(Photo: Senado de la Nación Argentina, Wikimedia Commons)
Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio says Argentina’s Milei is taking the right steps to be a friend to the United States. The Biden Administration would do well to reciprocate that.
When the people of Argentina elected conservative candidate Javier Milei as their next president, pundits speculated that he would default on his campaign promises. But Milei deserves praise for already fulfilling one of his most important guarantees: keeping Argentina out of the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) trade group.
Let’s not forget, BRICS was founded in 2009 by Vladimir Putin with the clear goal of ousting the United States from our position as a global leader. Now effectively controlled by Beijing, BRICS’s members pool foreign currency reserves and lend billions in easy money to pit developing nations against the United States and other Western countries. These measures are allowing China to bankroll Russia’s campaign of death and destruction in Ukraine, despite punishing sanctions on Moscow.
Nor is that all. As of New Year’s Day, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Iran—the greatest danger to U.S. personnel in the Middle East and the greatest sponsor of international terrorism—have swelled BRICS’s ranks. This doubles the trade group’s size, enhancing its attractiveness as an alternative to the American and European-led financial system. If current trends continue, it will become harder and harder for the United States to prevent international violence and oppression through sanctions.
This is why, Republicans and Democrats alike, we should breathe a sigh of relief for President Milei’s decision and applaud his administration.
Milei’s socialist predecessor, Alberto Fernandez, cozied up to both Moscow and Beijing, and he called joining BRICS a “great opportunity.” That would have been a disaster for Argentina, whose people would have fallen further under the grip of an overseas communist dictatorship. It would have been a similar disaster for the United States, whose international standing would have been significantly weakened by the alignment of South America’s second-largest economy—and the world’s third-largest source of lithium, a mineral critical to the construction of everything from smart phones to fighter jets—with our greatest adversary.
In contrast, as a candidate, Milei declared that Argentina’s “alignment is with the United States and Israel,” and that he was not “going to ally with communists.” And lo and behold, when given the chance to join BRICS, President Milei rejected it.
Last year, I urged President Biden to support his recently elected counterpart in Argentina by encouraging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restructure Buenos Aires’s debt. (The IMF just agreed to release $4.7 billion for this purpose, which is promising.) I also urged the President to partner with Milei in restricting the influence of Russia, China, and Iran—as well the regional dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua—in our hemisphere.
Those are recommendations I stand by. Milei is taking the right steps to be a friend to the United States. The Biden Administration would do well to reciprocate that, because friends are few and far between these days. In the months to come, President Biden must put his longstanding bias against conservatives behind him and take Argentina seriously as an international partner.
This article was originally published by RealClearWorld and made available via RealClearWire.
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