Abel Posse: on Argentina & Mercosur (in english)

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at SPAMsinectis.com.ar
Wed Jun 28 07:45:09 MDT 2000

This is the english translation of an article by Abel Posse on Mercosur and
Argentina that I sent in spanish some days ago.
I am convinced that this opinion can be interesting for the lists.

Argentina / MERCOSUR / Brasil

By Abel Posse*
English Translation: Pablo Malizzia.

Our position towards and in the world.

Suddenly we are, a little perplexed, in a dark bunker. The mythic
convertibility protects us as a jail does. We are frightened that, from one
moment to the other, the giant ombu of MERCOSUR falls down on us

Nevertheless, this is the moment for a major diplomacy with Brazil. We could
never again think about a future without that continental center of gravity.
Argentina, the "austral enclave" must find its way to a real integration
tending to create the cultural-politic-economic pole that our incapable
politic class was unable to imagine so far. The
Era of mercantile diplomacy is over. We entered a new rhythm. The temptation
of locking up ourselves in the “enclave” is very strong, but would be
suicidal. It is imperative to redesign a new policy with Brazil. Our
politicians have betrayed the national project. Now, we will only be saved
by the continental project, in the national-continentalism.

Crisis might shake down those politicians that still hang from mumbling
economists´ skirts.

The state must be rebuilt and a major educational, social, welfare and
defence policy has to be developed. Nothing we shall do as long as we keep
stuck to a dependant and wrong calculation on the strength and intentions
that moves international world.

Only from a consolidated regional pole of politic power we shall face this
new century.

The occidental implotion will reach us, though we have the temptation to
light the bunker with our last candle .

The world of mercantilism creates insecurity for everybody; it is time for
new foundations for communal life to occur. Urges to be freed from a wrong
life philosophy.
In this moment that the senseless mercantile system turbulences worldwide,
our major national parties are put in the obligation to firmly step towards
the politic priority and the imperative reconstruction of the State. These
parties believe that they are alive and ruling. They are not governing, and
they are dying.

Globalization, as a renewed way of North-South domination, showed this last
two years its real face of neo-imperial power: stability in North,
insecurity in South.
MERCOSUR, understood by argentinians as a mere economic instrument, gets in
conflict and suffers the hardest test of its short but shining history.
Argentinian leading class from every sector and opinion became blind to the
dangers of economicistic exclusivitation. They believed in a
“benefactor-o-matic” market, keeper of macro-economic and mercantile order.
Ten years away from that 1989, we find ourselves trapped in the
convertibility bunker, threatened to be once again deported to an
insignificant 36 million-of-excellent-people little market, something that
is irrelevant in the times of consolidation of supra-national regional poles
with clear political will and defined cultural profiles.

We and Brazil.

The relationship with Brazil has always been remote and difficult. From the
Cuenca del Plata agreements, Oscar Camilión management and a new current of
tourist flow, the great encounter of MERCOSUR was possible. However, shortly
after those years of extraordinary growth and consolidation, some essential
differences rises with crisis:

· Argentinians (lets call this way the brief Argentina of power and daily
opposition of the superficial commercial journalism) started to believe that
–understood as a Northern technologic-economic-military hegemony- was an
unbeatable fatality, a laic epiphany. To that “Argentina” seemed clear that
standing docilely by the hegemonic current was a wisdom type known locally
as “pragmatism”. We broke a whole tradition that begun in the 19th century,
consolidated with Roca, Irigoyen, Peron, Illia and that would reach every
one of our civil and military governments up to 1989, although if it only
represented a tic of pride.
For reasons that were purely economicistic more than economic, we dived in
“globalism” as in an unassailable fate. The legendary formidable Argentina,
based on the autonomy of being adventurer of independence, was forgotten by
its leaders and public opinion. We were transformed in a “sticker country”,
follower of others interests and suggestions, that in occasions resulted as
remote and absurd as the mobilization of ships to attack Irak!
And so we paid the highest price: we had to resign to military autonomic
power, ensured in the past by our nuclear capacitation, our missiles and a
reserve towards the pressures for the unilateral disarm of unarmed or
relatively weak ones, this senseless that North imposed to South through its
“unique discourse” as French thinkers define it.
The argentinian leading class –gov as well as opposition- betrayed the
commandment and the legacy of autonomy of the legendary Argentina of Roca,
Irigoyen and Peron, on the name of a “pragmatic economisism” that, as
results clear in the current crisis, covers a formidable North-South
assault, a renewed imperialism revetted of universal reason, with the meager
gods of market and democracy throned as an Absolute Ghost of a texan Hegel.
(Hegel was kidnapped by Marx on late XIX century; In the declining of
present times, world traders are the ones that abuse and appropriate his
totalizing passion)
The fact is that argentinian leaders acted as if they had a unfeasible
country in their hands, one of those cultural and economic-handicapped
countries that can not see themselves as central characters. They never
imagined that the main objective of an alliance with Brazil should go beyond
the mercantile stage. This self un-qualification of the argentinians could
have several origins, but the main ones could be in the Malvinas’ war and in
an erroneous and traumatic transformation of values. Truth is that
argentinian politicians act under guilt complex, as if the “Grand Argentina”
was already

lost. They see the State as a danger and understand democracy as
permissiveness and as the administrative expression of a global general
reason that does not admit anything national but conditionally.

· Brazilians, who lived quite a part of the century blanketed under their
relationship to Saxons, turned in a dissimilar way. Brazilians and
argentinians diverged, precisely when we were consolidating the economic
Different from argentinians, Brazilians move from a previous, irrational,
unarguable and unsalable postulate of grandness. The grandness of a great
and large continental-country. They believe in that Major Politicies that
Nietzsche used to talk about as an ambitious projection to capital
realizations. Brazilians want to reaffirm their national overfilling
enthusiasm, transformed in a national conscience of a triumphant country in
spite of any immediate traumatism. They believe in their worldwide destiny.
They want to be a central character in this Continent as a potency. They
want to project, to be protagonist and to be present in the Atlantic as a
large “Zone of peace and security” that includes the coast countries of
Africa. They think about the need for a dissuasive military force (Atlantic
Project or Solimoes) sharing a conviction similar to the one that Roca as
the rest of the argentinians used to have, before the unilateral shameful
disarming of our Armed Forces occurred. (Should be remarked that
Argentinians didn´t know how to make neither our scientific and technical
advantages in the nuclear field, nor the aero-naval experience we got in
Malvinas, nor our missile and submarine technologies to be respected, not
even by Brazilians)

Differences are deep and previous to MERCOSUR. Argentina never thought (not
the gov nor the opposition that was always feared and silent towards
national decisive matters) that Brazil was convoking us to break through the
mercantile MERCOSUR to associate to the grand policy of creating a
cultural-regional center of power that would become the axis of that Latin
American Union we are all waiting for from the old Bolivar days (the “fake
birth” of our first independence.)

Current crisis

The end of the century marks also the end of a decade of illusions. Our
continent, our South, shows how much “central potencies” have consolidated:
Saxons, Occidental Europe and China/Japan as stable strong zones, capable to
assimilate for their own benefit the financial storms.

Crisis can help us to get conscience of our position towards and in the
world. This last is a reflection that turns imperative after this ten years
of lost economisistic illusions.
To put it short, the main immediate tasks to accomplish with Brazil, the
rest of the members of MERCOSUR and the Latin American continent would be:

· Brazil, Argentina and that eventual Latin-american Union should urgently
board the opportunity of consolidating as a regional-cultural power with
global importance. They would be the first potency in the South
Hemisphere –the preserved hemisphere- and the fourth region in growth
potential in the world, as long as they were able to learn how to strengthen
their economies according to the world scene, relate it to the regional
development, adapting the conducts of current capitalism to the cultural
reality through a wise dialectic of openings and necessary defenses.

· For this it is imperative to propitiate a reorientation of the production
and consumption criteria, preserve a relationship with nature and the
ecological needs and create the different regional tempos of development,
according to the cultures and their authentic needs. This main reflection we
owe ourselves should adapt economy to cultures, and to our own vision of
development and quality of life.

· This same adaptation to reality should be done in order to accomplish the
needs of our integrated territorial spaces, as well as our presence in the
large sea spaces, to ensure our protagonic role in this quarter of globe,
although many pseudo-politicians still believe that it should be developed,
used or enjoyed according somebody else’s criteria, the one from the
respectable inventive people from the North…

We must create our own language of control, prevention and usage of
technology; developments that fit our need for affirmation in military,
spatial, naval, industrial, scientific and educational fields, among others.
This jumping would mean the birth of this vicarial, mimic Continent of ours,
to name ourselves a great region of nations. This would be as going through
the endless and simpatico nasciturus to the being.

Argentina is the only socially integrated country in our Continent,
basically due to Sarmiento’s educational stile and the revolutionary
equality of chances opened by Peron. Argentina’s ethnical facts as its
quality of life are opposed to the ones from almost every other country in
our America. Nevertheless, it is precisely from this advantage that we must
know how to accompany and to share the building process of a brand new
society that could get to be the base of an integration of a whole dived
Latin America. To this, we must face bravely the necessity of propitiate
different ways of living and development, sometimes even into a same
country; We also must know how to alternate priorities on the development,
some times centered on the individual, some times centered in the community,
but certainly abandoning the criteria of “monoteism” and exlusion that the
policies conceived in the XIX century had.

National parties must give an answer urgentely. Market peronism demonstrated
that, far from a temporary tactic, emerged that stormy 1989 of
hiperinflation and worlwide collapse of the socialist system, it was
actually transformed in a foreign strategy opposed to the central doctrine
of justicialism.

In these times, when the ending of an era is occurring, it is pertinent to
bravely design the profile of a national-continentalist policy that can
fulfill our interests and fit our cultural reality. We must conceive our own
world of welfare, creating a life according to a spiritual dimension and
self stylistic characters that we can no longer keep denying

As we see, crisis could be the starting point of that major betting we have
been escaping from: to be born, and finally be. To be the way we want to be,
and in our own space of culture and sovereignty

* Abel Posse is writer and Argentinian Ambassador in Peru.

N:Fernández Baraibar;Julio
FN:Fernández Baraibar Julio
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