Annus Horribilis: 1977–1978
Despite the early successes of the 1977 arbitration resolution, the conflict with Argentina was far from finished. In hindsight, it would appear that Chile had won a diplomatic victory. After decades of disputes, an international court finally ruled that the three islands were Chilean. So why did Chile face an adverse situation after 1977? What went wrong? Does the Argentinian internal dispute explain the increase of bilateral tension? What is certain is that this was only one part of the story.
The central argument of this chapter is that the Argentine domestic context conditioned its foreign policy whereas, in contrast, the international context conditioned Chilean foreign policy. In Chile, the strength and cohesion of the regime permitted the government to establish a high degree of institutionalization during the entire period of negotiation. In Argentina, where the regime had veto rules and was blocked by factional division, resolution was contradictory.