While in Europe the radical precursors of Argentina’s most venerable party were historically often nicknamed “radish” (not only because the two words sound alike, but also because they resembled this root vegetable in political terms as being red in color. outside and white inside), maybe not something the same about the here and now of our current government?

On the one hand, the accelerated withdrawal of condemnation of human rights violations in Venezuela, following the exit from the Lima Group earlier this year, in conjunction with the vote at the United Nations to highlight Israel. for the unrest in the Gaza Strip, marks a tendency to adopt more radical foreign policy positions. But the radish metaphor also applies to domestic economic policy which can look quite red on the outside in various aspects such as the fierce rhetoric against the debt of a wing of the ruling coalition, the export ban. beef and the insistent overrun of subsidies (more or less funded by the commodity boom), but the internal fiscal core is increasingly white – or rather black in the sense that the fiscal accounts are turning from red to black. In the first third of the year, salaries, pensions, and social benefits for state employees were all increased by just over half the rate of inflation, with almost no money left. been printed this year, unlike well over two trillion pesos in 2020.

And yet the current situation is no more red and white than black and white – it is both more complex and unstable than that. Starting with foreign policy, the drift of the Western world, as evidenced by the clear bias in favor of Sino-Russian vaccines, is not accompanied by an open confrontation with the United States as in previous years of default.

The key vaccine issue (last year’s Pfizer negotiations belatedly becoming a hot topic this week) reflects this ambiguity. Argentina is more than willing to accept the donation of surplus American vaccines, but at the same time insists on their transport by Aerolíneas Argentinas to disguise their origin. Meanwhile, President Alberto Fernández was trapped in harsh words against Pfizer by PRO President Patricia Bullrich’s brash assertion that the government attempted to take bribes out of a vaccine deal ( later retracted to insist on a crony middleman) while other opposition and media critics argued that the government threw away the opportunity to have 14 million doses already last November (a questionable claim, given the delays in the world). Fernández offered the friendlier explanation that Pfizer had deliberately set unacceptable terms because they predicted that an upcoming vaccine export ban to the United States would make any contract impossible to honor, but his words were lost under sharply titled headlines. more hostile. In general, critics of vaccine management should first consult a complex global context (so it’s surprising to read that Australia has lower vaccination percentages than here even though it admittedly needs less so far. now) but that does not prevent the government from offering a more comprehensive explanation of the Pfizer impasse than the single word “neglect” in the act of Congress.

As for the fiscal orthodoxy that so far prevails under the guise of extremist rhetoric, this may well not be viable in the face of two formidable factors – the second wave of the pandemic and more opinion polls. in addition negative. There are mid-terms in a few months (a fact this government would be the last to ignore) and increasing state wages, pensions and social benefits to just half the rate of inflation is doomed to hurt popularity, even if counting on a steady sum at the end of the month is no small pity, given the horrific uncertainty so many others face – a national opinion poll this week showed 72% government disapproval (exceeding 70% in the class spectrum). The recovery in the private sector could compensate, but it has been interrupted by the second wave which is sure to stimulate public spending.

The near quarantine ends tomorrow but the short period chosen conspires against the credibility of the strategy, given the mismatch between restrictions and results (which can only increase with the decreasing average age of coronavirus patients keeping the intensive care beds occupied longer) – that makes for a week of tight restrictions accompanied by disastrous data, as we just saw, with quite possibly the reverse to follow. Three more weeks for the winter, but in every way except the weather, it’s already here.

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