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April 22, 2008

Chilean Foreign Policy: 2008

What is Chile's current foreign policy?

Chile's current foreign policy strongly resembles the foreign policy of the Portales period, emphasizing political neutrality, non-intervention, sovereign equality, regional stability, and commercial expansion.

The types of problems it faces are also similar to that era, but not specific to it, insofar as it has yet to resolve territorial disputes with Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.[1] However, its relative economic success and interest based diplomacy, as opposed to a variable ideology-driven policy like those of other nations around the region, have given Chile a position of power within the region disproportionate to its size and small population.

Like Brazil, Chile's foreign policy can be divided between regional and extra-regional efforts, [2] but it can also be further subdivided between its commercial and political agenda, with its extra-regional efforts focused primarily on commerce while the principle aim of its regional efforts' is the "promotion of integration and the consolidation of an environment conducive to peace, dialogue, solidarity and mutual confidence within the region."[3] Accordingly we will first discuss Chile's foreign trade policies applicable to both regional and extra-regional relations before we move on to a discussion of its regional policies that focus more specifically on Latin America.

Foreign Trade Policy

Open regionalism is Chile's official foreign trade policy. [4] This policy seeks a deeper penetration of world markets in Latin America, North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific in order to increase foreign investment and open new markets.

According to the Foreign Ministry, this position allows Chile to "strengthen its ties with its neighbors, but at the same time, keep its independence in the economic arena."[5] To these ends Chile has signed more bilateral trade agreements than any other country in the world and is a strong proponent of the Doha Round of the WTO as well as the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

Chile began to actively push its trade agenda around the world in the early 1990s. Beginning in the Americas where it first signed a FTA with Canada in 1996, Mexico in 1998, Central America in 1999. It then negotiated and signed a FTA with the EU in 2002 and finished its negotiations with the USA in 2003, the treaty went into effect in Jan. 2004.

Most recently Chile has turned its attention to strengthening its commercial position in the Asia Pacific where it hopes to position itself as the bridge for Asian expansion into Latin America.[6] It became a member of APEC in 1996 and has since signed an FTA with six of its 21 members and was the host of its annual summit in 2004. [7] In Asia it signed a FTA with South Korea in 2002, China in 2005 (their first with a Latin American country),[8] a preferential trade agreement with India in 2006 and a FTA with Japan in 2007. Chile is also negotiating various types of trade agreements with other Asian Pacific countries including Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand.[9]

The final aspect of Chile's trade policy is its relationship with Latin America. While most of Chile's exports go to countries outside of the region, Argentina and Brazil are Chile's number two and number three suppliers, respectively, making a closer integration with these two countries and other Mercosur countries a high priority.[10]

Also, because Chile has no natural sources of energy, it is dependent on Argentina to supply it with the majority of its energy in the form of natural gas piped over the Andes. As mentioned earlier, disruptions in gas supplies from Argentina have caused problems for Chileans and highlighted the need to diversify national energy supplies.

Improved relations with CAN member countries and infrastructure connectivity with its northern oil and gas rich neighbors in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and even as far away as Venezuela and Brazil could provide a solution to this problem in the long term; however, the ongoing conflicts with Peru and Bolivia over maritime borders limits these options in the short term.

From the standpoint of these interests, it would seem that a union focused on improving regional relations and infrastructure connectivity would benefit Chilean interests by bringing it "closer" to the rest of its neighbors. However, it is important to highlight the close relationships Chile maintains with Mexico and Central America when considering the logic of creating a South American Union as opposed to a Latin one.

Foreign Political Policy

In addition to the commercial aspects of Chile's extra-regional foreign policy we have already discussed, Chile is also involved in the major multilateral political forums of the UN and the WTO as well as the regional groups of the OAS and APEC. It prefers the consensus building offered through these types of multilateral institutions because they allow it to better maintain its policies of neutrality and non-intervention.

As discussed, these are important historic policies that Chile has tried to follow to help it avoid unnecessary conflicts; however, within Latin America, Chile is sometimes willing to intervene, (as it did in the Peru-Ecuador conflict of 1998) to maintain regional stability. This is essentially non-intervention from a regional perspective that helps to increase Chile's influence within the region over non Latin American countries.

The policy of non-intervention was also practiced by Diego Portales in 1831 when he rejected the presence of British agents in the Peru-Bolivia conflict in which Chile was mediating.[11] This behavior is consistent with its policy of 'regional solutions for regional problems,' which seeks the promotion of peace, human rights, democracy, political cooperation, physical integration and development to help maintain a "more peaceful, stable Latin America."[12]

All of these activities indicate a sophisticated, long-term foreign policy with clear objectives that have been supported through successive presidential administrations. This makes Chile different from the rest of South America in so far as it has stuck with several basic political and economic policies for a long period of time.

By Nathan Gill – Southern Affairs

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[1] It is worth noting in the Peru – Chile and Bolivia – Chile disputes the Chilean government maintains that, from a legal standpoint, its borders with the two countries are recognized under international law. In practice, these are two of Chile's most problematic issues within South America. [2] Chile's use of the term 'regional' often refers to Latin America as opposed to Brazil's preferred use of the term to refer specifically to South America. This contrast will be discussed further on. [3] Foreign Ministry Website. 17 Apr. 2008 [4] Foreign Ministry Website. 17 Apr. 2008 [5] Foreign Ministry Website. 17 Apr. 2008 [6] Koh, Tommy. Chile in the World: A View from Singapore. Diario Financiero Online. Accessed 20 Apr. 2008. [7] Foreign Ministry Website. 17 Apr. 2008 [8] Associated Press. China, Chile Sign Free Trade Agreement. 18 Nov. 2005. Accessed 19 Apr. 2008 [9] La Tercera Online. Chile y el mundo. In Chile y sus presidentes: Nº14 Consolidación democrática (1994-2006). 21 Apr. 2008 [10] Chile's top export markets in 2006 were the USA (15.4%), Japan (10.4), China (8.5%), and the Netherlands (6.6%). The Economist Factsheet. Chile. Country ViewsWire 27 Sept. 2007 [11] Min. Estado Diego Portales al Congreso, 1836. Santiago, 1858: 178-179 [12] Foreign Ministry Website. 17 Apr. 2008

April 21, 2008

Chilean Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the relevant historic issues in Chile's foreign policy?

Since the early 1830s, Chile has developed a reputation for its pragmatic foreign policy, traditionally letting national interests take precedent over ideology. Starting from at least as early as the Prieto administration there was an explicit understanding of the challenges of Chile's situation, isolated from its neighbors by deserts and mountains on the southern Pacific coast and far from European trade routes in the north Atlantic. Accordingly it focused its efforts on policies that would help it protect and defend itself.[1]

Strategic History

Strategically this meant building a strong navy to defend its almost 3,000 miles of coast on the South Pacific as well competing with Argentina over the South Atlantic. It sought to expand its territory into the Patagonia and fought two wars with Peru and Bolivia, annexing large portions of both countries during the War of the Pacific (1879 – 1884). This war left Bolivia without maritime access. Interestingly, many of these conflicts are still unsatisfactorily resolved.[2]

The series of border wars fought throughout the region's post independence period have led to a number of different pacts between different countries over the years. In different opportunities Chile has allied itself with Argentina against Peru and Bolivia; with Brazil against Argentina; and with Ecuador against Peru. As mentioned in the sections on Argentina and Brazil, Chile also formed part of the ABC Pact of 1915 which sought to stabilize the southern cone by establishing spheres of influence for each country.

Finally, Chile has a history of seeking a stable South America. Chile intervened in the conflict in the Rio de la Plata in 1830 and also served as a mediator during the Peru Bolivia conflict of 1831, notably rejecting the proposed mediation by British agents. However, the failure of both of these mediations caused Chile to rethink its policy to try and limit its intervention in the new states, limiting relations to security and commerce.[3] President Prieto said to the Chilean Congress in 1833, "La unanimidad [entre los pueblos hispanoamericanos] es el medio más eficaz de asegurar su reconocimiento i su inviolabilidad."

Political History

Chile has supported those political principles that favor smaller states, including the principles of neutrality, non-intervention and sovereign equality among nations. It prefers multilateral institutions that, it believes, will increase its power in international forums.[4] It has supported every Pan-American initiative since the Congress of Panama up to the O.A.S.; it is an associate member of Mercosur and CAN, a member of ALADI, and a signatory of the Union of South American Nations. [5] It has also been an active supporter of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization outside of the region and involves itself in U.N. peacekeeping missions.

Chile adopted a policy of neutrality early on to help it establish a broad base of support among the nations of the world.[6] It was understandably cautious about taking sides in the nearly constant conflicts erupting in neighboring countries. After the expensive failure of the Expeditión Libertadora de Peru, Chile tried to remain neutral in affairs that did not directly involve their national security.[7] In practice though, this policy was difficult to maintain, especially given ongoing conflicts with Peru and Bolivia that eventually ended in a Chilean-Argentinean alliance against those two countries.[8] The policy of non-intervention was based on the same logic, but, enunciated as a political doctrine and supported in international forums, it helped set a general precedent against outside intervention in the sovereign affairs of another state.

The use of multilateral institutions, ruled by international law, was the favored vehicle of this foreign policy. Chile has been supportive of international organizations, in particular in Latin America where it views itself as sharing many of the same interest with other American states.[9] It policy supports the principle of sovereign equality to increase the nations bargaining power in multilateral forums, arguing that its sovereign status as an independent republic should count more than its physical size or population.[10]

In the selection of which multilateral bodies to ally with Chile has been open but has been clear about its willingness to grant favored status to other Latin American countries." [11] We believe this is because Chile views the region as its logical sphere of influence. Although not the largest nation in South America it manages one of the most sophisticated foreign policies in the region, its open stance toward Latin American countries and the world in general have helped to raise its profile everywhere.

Economic History

Chile's economic history is somewhat similar to that of Argentina and Brazil. Its early distribution of land and power created agricultural elite that controlled national politics in early years of the Republic.[12] After the annexation of what is now northern Chile, nitrate and later copper mining became the major national exports, providing much of the internal revenue for the state and consequently occupying a preeminent role in national policy. This led to what Vanden and Prevost refer to as a "night watchman" state, primarily concerned with protecting mining interests from internal and external threats.[13] Up until 1920 this mining industry was principally controlled by British economic interests.

As mining gained importance as the major national industry, the country experienced a series of socio-economic changes. As more Chileans moved out of the agricultural sector, based in rural areas with low population densities, into mining, which tended to concentrate workers into more urban areas, the importance of labor unions grew in importance.[14]

Following the German discovery of a synthetic nitrate at the turn of the 20th century, Chile lost the monopoly it had on the world market, causing a serious political and economic crisis that eventually led to a military coup in 1925 that overthrew the Parliamentary Republic and eventually led to the establishment of the presidential system still in place today. The Wall St. stock market crash followed on the heels of this depression, further complicating national efforts to reorganize the state.

Differing opinions among Chileans lead to a series of short-lived civilian and military governments that finally ended with the second presidency of Arturo Alessandri (1932-1938). Although Alessandri ushered in a new period of democratic governance, the tensions that had previously existed between the conservative ruling class and the growing middle and working classes were not resolved. Instead they fueled the growth of Communist and Socialist parties and the radicalization of national politics between those who supported private property and the status quo against labor groups who wanted to create a socialist state.

The socialists eventually gained enough support to win the 1970 presidential elections where Salvador Allende won with 36.2 percent of the vote. Although he did not possess a majority mandate, he began to enact socialist reforms including land seizures and redistributions, industry nationalizations and greater state control of the economy. These reforms divided Chilean society and eventually led to a military coup in 1973.[15]

The military government installed in 1973 immediately set to work to repeal the socialist policies of Allende's administration. It instituted a policy of neoliberalism, opening up Chile's economy and privatizing many national industries and services (with the notable exception of the mining industry) as well as pursuing closer commercial relations abroad. This policy is still generally in force (although with major modifications learned along the way) and represents one of the distinguishing characteristics of Chile's foreign economic policy compared to that of its neighbors. While other Latin American nations experimented with economic nationalism before transitioning to neoliberalism in the late 1980s and 1990s only to move back to some grey area between the two, Chile is one of few countries who have not subsequently rejected the model.

By Nathan Gill – Southern Affairs

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[1] President J.Prieto said to the Chilean Congress in 1832 “En el departamento de la Guerra y Marina, apénas tengo que añadir a lo que os espuso mi antecesor en 1.˚ de junio del año pasado. Llamo vuestra atención, como él lo hizo, a la seguridad de ámbas fronteras, a la necesidad de un método uniforme en la suministracion de vestuarios u en la remonta de la caballería, a la organización de la maestranza general de artilleria, a la lei de reemplazos, a la administración de justicia militar en última instancia, i al estado de las fuerzas navales.” Documentos Parlamentarios. Discursos de Apertura en las sesiones de Congreso, i Memorias Ministeriales correspondientes a la Administración Prieto (1831-1841). Tomo I. Imprenta del Ferrocarril. Santiago 1858: 4. [2] Recent flare ups include Bolivia's maritime access demand, Peru's lawsuit at The Hague over its southern maritime border with Chile, and the Argentinean tourist map incident of 2006. [3] Discurso del Ministro de Estado Diego Portales al Congreso 1836. Santiago 1858: 178-179. [4] According to Santiago Lorenzo, “Durante su primer Ministerio (1830-1831), Portales fue un abnegado defensor de la paz en una Hispanoamérica asolada por la anarquía. En 1830 asume la representación del gobierno chileno para mediar en los conflictos que dividen a las Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, que de unidas sólo tenían el nombre. Cuando toma esta iniciativa no lo hace por un altruismo pacifismo simplemente, sino por el convencimiento íntimo de que la paz interna de Hispanoamérica era el mejor garante de su independencia…” Lorenzo Schiaffino, Santiago. Portales y la Política Internacional in Portales: El Hombre y su Obra. La Consolidación del Gobierno Civil. Ed. Jurídica de Chile Ed. Andrés Bello, Santiago, 1989: 294. [5] Ministry of Foreign Relations. Website 17 Apr. 2008. [6] Foreign Ministry Website. 17 Apr. 2008. [7] Lorenzo 1989: 292. [8] Lorenzo 1989: 294 “Considerando la fallida experiencia en la mediación argentina u los obstáculos que os podían interponer en ésta, en rezón de que los presidentes de ambas naciones eran encarnizados enemigos, recomienda a Miguel Zañartu, encargado de la mediación, impida que Chile sea desairado y proceda en consecuencia, con la más estricta neutralidad.” [9] Pres. Prieto to Chilean Congress, 1832: 10. [10][11] Barros Van Buren 1990: 109. [12] This position is mentioned in both the Chilean foreign policy of 1832 as well as the current administration in 2008. Lorenzo 1989: 294. See Discurso del Presidiente Joaquín Prieto al Congreso. Santiago 1858: 2. [13] Vanden and Prevost 2002: 444. [14] Vanden and Prevost 2002: 444-447. [15] Ibid: 447.

April 19, 2008

Chilean Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Who are the relevant actors in the creation of Chile's national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within?

Chile's current Constitution was approved in a national plebiscite in 1980 during the military dictatorship. It has since been amended nine times, but retains the strong executive tradition common in Chile since the end of the Parliamentary Republic in 1925.[1]

The government is divided between an executive branch, containing 20 ministries; a bicameral legislature, consisting of a 47 member Senate and a 120 member Chamber of Deputies; and a Judiciary branch. Foreign policy is controlled by the executive branch through the Ministry of Foreign Relations. This ministry is in charge of "planning, directing, coordinating, executing, and diffusing the foreign policy formulated by the President of the Republic." [2]

It is responsible for coordinating all activities of all the other state ministries and public institutions as well as overseeing all issues related to national sovereignty including its marine and Antarctic territories. There is also a National Security Council, made up of the Presidents of the Senate, the Supreme Court and the Chiefs of each branch of the armed forces that advises the president of the Republic on defense issues. This division of powers gives the executive ample room to maneuver in international affairs. [3]

The current president of Chile is Michelle Bachelet (b.1951), a socialist, pediatrician and former health (2000 – 2002) and defense minister (2002 – 2004). Chile's current Foreign Minister is Alejandro Foxley, a member of the Christian Democratic Party, an economist and a politician who previously served as a senator (1998 – 2006) and finance minister (1990 – 1994).

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[1]Vanden, Harry E. y Gary Prevost. Politics of Latin America: The Power Game. Oxford University Press: Oxford 2002: 446 [2] Chilean Ministry of Foreign Relations. Website 17 Apr. 2008 [3] Vanden and Prevost 2002: 459 [4] President J.Prieto said to the Chilean Congress in 1832 “En el departamento de la Guerra y Marina, apénas tengo que añadir a lo que os espuso mi antecesor en 1.˚ de junio del año pasado. Llamo vuestra atención, como él lo hizo, a la seguridad de ámbas fronteras, a la necesidad de un método uniforme en la suministracion de vestuarios u en la remonta de la caballería, a la organización de la maestranza general de artilleria, a la lei de reemplazos, a la administración de justicia militar en última instancia, i al estado de las fuerzas navales.” Documentos Parlamentarios. Discursos de Apertura en las sesiones de Congreso, i Memorias Ministeriales correspondientes a la Administración Prieto (1831-1841). Tomo I. Imprenta del Ferrocarril. Santiago 1858: 4

April 17, 2008

Brazilian Foreign Policy: 2008

What is Brazil's current foreign policy?

"Brazil is not a small country. It does not, and it cannot, have the foreign policy of a small country."[1] These words, from the current Minister of External Relations express the essence of Brazil's foreign policy. It is a country in pursuit of major power status and, as such, is trying to change the global balance of power in its own favor.

Internationally it chooses to pursue its goals through multilateral institutions where it is skilled at organizing consensus positions. It argues for greater equality among sovereign nations and maintains the policy of non-intervention.[2] These positions reflect a nation close to, but not within, the global circle of power. Any widening of the circle could stand to benefit Brazil first. However, to differ with political realists slightly, power is but a means to an end and the fins of Brazil's foreign policy go further than the mere acquisition of influence.

Brazil's current foreign policy has two general focuses: regional and extra-regional. In both theatres Brazil has taken a leadership role in representing the interests of developing countries, converting itself into a type of spokesman for the Third World. Its regional policy is oriented towards South America, as opposed to Latin America, where it is working to establish new South American alliances to improve socio-economic conditions at home and better articulate shared interests in international forums.

The meat of their regional policy has historically been focused on the southern cone states of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, with whom they formed Mercosur (minus Chile) in 1991 but, starting with the Cardoso administration of the late 1990s and increasing in the 21st Century, Brazil has tried to expand this zone of influence into the Andes. Some indicators of this change in orientation from the southern cone to South America in general are seen in its sponsorship of the First Reunion of South American Heads of State in 2000, the First Reunion of the South American Community of Nations in 2005, and the Second Reunion of Heads of State of the South American Union to be held in 2008.[3] The amplification of its zone of influence increases its regional markets helping to offset growing imports from the U.S. and the European Union.[4]

Another important facet of increased integration with the other large agricultural producers in South America is their shared interest in the elimination of farm subsidies in developed countries. Brazil has used its positions of leadership within the WTO and as the President of the Negotiating Group of Agricultural with the FTAA to organize enough opposition to scuttle major trade negotiations with developed countries until they are willing to grant more favorable concessions to poorer countries.[5] This participation is detailed by Amorim, who says,

"Without any wish to sound triumphant, I can affirm with conviction that Brazil has been at the center of the negotiating process [of the WTO]. In 2003, we created the G-20 in Cancún, when the United States and the European Union tried to impose an unfair agreement, which would have left agricultural subsidies virtually untouched and offered little or no liberalization on products that are of interest to developing countries, while requiring disproportionate concessions from them.

The G-20 has changed the negotiation dynamics under the GATT/WTO system. Thanks to an ongoing effort of coordination and political mobilization, as well as constantly seeking understandings with other groups of developing countries, i.e. countries that are relatively less developed, countries that depend on trade preferences, small and vulnerable economies, etc., it was possible to change the course of the negotiations."[6]

Yet another benefit of closer political integration with the rest of South America is increased pressure on the U.N. Security Council to reform its membership. This aspect of Brazil's foreign policy is based on the assumption that "there will be no order or governance in the international arena without those who represent the overwhelming majority of humankind participating in its management."[7] Brazil has a big stake in the efforts to expand the Security Council because it hopes to receive one of the permanent seats that might open.

Other issues that are of importance to Brazil are development and the environment. Brazil is in a unique situation in that the vast majority of its territory is home to the Amazon rainforest. This presents a number of challenges to a country trying to develop its potential because it limits where and how the government can encourage growth at home and which resources it can access.

Other international agenda items are science and technology, disarmament, cultural diplomacy, human rights and social issues, drug trafficking, and terrorism. The last two have grown in importance as Brazil has begun to clash more often with the Colombian narco-terrorist/socialist revolutionary group the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) as well as drug-trafficking groups inside Brazil's cities. To deal with the issue Brazil has begun to share intelligence from its Amazon satellite monitoring system Sivam with Colombia's government and has offered to mediate in any negotiations between the two in the future.[8]

By Nathan Gill - Southern Affairs

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[1] Amorim, Celso. Brazil's Multilateral Diplomacy: A Tribute to Rui Barbosa - Remarks by Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations at the Second National Conference on Foreign Policy and International Politics. Brasilia 11 May 2007. [2] Ibid. [3] We will discuss Unasur in greater length further on. [4] Canuto, Otaviano. Foreign Trade. Brazilian Ministry of Exterior Foreign Trade Document. No date. [5] "A Giant Stirs." The Economist. Brasilia, 10 Jun. 2004. 28 Mar. 2008. [6] Amorim, Celso. Brazil's Multilateral Diplomacy: A Tribute to Rui Barbosa - Remarks by Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations at the Second National Conference on Foreign Policy and International Politics. Brasilia 11 May 2007. [7] Ibid. [8] "A Giant Stirs." The Economist. Brasilia, 10 Jun. 2004. 28 Mar. 2008

April 15, 2008

Brazilian Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the historic conditions of Brazil's foreign policy?

Like Argentina, we will divide the historic conditions of Brazil's foreign policy into three groups; strategic, political and economic.

Strategically, Brazil (and Portugal during colonial times) has sought to expand its influence in South America and the South Atlantic. At times this involved aggressive policies with Argentina and other neighbors, but since the end of the Second World War it has achieved this dominance through national industrialization and military arms acquisitions.

Politically, Brazil is perhaps best known for its work in multilateral institutions, its politics of non-intervention, and a doctrine of sovereign equality among nations. It has generally followed these principles since its coming of age as a republic in the late 19th century and continues to work toward the democratization of the global order today.

Economically, Brazil has tried to transform itself from a primary materials export economy to an industrialized one. Briefly, we will discuss each of these factors, moving from the general to the specific.

Because of its unique colonial history Brazil's foreign policy did not begin to take shape until the early 20th century. According to Celso Amorim, Brazil's current Foreign Minister, "Brazil's participation in the [1907] Hague Conference symbolically represented Brazil's entry onto the international stage.[1] Accordingly, the relevant historic policies that have influenced Brazil's current foreign policy date largely from this time period onward. Before the founding of the republic in 1889 the country's major foreign policy focus dealt with European foreign trade and internally with expanding and securing territorial boundaries.

Between 1851 and 1900 Brazil went through a period of expansion, pushing its borders further south and west causing tensions with Argentina in the Rio Platte Basin, a war in Paraguay, and tensions among its other neighbors. This period of expansion helped make Brazil the largest nation on the continent with borders on every South American state except for Chile and Ecuador.[2]

In the post monarchic period the federal government was very weak. Power was divided between state political groups up until the 1929 stock market crash that devastated Brazil's agriculture export economy the two most important states, Sāo Paolo and Minas Gerais had controlled national politics in what is referred to as the café com leite (coffee with milk) policy. The name reflects the two export products of Sāo Paolo (coffee) and Minas Gerais (dairy). Under this policy, politicians from these states traded the national presidency every four years.

In 1915 Brazil signed the South American Consultation, Non-Aggression and Arbitration Pact (also known as the ABC Pact). As the name suggests, the agreement was designed to facilitate good relations between the three countries as well as to establish spheres of influence in the region. Although neither Chile nor Argentina ratified the agreement, it still influenced the regional tone of international relations until the late 1920s.[3]

The outbreak of the Second World War changed the entire strategic outlook of the region. President Getúlio Vargas (1930-1945 and 1951-1954) negotiated with the U.S. for the training of a Brazilian expeditionary force to fight with the Allies in the campaign in Italy and for funding for the construction of a new steel foundry at Volta Redonda in Rio de Jainero.[4] The economic and military aid from the U.S. continued after the war allowing Brazil to outstrip Argentina in terms of military power in the 1960s by helping it build giving it the largest armed forces and economy in South America.[5]

As mentioned, Brazil's international tradition began in the early 1900s. One of the great figures of this period was the diplomat Rui Barbosa. Barbosa attended the 1907 Hague conference where he supported the creation of a democratic system based on sovereign equality between nations. While the conference had limited results, it marked the beginning of Brazil's pursuit of a multilateral agenda which emphasizes more democratic membership, a position which would allow Brazil to more effectively bargain with the other great powers it measures itself against.

In Foreign Minister Amorim's remarks to the Second National conference on foreign policy and international politics in Brasilia in 2007, he highlighted this historic tradition of multilateral diplomacy in the international arena. Brazil was also one of the founding members of the U.N., supposedly considered for a permanent seat on the Security Council. Brazil has been working to reform the post World War II power structure enshrined in the composition of the U.N. ever since.[6] Brazil actively participates in the U.N. as a means of elevating its international profile, having participated in 30 U.N. peacekeeping missions and served a record of nine times as a rotating member of the Security Council.

Finally, Brazil's massive economy demands a long term foreign trade policy. To quote Amorim again, "Credibility, consistency, and coordination capacity are attributes that are indispensable for being able to engage in meaningful dialogue with the international community.[7] Their trade policy has been one of the key elements in national development. In the post colonial period up until the late 19th century, exports, helped by high global prices for primary goods, provided much of the state income.[8] Brazil, like the rest of the region, followed a policy of comparative advantage, focusing principally on the export of agricultural and mineral products. First sugar then gold, coffee and dairy products were produced for mass exportation until the Wall St. financial crash of 1929 destroyed the world economy.

The loss of large portions of their global market led many to conclude that Brazil should diversify and industrialize its economy to avoid a similar depression in the future. Urban industrialists wanted high external tariffs and support from the government to protect their new industries from outside competition while the agricultural producers favored low tariffs and foreign investment. Between the competing views, the industrialists won and Brazil began its own period of government sponsored ISI.[9]

The decision to implement a national industrialization process was based on two factors, one social the other economic. Socially, the depression had caused the loss of jobs in rural areas as markets for agricultural products disappeared abroad. This created a general trend of rural to urban migration. The increase in urban populations created social pressures on the government to resolve the poverty and urban unemployment caused by these migrations. This, coupled with collapse of foreign markets set the stage for the next period of national industrialization. Import substitution industrialization provided a solution to both of these problems.[10] The Vargas administration followed a policy of economic nationalism that led to, among other things, the creation of the state-owned petroleum company, Petrobras, which has grown into one of the most sophisticated oil companies in the world.[11]

The industrialization process led to rapid economic growth but also came with persistent balance of payment problems.[12] Overspending led to the accumulation of foreign debt and inflation at home. This trend eventually led to another recession during the 1980s and a subsequent change of macroeconomic policy. As in other countries in the region, Brazil adopted a neoliberal economic model in the 1990s under which it began privatizing state industries.[13] The policies continued under Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso and the current President Lula da Silva.

By Nathan Gill – Southern Affairs

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[1] Amorim, Celso. Brazil's Multilateral Diplomacy: A Tribute to Rui Barbosa - Remarks by Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations at the Second National Conference on Foreign Policy and International Politics. Brasilia 5 Nov. 2007. [2] The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. Online. [3] Atkins, George Pope. Handbook of Research on the International Relations of Latin America and the Caribbean. 2001. [4] Vanden and Prevost 2002: 487. [5] Finan, John. “Argentina.” In Latin American Foreign Policy: An Analysis. eds. Davis, Harold Eugene and Larman C. Wilson. Johns Hopkins U Press Baltimore: 1975: 264 – 265. [6] Amorim, Celso. Brazil's Multilateral Diplomacy: A Tribute to Rui Barbosa - Remarks by Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations at the Second National Conference on Foreign Policy and International Politics. Brasilia 11 May 2007. [7] Ibid. [8] Bulmer-Thomas, Victor, John H. Coatsworth, y Roberto Cortés Conde, eds. The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America: The Colonial Era and the Short Nineteenth Century. vol. 1. Cambridge University Press: New York 2006: 451. [9] See section on open and closed regionalism above. [10] Vanden and Prevost: 486. [11] The Economist. "A big oil discovery." 12 Feb. 2008. Economist Intelligence Unit ViewsWire. 11 Apr. 2008. [12] Vanden and Prevost: 495. [13] See Chapter for more detailed discussion of neoliberal economic theory and the Washington Consensus.

April 14, 2008

Brazilian Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

In this next section we will discuss Brazil's foreign policy. As we mentioned earlier, Brazil is unique among its neighbors, representing roughly half of the continent physically, economically, and in population, it is also the only nation in South America who is a major world player outside the region.[1] This fact is in large part due to its professional diplomatic service and the clear articulation of national foreign policy. Accordingly, any discussion of Brazil's current foreign policy must take into consideration its relevant traditions. We will ask the same three questions in this section as we used in the last section on Argentina: 1) Who are the relevant actors in the creation of national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within? 2) What are the relevant historic foreign policies? 3) What is the current foreign policy?

1) Who are the relevant actors in the creation of Brazil's national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within?

Brazil is a federal republic with 26 states and one federal district. Its most recent Constitution of 1988 creates a division of power between an Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch. The executive has the authority to appoint ministers and conduct foreign policy but is limited by Congressional review.[2] On national defense issues the president is obligated to consult with the Council of the Republic[3] and the National Defense Council,[4] and the Congress must authorize declarations of war. The Congress has the sole authority to supervise and control foreign trade but its exercise is controlled by the Minister of Finance, a presidential appointee.[5] The Congress also has the final say, "to decide conclusively on international treaties, agreements or international acts which result in charges or commitments that go against the national property.[6]

The Constitution also stipulates the principles that govern international relations in Article 4, these are: "national independence; prevalence of human rights; self-determination of the peoples; non-intervention; equality among the States; defense of peace; peaceful settlement of conflicts; repudiation of terrorism and racism; cooperation among peoples for the progress of mankind; granting of political asylum." Finally, the Constitution dictates that Brazil shall "seek the economic, political, social and cultural integration of the peoples of Latin America."[7]

In practice most of Brazil's foreign policy is decided by the President and his cabinet. There are 30 members of the President's cabinet, including 23 Ministries and seven other cabinet level offices. Foreign policy is largely concentrated in the Ministry of External Relations which has the responsibility of "advising the President of the Republic of Brazil on the formulation and execution of Brazilian foreign policy,"[8] but it shares some foreign policy responsibilities with the Ministry of Finance and Defense. The appointment of cabinet ministers has traditionally been used to allow the president to form a working coalition of the major political parties to help pass executive sponsored legislation.[9] The President of Brazil is Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He was first elected in 2002 and won reelection in 2006. He is one of the founding members of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Worker's Party) and a longtime labor leader.

Public opinion does not play as important a role in the articulation of foreign policy in Brazil as it does in Argentina, however, public and private interest groups still play an influential role in Brazilian politics. One of the strongest interest groups in Brazil is the Sāo Paolo State Federation of Industries (FIESP), a business federation that represents almost half of the nation's industry. The group is so influential that they are normally consulted by the president when he selects the finance and planning ministers, they are also consulted on important matters of the economy.[10] Other strong labor unions include the General Federation of Workers (CGT) and the Central Union of Workers (CUT) founded in part by Brazil's current President Lula. All of these trade unions are capable of exerting influence on policy decisions on a national level. Other important interest groups include the banking sector, the public employees, the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (Landless Movement), the fazendeiros (landowners), student and religious groups.[11]

By Nathan Gill – Southern Affairs

Related Articles
Brazilian Foreign Policy: Traditions
Brazilian Foreign Policy: 2008

[1] See Chapter 3 Brazilian Hegemony. [2] Art. 48 of the Brazilian Constitution establishes that the National Congress has the authority to decide issues related to "national, regional and sectorial plans and programmes of development," "boundaries of the national territory, air and maritime space and property of the Union," " to decide conclusively on international treaties, agreements or international acts which result in charges or commitments that go against the national property and to authorize the President of the Republic to declare war, to make peace and to permit foreign forces to pass through the national territory or remain therein temporarily, with the exception of the cases provided by a supplementary law." [3] Article 89 of the Brazilian Constitution establishes the Council of the Republic, "a higher body for consultation by the President of the Republic, and its members are: the Vice-President of the Republic; the President of the Chamber of Deputies; the President of the Federal Senate; the majority and the minority leaders in the Chamber of Deputies; the majority and the minority leaders in the Federal Senate; the Minister of Justice; six born Brazilian citizens, with over thirty-five years of age, two of which appointed by the President of the Republic, two elected by the Federal Senate and two elected by the Chamber of Deputies, all with a term of office of three years, the re-appointment being prohibited." [4] Article 91 of the Brazilian Constitution establishes the National Defense Council, a consultation body of the President of the Republic on matters related to national sovereignty and the defense of the democratic state, and the following participate in it as natural members: the Vice-President of the Republic; the President of the Chamber of Deputies; the President of the Federal Senate; the Minister of Justice; the Minister of Defense; the Minister of External Relations; the Minister of Planning; the Commanders of the Navy, Army and Air Force. [5] Art 237 of the Brazilian Constitution. [6] Art. 49 of the Brazilian Constitution. [7] Art. 4 of the Brazilian Constitution. [8] Ministry of External Relations website. 10 Apr. 2008 . [9] Vanden and Prevost: 501. [10] Ibid: 504. [11] Ibid:506.

Latin America News Review

(Apr. 14, 2008) Here are some of the big issues to follow this week around Latin America.

The EU begins a visit to Bolivia Monday to help mediate in the conflict over the new national constitution; the lower eastern half of the country has threatened secession over the current draft.

Ecuador and Colombia renewed the cross-border verbal sniping with President Correa's critical comments in Mexico, to which the Colombian government leveled the harsher criticism, acussing Correa of contradictions, saying the government had foreknowledge of Reyes movements and was not unaware of his presence in Ecuador. Normalization of bilateral relations will probably not happen this week.

Ecuador's President also called for the creation of a new Organization of Latin American States during his visit to Mexico (perhaps similar to the seemingly defunct South American one) based on the Grupo de Rio. Correa is upset over what he calls U.S. manipulation of the special meeting of the Organization of American States last month over Colombia's cross border strike.

The rising cost of food across the region provoked riots in Haiti last week almost on top of the IMF and World Bank meetings where the heads of both organizations warned of mass starvation if nothing is done. The events are bound to cause a ripple in the governments of hard hit countries. The controversy may also encourage Brazil and developing countries to relaunch WTO talks with the hopes of eliminating farm subsidies in developed countries.

Finally, Brazil's National Petroleum Agency President Haroldo Lima sent shares for Petrobras on the New York and Sāo Paolo stock markets soaring when he "unofficially" announced that the newly discovered oil fields off Brazil's coast could contain as much as 33 million barrels of oil.

By Nathan Gill - Southern Affairs

April 13, 2008

Argentina's Foreign Policy: 2008

What is Argentina's current foreign policy?

To understand Argentina's current foreign policy it is necessary to understand the economic crisis of 2001 and its effect on what we are calling the 'current' policies of former President Nestor Kirchner and his wife, the current President, Cristina Fernandez.

As we mentioned in the last section, the government of Carlos Menem embraced open market liberalization, influenced by the neoliberal policies of the Washington Consensus which, it is claimed, were responsible for the financial crisis of 2001.[24] Accordingly, subsequent administrations, have tried to distance Argentina from both the policies and institutions of the Washington led financial institutions while balancing the realities of Argentina’s public debt and the need for foreign investment at home.

The economic stimulus program begun by Kirchner has required increased government spending and the need to look for new sources of foreign investment, all while not appearing too cozy with the traditional international financial system. Within this context the government has articulated and pursued a series of bilateral and multilateral foreign policy goals.

Bilateral foreign policy is to continue to demand sovereignty over the Falkland/Malvinas islands with Britain as discussed earlier, to deepen strategic alliances with Brazil in all respects, strengthen the strategic alliance with Chile, establish a special relationship with Mexico, and achieve a mature relationship with the US.[25] On top of these stated goals Argentina has dealt extensively with Venezuela, with Chile over a number of issues from commerce to borders, with Uruguay over the protests against the paper mill; and with Bolivia and the possibility of increasing energy supplies.

During Nestor Kirchner’s term in office Argentina signed a total of 208 bilateral treaties.[26] The following table details the regional emphasis placed by Argentina on opening trade with countries in the region.[27] As seen in the table, Latin America and the Caribbean have received the most attention during this period. Within the Latin American region, Chile represents the country with the highest number of bilateral agreements signed (30), followed by Venezuela (27), and Bolivia (23). The 27 agreements signed between Argentina and Venezuela represent 25 percent of the total agreements ever signed between them. Nueva Mayoría, en base al Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comercio Internacional y Culto de la Argentina.

The multilateral agenda items can be further subdivided into two groups, regional and global, but both are used to promote Argentina's primary goal of seeking a more equitable international order.[28] Specifically this means,

"prioritiz[ing] the integration of Argentina into the World through consensus; oriented towards strengthening international law, the promotion of values associated with international peace, democratic forms of government, respect for human rights, a more balanced system of commerce, a better distribution of the benefits of globalization, and a democratization of the decision making system in international organizations."[29]

Argentina’s official regional policy objectives are to:

"Advocate the opening of the country to the world in a realistic manner, in a framework of deepening regional integration – in particular through MERCOSUR – applying flexible negotiating criteria, in accordance with the international circumstantial context, with the objective of strongly reestablishing the credibility, trust, and foresight of our country."[30]

These policies have been difficult to implement in practice and have often been superseded by internal political conflict that inevitably has spilled over into the foreign policy realm. For example, although Argentina specifically seeks to strengthen its strategic alliance with Chile, President Kirchner has been unwilling to raise the price of combustibles internally, leading to an over-demand for natural gas. Unable to satisfy both national consumption and fulfill its supply agreements with Chile, Kirchner has repeatedly surprised Chilean politicians with abrupt announcements of gas shortages and price hikes.[31]

The paper mill dispute between Argentina and Uruguay is another international conflict whose progression has largely been driven by public opinion. Even though a MERCOSUR decision ruled on Sept. 6, 2006 that Kirchner had not done enough to reopen international roads during the protests, he refused to take definitive action.[32] The issue was then sent to the World Trade Organization (WTO)[33] where both sides hope to resolve the conflict definitively. Interestingly enough, while the dispute between the two countries does not help Argentina “strengthen strategic alliances with neighboring countries” (point VII Foreign Policy Agenda), Kirchner’s use of MERCOSUR and WTO arbitration reflects his desire to support multilateralism through active involvement in international organizations (point II of foreign policy agenda).

Perhaps the most striking example of how internal politics has affected foreign policy was the decision to pay off Argentina’s debt to the IMF in full and transfer the balance to Venezuelan creditors. As mentioned, the issue of debt repayment was at the center of the political collapse of Argentina’s government between 2001 and 2003 and was one of the most controversial items voted on in the 2003.[34] The opportunity to transfer US$3.1 billion from the IMF to Venezuela allowed Kirchner to symbolically thumb his nose at the IMF and resolve his country's problems through regional cooperation (point III of foreign policy agenda). The decision to go with Chávez demonstrated a certain amount of shared support between the two left-of-center governments for a new international order not based on Washington (point I of foreign policy agenda).[35] It is worth noting that Kirchner has, in some ways, sacrificed the “maturing” of his relationship with the US (point IX of foreign policy agenda) for a closer alliance with regional governments like Hugo Chávez’s and Evo Morales’ (point III and IV of foreign policy agenda). Yet this is understandable given Argentina’s desire to promote regional integration in South America and Washington’s continued lack of any distinguishable policy toward the region.

Finally, the sovereignty issue with Great Britain over the Falkland/Malvinas, Georgias South, and Sandwich South islands has gained greater attention under Kirchner than at any point since the failed war in 1982. The Economist views Kirchner's "upping the ante" as a cynical attempt to garner support ahead of the 2007 elections.[36] Under Kirchner Argentina stopped all charter flights between the island and the mainland, refused to send scientist to the bi-national commission that decides fishing licenses, sent 15 letters of protest to the British Embassy, and used the OAS and the UN as vehicles to attack Great Britain over its continued control of the islands. However, the dispute is not entirely political, the island is the potential source of an estimated 500,000 barrels of oil a day and an annual income at US$40 million per year in marine resources.[37]


Based on an analysis of both the formal aspects of Argentina’s foreign policy, the issues that have arisen during Nestor Kirchner’s one term as president, as well as the historical context of Argentina’s role in the region and world at large, it is possible to draw a number of conclusions. Generally it seems that Fernandez and the Kirchner political team are primarily concerned with public opinion and "recovering" Argentina's former status and influence in the region.

The emphasis on public opinion is seen in willingness to spite close national allies, like Chile or Uruguay, for fear of damaging the administrations' image at home. In terms of specific policy conclusions there are four. First, that President Kirchner and his administration view MERCOSUR as the vehicle that will help Argentina meet the challenges of the 21st century. Second, that they believe MERCOSUR has the ability to counter-balance other regional blocks in the future, creating an economic and political force capable of influencing global events. Third, that they are working to make sure that Argentina is a leader within this block. And finally, that although the government realizes the difficult position of Argentina’s current social and economic conditions, it is determined to maintain Argentina’s political independence regardless of that cost.

The first point that Kirchner and members of his government view MERCOSUR as the way forward, is visible throughout Argentina’s foreign policy agenda, in comments made by high level officials and the frequent use of MERCOSUR in efforts to achieve its foreign policy goals. With 60 percent of the bilateral trade agreements signed during Kirchner’s administration dealing with Latin America countries and five of the 16 official foreign policy objectives dealing specifically with MERCOSUR members and associate members, it is clear that Argentina values the region. Argentina wants to expand and diversify its market base, ensure a stable supply of energy, and create enough internal stability to attract investors. It hopes that MERCOSUR and its associate members can help with the first two points which will hopefully create the internal stability necessary to achieve the third.

The second point, that the Fernandez de Kirchner administration believes that MERCOSUR has the ability to counter-balance other regional blocks, was evident at the IV Summit of the Americas in 2005 when MERCOSUR leaders broke with the US and 29 other OAS member countries over disagreements concerning the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).[38]

The third point, that Argentina’s government hopes to position the nation as a leader within the block, is evident from both Argentina's historic role as the second largest country and economy in South America and its current initiative within MERCOSUR and South America. Finally, the current government of Argentina values its political independence even at the expense of other issues. This Peronist tradition can be seen in Argentina’s criticism of the Washington Consensus, participation in MERCOSUR as a counter-weight to the U.S., and its reentry into the Non-Aligned Movement are indicative of an independent stance. Former President Kirchner supported Venezuela's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council knowing that the U.S. was worried about Chavez's support of Iran. At a time when the unresolved issue of nuclear armament in Iran made the future member's stance on such issues especially relevant and that the US has labeled it part of the Axis of Evil, the vote suggested that Argentina was willing to oppose the US's strategic interests as well as its economic ones. However, this loyalty to Venezuela is not unlimited, when the Venezuelan Ambassador in Buenos Aires Roger Capella convinced the then Argentinean Deputy Secretary for Social Habitat Housing Luis D’Elía to organize a street protest against a court decision to charge the former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven others Iranian authorities for the bombing of the Nov. 2006 Jewish-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) community center Kirchner’s protest to Caracas and the subsequent withdrawal of Ambassador Capella were a sign that administration is very protective of Argentinean sovereignty, whether in the strategic, economic, or political realm and will use any resource necessary to maintain it.

By Nathan Gill – Southern Affairs

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Argentina's Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions
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[24] Jozami, Ángel. Argentina, la destrucción de una nación. Santiago de Chile: La Tercera – Mondadori: 2003: 131 – 158. [25] Argentina Foreign Ministry Website. [26] Nueva Mayoria 17 May 2006 website. [27] Ibid. [28] Argentina Foreign Ministry. [29] Ibid. Translation by author. [30] Ibid. [31] La Nación de Buenos Aires 4 Dec. 2006 EMOL website. [32] The Economist. 5 Oct. 2006 website. [33] Organización Mundial de Comercio (OMC) in Spanish. [34] Hale, Briony. “Elections rock Argentina's fragile recovery” BBC. London, England: Apr. 28, 2003. Accessed on Nov. 5, 2006. [35] The Economist 26 Oct. 2006. [36] The Economist 13 July 2006 website. [37] Ibid. [38] PINR 2006 website.

April 11, 2008

Argentina's Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the relevant historic issues in Argentina's foreign policy?

The historic conditions of Argentina’s foreign policy can be divided into three groups; strategic, economic, and political. Strategically, Argentina has been preoccupied with containing Brazil and Chiles' influence in the southern cone, Perú in the Northwest, settling border conflicts with Chile, and regaining sovereignty of the Falkland/Malvinas, Georgias Sur, and Sandwich Sur islands from the United Kingdom.[5] Economically, Argentina has based their foreign policy on attracting foreign investment and finding markets for their export products. Politically, Argentina has taken an independent stance in international relations and fought for sovereign equality between nations.

Strategic Policy

Since the founding of the republic in the early 19th century Argentina’s foreign policy has consistently sought to define its territorial claims and become a leader in regional interstate politics. These two broad goals are still relevant to the government of Fernandez de Kirchner and provide a critical context for understanding current foreign policy. One of the most continuous aspects of Argentina’s strategic policy has been its willingness to use force in territorial disputes.[6] Argentina has threatened or used military force against Brazil on its north eastern borders, Chile in the southwest, Peru in the northwest and Great Britain in the south Atlantic. Argentina has supported foreign governments in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay to help provide an “extra-national” border between Brazil and Peru.[7] In Bolivia, Argentina supported Chile against the possibility of a united Peruvian-Bolivian nation in 1839, preferring an independent Bolivia to contain Lima’s influence in north-western Argentina and in 1943 it reportedly helped overthrow the Pro-Allied government of Gen. Peñaranda to maintain a "friendly" government in the context of Argentina's position during World War II.

There also exists a historic rivalry between Argentina and Brazil. Between the years of 1825-1828 Argentina supported the Uruguayan independence movement of the “Immortal Thirty-Three” to contain Brazil's influence in the Rio Platte basin. Then in 1844 the two became involved in the War of the Triple Alliance in Paraguay. In the 20th Century, efforts to contain Brazil’s power increased through the Second World War due to the military power imbalance created by US wartime aid to Brazil which led to an arms race between the two countries during the Cold War which Argentina eventually lost.[8]

The Falkland/Malvinas conflict is a good example of Argentina’s willingness to use both diplomatic and military tools to achieve strategic goals.[9] Argentina’s attempts to reclaim the islands are an interesting example of the options available to a modern nation state in the realm of international politics. After losing the initial battle in 1833, more than one hundred years passed before Argentina took up the issue again in international forums. They began by lodging a protest with the OAS and sponsoring the Panama Declaration of 1939 asserting its territorial claims over the islands.[10] When Argentina joined the UN in 1945 it reasserted its claims to the islands thus initiating another round in the territorial dispute on the international stage. In 1973 immediately upon joining the Non-Aligned Movement Argentina won the support of the majority of member countries condemning British sovereignty, when none of these diplomatic efforts achieved their desired results, Argentina invaded the islands in 1982.[11] Even after a total defeat that collapsed the military government, Argentina has continued to pursue sovereignty over the islands. The current government has resorted again to the broad diplomatic efforts of previous years using numerous international organizations and bilateral measures to pressure Great Britain into some sort of deal. However, civilian opposition to Argentine rule complicates Argentina's legal position.[12] As a British diplomat said, "We believe it would be morally unacceptable to force [residents of the Falkland/Malvinas Islands] to change their government."[13]

Finally, overlapping Argentinean, British, and Chilean claims in the Antarctic are another source of potential conflict in the South Atlantic. Given the generally accepted precedent of mineral and fishing rights up to a 200 mile (322 km) offshore area, these territorial disputes have the potential to resurface when scarce natural resources force these nations to exploit the area in the future.

Economic Foreign Policy

Economically, Argentina’s foreign policy can be subdivided into four periods roughly related to governing economic theories; comparative advantage, import substitution industrialization (ISI) neoliberalism, and the current 'post-neoliberal populism.' In all of these systems agricultural exports have played a fundamental role in the economy no matter which model was in vogue. Today they continue to account for 80 percent of the nation’s export earnings.[14] This has led to an oscillating love/hate relationship with Great Britain and later the United States. The stock market crash of 1929 and the global depression of the 1930s brought an end to the policy of comparative advantage and the beginning of the period of import substitution industrialization (ISI) as well as a political backlash that led to 40 years of closed economic industrialization.[15] President Juan Perón coined the phrase "Tercera Posición" in the 1940s to describe his economic foreign policy that rejected the pressures of both the capitalist and Marxist economic models of the post WWII and Cold war era. Instead of allying the country with either the USA or the USSR, he sought to industrialize the country while at the same time increase regional integration as a means of balancing the super-powers economic hegemony.[16] In 1946 Argentina signed bilateral economic agreements with Brazil over the free use of the Rio Uruguay; with Chile promoting economic, financial, and cultural relations; and with Bolivia promoting economic and commercial relations.[17] In the early 1950s Argentina began another cycle of bilateral treaty negotiations with neighboring countries. In 1953 Argentina signed bilateral economic agreements with Chile (Acta de Unión), Paraguay (Tratado de Unión Económica), Nicaragua (Convenio de Complementación con Nicaragua) and Ecuador (Acta de Unión Argentino-Ecuatoriana); all designed to coordinate development policies between the respective nations. In 1954 Argentina continued to pursue closer bilateral economic relations with its neighbors by signing the Convenio de Unión Economica with Bolivia and a series of exchange agreements with Colombia and Brasil.[18] On a multilateral basis Perón proposed the economic integration of Latin America at the 5th reunion of the UN ECLAC in April of 1953.

After several decades of political instability the military took control of Argentina in 1976. They hoped to solve the problem of nearly half a century of political and social unrest by eliminating state intervention in the market as a means of de-politicizing the economy.[19] According to this logic, a free market, independent of political manipulation, would defuse social tensions by placing responsibility for income distribution in the invisible hands of the market as opposed to competing hands of politicians. This policy reached its zenith after the fall of the military dictatorship during the two terms of Peronist President Carlos Saul Menem (1989—1999) who strongly allied himself with the US and adopted a policy of "automatic alignment."[20]

Political/Legal Foreign Policy

From a political/legal stand point Argentina has preferred to take an independent stance in international relations. Except for a period of alignment with Britain in the 19th and early 20th century and then a brief alignment with the United States (US) during the Menem years (1989-1999), Argentina has not allied itself with the great powers of the world, seeking instead to counter-balance these powers through international and regional pacts with smaller states.[21] Early in its history Argentine diplomats pioneered the international legal doctrine of equality and absolute sovereignty between all nations.[22] The tercera posición established by Perón in the 1940s and 1950s and during his third term in 1974 maintained this tradition. He maintained his neutrality during the Cold War and joined the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1973 as a rejection of the advances of both the USA and the USSR.[23]

Finally, the period between 2001 and the election of President Néstor Kirchner in 2003 was marked by a series of interim governments, massive social protest and an incoherent foreign economic policy. Nestor Kirchner assumed control of a bankrupt country, fraught with corruption and no public confidence in the political class. Since taking control, Kirchner has reverted to the classic pre-Menem Peronist populist economic policies that marked the preceding 50 years of life in Argentina.

By Nathan Gill - Southern Affairs

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[5] Finan, John. “Argentina.” In Latin American Foreign Policy: An Analysis. eds. Davis, Harold Eugene and Larman C. Wilson. Johns Hopkins U Press Baltimore: 1975: 262 – 264. [6] Ibid: 262. [7] Ibid: 264. [8] Ibid: 264 – 265. [9] The conflict includes the Falkland islands, Georgias South, and Sandwich South islands due to their strategic location near the Straits of Magellan and the marine resources found within their territorial waters in the southern Atlantic. The conflict dates back to the European discovery of the Americas and at various points has involved French, British, Spanish, and later Argentinean claims; the current dispute involves Britain and Argentina. Argentina claimed the islands when it achieved independence in 1816 under the right of uti possidetis. However the British invaded in 1833, took control of the island and expelled the Spanish/Argentinean colonies inhabiting the island. Since that time there has been a continued British military and civilian presence there. [10] Organization of American States Website 2006. [11] Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales – C.A.R.I. Website. 2006. [12] According to the UN Declaration on decolonization, former colonies have the right to self-determination and the largely British population has repeatedly voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. Pittman, Howard T. "Geopolitics and Foreign Policy in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile." in Latin American Foreign Policies: Global and Regional Dimensions. Eds. Ferris, Elizabeth G. and Jennie K. Westview Press. Lincoln. Boulder: 1981: 166 – 167. [13] The Economist. Falkland Islands: A new war of words. Buenos Aires. July 13, 2006. Accessed 26 Oct. 2006. [14] The Economist. Venezuela and Argentina: The Chávez play. Buenos Aires 26 Oct. 2006. Accessed on Oct. 26, 2006. [15] Bethell, Leslie, ed. Historia de América Latina vol. 15. Cambridge University Press, 1990. Trans. Crítica Barcelona: 1998: 3 – 4. [16] Vacs, Aldo C. “Argentina.” In Politics of Latin America: The Power Game. eds. Vanden, Harry E. and Gary Prevost. England: Oxford University Press: 2002: 406. [17] C.A.R.I. Website. 2006. [18] Ibid. [19] Ibid. [20] Rodríguez Yebra, Martín. “Kirchner Reorients Foreign Policy” La Nación de Buenos Aires. June 15, 2003. Republished in WorldPress.org. Accessed: Oct. 26, 2006. [21] Finan 1975: 266 – 267. [22] In 1868 Canciller Carlos Calvo proposed the “Calvo clause” arguing that foreign nationals did not have the right to seek diplomatic or military support from their home governments for the purposes of private debt collection. This was followed by the Drago Doctrine (named for Luis Drago) of 1902 that extended the Calvo Clause to foreign nations intervening in another country to force the payment of public debts. Finally in 1933, Canciller Saavedra drafted the Anti-War Treaty of Non-Agression and Conciliation and managed to obtain the signatures of Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This firmly established Argentina’s tradition of anti-interventionist/anti-imperialist foreign policy that became typical of presidential administrations in the second half of the 20th century. Finan 1975: 266—277. [23] The Non-Aligned Movement is an international organization founded during the Cold War of countries not formally allied with or against any major power bloc. President Menem withdrew Argentina from the movement at the end of the Cold War, but interestingly, current President Kircher sent a delegation to the 14th International Summit held in Habana, Cuba in September, 2006 as “invited guests.”

April 9, 2008

Argentina's Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Who are the relevant actors in the creation of national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within?

The executive branch controls foreign policy in Argentina. It is composed of six secretaries, 10 ministers, a ministerial chief, and one military liaison; all appointed by the President.[1] While citizens have the right to propose legislation through their provincial representatives, the legislature does not have the right to decide issues related to foreign policy or international treaties. The president has the power to name and remove ministers, ambassadors and consular officers, sign international treaties, and regulate foreign trade through commercial agreements. The president is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces but must consult with the Senate and military high command before deploying military forces.

The current President of Argentina is Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (b.1953), the wife of former president Néstor Kirchner. She is a lawyer and longtime member of the Peronist (PJ) party, before becoming President she was a national senator between 1995 and 1997. Fernández was then elected to the national Chamber of Deputies between 1997 and 2001 and in 2001 was reelected to the national senate where she served until her appointment as president for the period 2007 – 2011.

The foreign policy decision making process involves a complex mixture of internal and external variables. Given the 2001 economic collapse that bankrupt the country, forced over 58 percent of the population into poverty, and led to the overthrow of successive interim presidents, Argentinean politicians are very sensitive to public opinion.[2] This historical context is relevant to the decision making process because it places an unusually high value on public opinion in the arena of foreign policy.

Public opinion is generated through a number of social organizations, provincial governors, government officials, and the media all play an important role in shaping the discourse and conditions that affect general opinion. Labor syndicates like the Confederación General de Trabajo (CGT) and the Movimiento de Trabajadores Argentinos (MTA) play an important role in grass roots mobilizations. Another important factor in the creation of public opinion is the piqueteros. The piqueteros are community groups that take part in social protests, usually in the form of road blocks, to demand better social conditions from the government.[3] The key difference between the syndicates and the piqueteros is that the piqueteros are usually groups or communities of unemployed persons who are more prone to use violence as a means of social protest.[4] However, it is not uncommon for the groups to mix or even take part in the same protests.

By Nathan Gill - Southern Affairs

Painting by Shee, "Le passage et le passion"

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[1] Argentina Foreign Ministry Website. [2] World Bank. Argentina – Crisis and Poverty 2003: A Poverty Assessment. vol. 1: Main Report, no. 26127-AR. 24 July 2003: 3. 4 Nov. 2006. [3] Clarín. Piqueteros: La Cara Oculta del fenómeno. 2002 Accessed 26 Oct. 2006. [4] Clarín. Piqueteros: La Cara Oculta del fenómeno. 2002 Accessed 26 Oct. 2006.