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Argentina Declines BRICS Membership, Embracing Westward Ties Under President Milei

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(CTN News) – Argentina has officially declared its decision to abstain from joining the BRICS bloc of emerging economies, in alignment with a commitment made during the electoral campaign by the recently inaugurated far-right President, Javier Milei.

Elected with a promise to foster stronger alliances with Western nations, Milei emphasized his divergence in foreign policy from the preceding administration.

In a letter dated December 22 and subsequently disclosed on Friday, President Milei conveyed Argentina’s current stance to the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Within the correspondence, Milei underscored that the prevailing circumstances did not present an opportune moment for Argentina’s inclusion in the BRICS alliance.

President Milei articulated, “My approach to foreign affairs differs significantly from that of the previous government. In this regard, certain decisions implemented by the prior administration will undergo thorough review.”

This declaration signifies a notable shift in Argentina’s diplomatic trajectory, as the new administration under Milei reevaluates and recalibrates the nation’s international relationships.

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President Milei’s Radical Reforms: Shifting Argentina’s Economic and Foreign Policy Paradigm

Argentina’s newly appointed president, Javier Milei, a self-proclaimed anarcho-libertarian, has been at the forefront of implementing a series of radical economic reforms since assuming office in December.

In a marked departure from the previous administration led by centre-left President Alberto Fernandez, Milei has articulated his intention to realign Argentina’s foreign policy, shifting away from the prior emphasis on building connections with other developing nations.

Former President Fernandez had actively advocated for Argentina’s inclusion in the BRICS group, seeing it as a strategic move to enhance economic relations with the bloc, whose member nations collectively contribute to approximately 25 percent of the global GDP.

Argentina had been on track to become a member on January 1, 2024.

However, under the new leadership, President Milei is steering the country towards a foreign policy that aligns more closely with Western nations. This significant shift represents a departure from the previous administration’s focus on ties with emerging economies.

In just three weeks in office, Milei has already implemented sweeping changes, signaling a rapid transformation in Argentina’s economic and diplomatic approach.

Reporting from the capital city of Buenos Aires, Al Jazeera correspondent Monica Yanakiew noted the substantial impact of Milei’s tenure, highlighting the swift and comprehensive alterations that have characterized the initial weeks of his presidency.

These changes underscore Milei’s commitment to reshaping Argentina’s economic and foreign policy landscape in alignment with his anarcho-libertarian ideology.

President Milei’s Foreign Policy Dilemma

During his campaign, President Milei vehemently criticized countries governed by communism, singling out China and the economically influential neighbor, Brazil.

He pledged to pivot towards greater alignment with “free nations of the West,” citing Israel and the United States as key partners in his envisioned economic and foreign policy strategy.

However, in his recent communication to the leaders of the BRICS nations, Milei conveyed Argentina’s decision to refrain from joining the group while expressing the intent to “intensify bilateral ties.”

The emphasis is on bolstering relationships with individual nations to enhance “trade and investment flows” without committing to the broader BRICS alliance.

Despite these foreign policy maneuvers, Milei is encountering significant resistance domestically. Powerful organized labor groups in Argentina are pushing back against the president’s ambitious program of economic “shock therapy” and deregulation.

This comes at a time when Argentina is grappling with soaring inflation rates, adding complexity to Milei’s economic agenda.

The internal challenges underscore the delicate balancing act the new administration must navigate as it seeks to implement transformative policies amid domestic opposition.

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