The foreign policy of Cambiemos and the ideas of Alberdi

After years of irrelevancy and decadence in regard to the Argentine insertion in the world, a cocktail that had positioned it as a frontier market (less than an emergent) it is urgent to reflect on what type foreign policy the country needs. Although the Argentine Foreign Policy needs a minimum horizon of 20 years before the international community to enjoy credibility and achieve the objectives sought. Because it comes from an aggressive and irresponsible record, it is important to show a consistent profile of what is wanted and what is not. Both the return to Economic Forum in Davos and the election of the Argentine Republic for the Presidency of the G20 are part of an interesting profile.

During the Macri’s Presidency, it has been looked up to strengthen strong ties with the major nations in the world. It stands out, not being the only cases, the support received from the presidents of the United States, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Japan, China and the Arab Emirates. These nations represent 60% of world trade and together they have an average per capita income of US$ 61,014. At the Latin American level, the change is more profound as Argentina seeks to approach the Pacific Alliance, that is, to “Globalized” Latin America whose participation in world trade represents 2.63% of the total, a performance well above 0.77% of “Bolivarian” (the economy principles led by Venezuela) Latin America.

Although many do not know, these gestures are very close to the ideas of Argentina’s 1853 Constitution and the ideas of Juan Bautista Alberdi who considered the foreign policy as “the key to wealth and prosperity”, to overcome the desert, poverty and material backwardness.

Alberdi said: “Our foreign policy must be economic and commercial par excellence”, advises the signing of free trade agreements because they are the only way to place civilization, foreign and local investments “that are sheltered from our endless civil war”. That is to say, in the shelter of our economic-political instability which has destroyed capital, wealth and has condemned a good part of the population to poverty and indigence. Alberdi’s analysis marks a clear understanding of the advantages of anchoring to high-ranking countries institutional quality.

As in the 19th century, still remains that institutions generically known as those of Rule of Law, are those that enable investment, innovation and offer more opportunities for progress and freedom to its inhabitants. Recall that Europe, led by Great Britain, in the 19th century was the synthesis of trade, openness, culture and progress. The countries that develop have incorporated this type of institutions characterized by limiting political power in the division of powers, the fundamental role of the judicial power in defense of constitutional principles; and the determination that the Majorities do not have the right to violate the rights of minorities. That is respect for individual rights to life, liberty, property and right to the search for one’s happiness.

The effect of these treaties would be, according to Alberdi, “to attract the capital from abroad, to fix them in the country, and to obtain a reduction in interest rates because of the reduction of the risks that raise interest”. Here we see a clear awareness of what is now known as “country risk”. Which increases when there is the risk of default, devaluation, legal uncertainty, sudden changes in tax rules, lack of respect for property rights, etc.

The latter is extremely important since the external linkage of a country depends not only on its foreign policy (understood as a traditional scope for the Foreign Ministry) or on trade, capital flows or military policy, which are the areas of management that it’s generally thought when thinking about international insertion. This insertion also depends on the soundness of the rules of the Rule of Law. If the rest of the areas do not contribute to optimizing the insertion of Argentina in the world, little will matter the professionalism of the Foreign Ministry.

For this reason Alberdi makes it clear that “the economic system of the Argentine constitution must seek its strongest guarantee of stability and soundness in the economic system of its foreign policy”, ie a kind of “international guarantee”.

Alberdi warns of the cost of disowning these treaties. For a small and unstable country closer to the South Pole than to important economic centers, to ignore a treaty with a superpower implies staying out in the open, without anchor in the world, unplugged from the global flow of trade and investment. “The day the Confederation disregard that these treaties are worth more for their wealth and prosperity than the very constitution that must live for them, you can believe that their fate will be the same as under the yoke of the kings of Spain and the chieftains like Rosas”. For Alberdi, all policy opposed to free trade or foreign investment is “a reactionary change”. A serious violation of other individual rights such as life or property.  What was exposed is the support of Article number 27 of the Argentinian National Constitution.

Written by: Pablo Benítez Jaccod Lic. In international relations, President of the Progreso And Libertad Foundation

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