World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Argentina At The Brink - The World Must Do More

Argentina At The Brink - The World Must Do More Than Just Stand By

December 31, 2001

As Argentina falls even further into economic and political melt-down, one featuring its president du jour, the international community must intercede on an emergency basis. This is not only because the country's woes could cause a pandemic among its neighbors as well as emergent economies around the world, but because its own population is grievously suffering. Through looting and riots, the Argentine public clamors for order and reason for hope, but Buenos Aires seems unable to find the road back to economic stability or public confidence.

The De la Rúa administration, followed by the short-lived interim Rodriguez Saá presidency, pleaded without avail with the United States and the IMF, among others, to intercede, but the outside world spurned Buenos Aires due to Argentina's unrelieved reputation for being unable to sustain fiscal discipline. But that country has another, far more mortal flaw, which is not being, but should be challenged from abroad before any outside aid is forthcoming - and that is its notorious reputation for profligacy and corruption. It is these last traits that should make the world reluctant to be pulled into another Argentine 'bailout cycle,' without recourse.

Those in Washington opposed to further financial aid on fiscal grounds would be wise to carefully rethink the nature of their objections as well as the consequences of doing nothing. History demonstrates that desperate populations facing political and economic dead-ends often turn to military rule to restore order, and later pay a fearful price for this. Without financial assistance, Argentines could very well be tempted to seek a solution to the current disorder which would have disastrous consequences - turning to the country's military as they repeatedly had done before, to save the nation by its ultimately deceptive restoration of order and stability. The last time that Argentines did this, seven years of brutal rule by an armed forces junta followed, costing the lives of upwards of 25,000 innocent civilians, who were usually heinously tortured before being murdered.

Led by Washington, the international community has the responsibility to help restructure Argentina's dysfunctional economy, but in doing so, it also has the right to sanction that any funds earmarked from abroad will be released only when Argentine authorities meet specific standards concerning their political and social systems and not only their fiscal and monetary performance. The myth that Argentina is a fully developed nation and a triumph of the market economy must be discounted as insufficient. As Argentina's modern commercial establishment developed, its civic institutions misfired and went off in distorted directions. The traditionally narrow-minded international focus on financial reform is incapable of solving Argentina's persistent problems, and must be accompanied by the restructuring of Argentina's basic political institutions and its manner of daily civic existence.

The kind of transformative changes deemed necessary to stabilize Afghanistan should be mirrored in Argentina. The international community must make an investment in Argentina as it has in Afghanistan, keeping in mind that financial assistance is only one aspect of the much broader reforms necessary to restructure Argentina's civic, political and social institutions.

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, founded in 1975, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and information organization. It has been described on the Senate floor as being "one of our nation's most respected bodies of scholars and policy makers."

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news