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Connecting the Dots Across the Global Board

24 May, 2024 | Ricardo Changala

The Argentine president has just entangled himself in another international mess.

Looking beyond the specific back-and-forth and the responses from the Spanish government, it’s essential to delve deeper into this episode. Not merely focusing on the central figure involved, but rather examining the underlying factors, what’s driving it, and what truly matters[1].

During his still short presidential administration (he took office on December 10, 2023), which feels like centuries due to the number of events generated and the consequences provoked, the Argentine president has been traveling a lot.

Almost a fifth of his time in office has been spent outside the country on activities that, for the most part, have not been official but rather of a “personal” nature, such as his current visit to Spain.

Where has he traveled? With whom has he been meeting?

In the USA (several times), Israel, Davos, Madrid; he has met with ultra-conservative political and religious sectors, with businesspeople, and with voices of the most conservative or reactionary thought in the world. Even among the few trips he made within his own country, the main one was to meet with the head of the US Southern Command.

Meanwhile, the current Argentine government has taken significant international steps, such as abandoning the process of integrating into the BRICS, and expressing total alignment with the USA, including votes within the UN, etc.

What interpretation can be made of these movements by the Argentine president? Are they delusions of grandeur, spontaneous actions, whims, nihilistic blunders?

While some or all these notes may be present, it is better to analyze it from another perspective.

Milei grounds his international policy and major national decisions on aligning with one of the major factions contending in the ongoing civilizational crisis.

Clearly, since announcing the abandonment of the national currency to adopt the US dollar, his decision is unequivocal: to align under any circumstance with what is commonly referred to as the “Western bloc” (USA, EU, NATO, Israel, and other allies).

It is not hard to think that the choice of Pedro Sánchez as the target of his insults and affronts may have some connection to Spain’s decision to recognize the statehood of Palestine.

There can no longer be any doubt about the existence of a global conflict (which naturally has multiple local or regional expressions) between this Western bloc and the other bloc, with China and Russia as its main economic and military powers.

To explain the current moment, the idea of the “Thucydides Trap” is frequently mentioned.

This concept, developed by the Greek historian to analyze the Peloponnesian War, was more recently used by Graham Allison (2015) to account for at least sixteen historical examples involving two powers, one in decline and the other on the rise.

The trap implies that the tension between both powers can lead them to a war for hegemony, in which the great power either wins and secures its primacy or loses and is replaced by the rising power.

This scenario was unthinkable at the end of the last century.

Contrarily, there was discussion about the “end of history”, the absolute and enduring dominance of American capitalism, and the consolidation of the European Union, marked by the substantial inclusion of numerous countries, primarily from the former socialist bloc.

At the beginning of 2024, French researcher Emmanuel Todd presented his new book: “The Defeat of the West.” This author, in the mid-70s, published a book predicting the disintegration of the Soviet Union, so he has solid credentials to at least warrant attention to his opinions.

February 22, 2022, is a key date in the global context. Faced with the so-called Russian “special operation” in Ukraine, NATO saw the opportunity for the first option of the “Thucydides Trap” to occur: the victory of the hegemonic power over the emerging one. Since then, a gigantic political, military, economic, and communicational strategy has been developed to provoke the defeat of Russia.

Despite reaching an agreement less than a month after their entry into Ukraine (the full text of which was recently disclosed and did not entail the explicit cession of any Ukrainian territory), NATO opted to continue with the war. Moreover, various economic and political sanctions were imposed on the Russian Federation, targeting not only its media but also its athletes.

Moreover, explicitly and even in official NATO documents, not only was Russia identified as an enemy of the West, but China was also included as a target to be confronted and defeated. Over time, as Todd notes in his book, not only has Russia been asserting itself militarily, strengthening economically and financially, and solidifying its relationship with China, but the European Union has also been the most affected by the rupture of trade relations with the Slavic giant.

Furthermore, the conflict has exposed the significant limitations of the American arms industry, which currently lacks the capacity to adequately respond to the demands of the war in Eastern Europe.

As if that were not enough, the developments in Palestine and Israel since October 2023 have further complicated the global political-military situation, especially for the Western axis.

It is not the moment now to deeply analyze this increasingly widespread geographic and political conflict, but there is no doubt that the West is failing to impose its hegemony and is, instead, experiencing several serious internal contradictions.

On the other side, the economic and military strengthening of China and Russia, as well as other Asian countries like Iran or India, is undeniable. From this position, they aim to stop NATO advances on their security lines (a key reason for the war in Ukraine and the constant tension in Taiwan), but also, especially China, to significantly increase their influence in the global economic system.

In this context, various countries around the world are forced, whether they want to or not, to take sides because the warlike scenario tends to generate binary options: with us or with the enemy.

Even when it is not a country’s will, the planet is transforming into a global battlefield from which it is difficult to find an escape. This is evident in situations that are not always widely reported in our regions.

For instance, on April 24th, the United States announced it was withdrawing its troops from Niger, following France’s recent decision to remove its military presence from the African country after the 2023 coup. Previously, other countries in the Sahel region also prompted the departure of French military forces, breaking decades of presence in their former colonies.

Additionally, it is highly significant that, at the same time as the US withdrawal, Russian military instructors arrived to install anti-aircraft systems as part of a military agreement with the Russian Federation.

Another clear example is what has been happening at the International Court of Justice. The lawsuit filed by South Africa against Israel and the successive procedural steps it has followed have led to evident political alignment: the BRICS and allies on one side, and at least part of the Western bloc on the other.

In Southwestern Asia (commonly referred to as the Middle East), various countries and armed groups have also been taking sides, turning the region into a multiple conflict zone. Similar considerations can be made about recent votes in the General Assembly and the Security Council of the UN on various aspects related to Palestine, where alignments were also observed, although they varied depending on the issues and moments.

What role does the current Argentine president play? Beyond his confessed alignment with the Western axis, his narrative serves as a spearhead towards the total rupture of the world order established after World War II, which is one of the possible “exits” for the dominant power in crisis and at high risk of being surpassed by emerging forces.

The so-called “anarcho-capitalism,” which considers state entities to be criminal and therefore totally despises multilateral structures, is fully functional in destroying the post-1945 institutional framework.

If the financial and political entities established during those times are no longer suitable and cannot be fully controlled by the hegemonic power and its allies, then they must disappear.

The recent episode involving the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor requesting arrest warrants for the main Israeli authorities and the Hamas movement demonstrates this. Before and after this decision, US and other countries’ leaders have made threatening statements against the ICC as a whole, undermining the existence and functioning of one of the institutional pillars of the post-World War II international structure.

The liberal creed (as presented by Milei in Davos) is clearly functional in seeking alignments based not on political agreements or rational development criteria, but on religious, spiritual, or mutual convenience fundamentalism among the adherents of said creed. The rest does not matter at all.

The current stage of neoliberalism, with corporations playing an increasingly prominent role and having more decision-making power even above states, also views Milei’s discourse with great interest.

He declares great capitalists as heroes, even if they violate their most basic tax obligations, and aims to minimize their regulation while tending towards the disappearance of the main foundations of labor law.

During World War II, after some initial hesitation from a few governments, the Latin American region sided with the Allies, so there were no conflicts in that regard.

However, the current situation is very different and requires well-considered political, economic, and even ethical positions at both national and regional levels, with sufficient social legitimacy to avoid falling into an unsustainable situation.

Moreover, despite the binary options that war presents, there is always a third option: peace, dialogue, and coexistence, although today it seems that almost no one is taking that path.


[1] https://www.elperiodico.com/es/politica/20240519/psoe-exige-feijoo-condene-intolerables-102601709