—a principle on which America was founded and in which most Americans believe. It is shocking to think that President Obama, the leader of the free world, would not back the freedom of the Falkland Islanders.