Don’t cry for yourself, Argentina
Posted by sanityinjection on December 10, 2008
Today the world was treated to the spectacle of Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez kissing up to the Russian dictatorship’s puppet President, Dmitry Medvedev. After announcing some routine bilateral agreements, the two leaders both complained about the domination of world affairs by “one state” – clearly referring to the US – and outlined their vision of a more multipolar world.
Of course, playing cheaply to the chauvinist crowd at home by giving the US the finger is pretty much a staple of political behavior in both countries, so I can’t say I’m surprised. But there’s a big difference between such comments coming from a country like Argentina rather than one like Russia.
Russia may be a dictatorship disguised as a democracy, harboring expansionsist designs against its neighbors and throwing its military weight around. But at least it can be said of the Russians that they have participated – sometimes more helpfully than others – in addressing the issues that trouble the world such as Iran and North Korea. We may not agree with them, but at least they have shown a willingness to play their part in a “multilateral” power structure.
What of Argentina, on the other hand? What has Argentina done to foster the cause of world peace? Without expecting Argentina to be a superpower, meddling in events on other continents, what has it done to resolve the issues on its own continent, South America? How has it stepped in to help end the bloody civil war in Colombia, or at least keep its neighbors from propping up the rebels? What has it done to fight the drug trade that fuels crime across the Andes and Amazonian regions? What pressure has it put on Venezuela’s strutting Presidente to respect civil rights and freedom of the press in his country? I don’t see Argentina spending much of its time and treasure to assist its neighbors in these areas. And yet, Argentina complains of US “dominance” in world affairs.
Argentina can’t have it both ways. Either step up and invest in the causes of international relations, or at least have the decency not to snipe at those who step in when you shirk. If you don’t want the US throwing its weight around in your neck of the woods, then show with your actions, not your whining, that you deserve to be taken seriously in your region.
In short: Put up or shut up.