It’s a curious thing how Argentinian invites herself to the ‘big boys’ table as things get hairy. Minutes before leaving for Kiev amid a worrying military escalation along the border between Russia and Ukraine several weeks ago, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accompanied Argentina’s recently reformed foreign minister, Santiago Cafiero, to “many of our countries”. sat down to discuss. We look forward to our work to promote democracy and human rights across the hemispheres of common interest,” while congratulating Argentina on being elected President of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Cafiero noted on Twitter that bilateral relations were still being built on the basis of “clear and fluid dialogue with the United States”, he spoke of President Alberto Fernandez’s “path to recovery and sustainable development”.
Just as US President Joe Biden accidentally gave Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin a window of opportunity for a small infiltration of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border during his first press conference in a year (not that It really mattered), Alberto Fernandez was getting ready to go on an overseas excursion of his own. In just a few weeks, Fernandez made his way to Moscow to meet with Putin to discuss “bilateral relations”, before traveling to Beijing to see Xi Jinping and the opening of the Winter Olympics, according to state news agency Telam. Of course, Biden had called for a diplomatic boycott of the Games because of “human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang,” according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Thus, Alberto held up with two of the United States’ major geopolitical opponents, shortly after his Secretary of State Blinken met. A few days later, an all-out war broke out in Ukraine.
In tandem, a Project Syndicate The column, titled “Argentina’s COVID Miracle” by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, sparked a heated domestic debate about the debt issue and of course the country’s economic performance. The laureate is none other than an advisor to Economy Minister Martin Guzmán, who brought him on his team at Columbia University, from where he reached out to the Fernández-Fernández administration for his views on sovereign debt negotiations. In his column, the economist – one of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s favorites – outlined the strength of the economic recovery, with output increasing by 10 percent, despite Argentina’s tough constraints on expansionary fiscal policy. Of course, Sitglitz was throwing a bone at his friend Guzmán, who is in the midst of difficult talks with the International Monetary Fund, while throwing darts at those who suggest the US should engage in contractionary economic policies because Inflation has reached its highest level since the 1980s. , Interestingly, it is none other than Janet Yellen who is in charge of the Treasury Department and who is in control of America’s economic levers these days, a close friend of Stieglitz.
Yellen is also the person Guzman must seduce to unlock debt talks with the IMF, along with adviser David Lipton, who not long ago was in charge of the fund’s talks with a certain Mauricio Macri. I wish we were able to come full circle! As the US and its allies are on the verge of war with Russia and Putin flexes to show strength in his sphere of influence, Argentina is looking to work closely with both Biden and Moscow to gain support for debt talks with the IMF. is trying. and to secure investment. At the same time Alberto Fernandez et. al. Trying to strengthen ties with China, just as Xi seeks to establish his country as a major global player through hard and soft power. Not only are investments in Argentina at play, but also backing a standoff with the fund’s negotiators, as China is one of the IMF’s largest shareholders.
All this, of course, as Argentina continues a mixed foreign policy with a common interest with Washington in supporting anti-American regimes such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua with Iran’s Vice President of Economic Affairs Mohsen Rezai in custody. Seen after taking. Shotgun Tour of South America. It is not entirely clear, for example, how the internal division in the ruling coalition, the Frente de Todos, is being readied by various geopolitical actors. Vice-President Christina, as is her custom, penned a short-but-lovely letter once again lambasting the IMF. Its territory within the Fronte de Todos is most aligned with anti-democratic regimes in conflict with the US. And Guzmán, who is considered a rational actor, recently remarked that the fund would “lose legitimacy if it pushes Argentina into an unstable position.”
Caught in this heated mess, Argentina’s strategy is hard to trace as the clock for default is ticking despite a significant progress with the IMF agreement that has yet to materialise. An impossible debt calendar is around the corner and Guzmán’s IMF deal still needs to pass the fund’s internal processes and then be approved by the Argentine Congress. While Stiglitz’s protege holds his cards to the vest, it is unclear whether Christina and/or Alberto are prepared to tolerate a potential default. Equally difficult is to trace the position of the opposition, which is tied together under the Juntos banner. After a powerful electoral victory in the midterm, the battle and the situation ahead of 2023 have sucked the air out of them. Fortunately (for them), the government continues to travel on the same rock. The official messenger is quickly becoming the former governor of Buenos Aires province and national deputy María Eugenia Vidal, who tried to debunk the “myth” on Twitter that Macri’s government recklessly took a loan. City Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Laretta is highly media-trained where, beyond obvious generalities and attacks on the government, it is unclear what plan he is proposing. And Gerardo Morales (governor of Jujuy Province), an enthusiastic within the Civic Radical Union, has taken the presidency of the party and is calling on Juntos to own up to the debt problem. Many people are accusing him of dancing to the tune of Sergio Massa. Without a clear message, and without a way to support some sort of deal with the IMF, it doesn’t look like the opposition is helping much anyway.
This Piece was originally published in Buenos Aires TimesArgentina’s only English language newspaper.