Javier Milei, Argentina’s president-elect, has won his landslide at a tough time for the world and a cataclysmic time for his country.
I’m not sure he can save the former, but he is showing every sign of being able to save the latter. Hence it was inevitable that the ‘liberal’ media would have little time for what they describe as a “right-wing extremist”.
They sneer at both Milei’s libertine private life and his libertarian economics, although so far no one has found a direct link between the two. The unmarried president-elect does seem to favour a rather exuberant lifestyle, professing his predilection for threesomes and expertise in tantric sex.
I don’t know enough about Argentine politics to judge how such an apparent lack of inhibitions affects electoral success. Judging by Milei’s having run away with 56 per cent of the vote, a certain amount of naughty frisson doesn’t hurt there.
Since so far Milei has had no time to act on his electoral promises, it’s on the basis of his pronouncements that he is tarred with the ‘extremist’ brush. Let’s rinse that brush in turpentine and see what Milei actually proposes to do. In the process, one hopes we’ll get a clearer understanding of what right-wing extremism means to our opinion formers.
Milei’s first concern is Argentina’s economy, such as it is. The country is paying a heavy price for decades of left-wing Peronist policies, and it’s bending under the weight. Both inflation and interest rates are running into triple digits, and the national debt into more digits than I have in my hands and feet.
About half the population are impoverished, and the benefits they receive quickly melt away in horrendous inflation. The peso has the international value of brown wrapping paper, bringing to mind the 19th century Russian satirist Saltykov-Shchedrin. That wit quipped that “all you can get for the rouble in Europe is a punch in the snout”. Milei could say the same thing about the peso.
By any sensible standard Argentina is an economic basket case, and Milei, an economist by trade, knows how to get it out of that wicker conveyance. In fact, everything he proposes makes one think that Milton Friedman has come back as Javier Milei.
For a start, he intends to underwrite massive privatisation. “Everything that can be in the private sector will be in the private sector,” says Milei, and that also goes for the state-owned media outlets that he correctly sees as propaganda mouthpieces.
He will also abolish the peso and shift the economy to the US dollar, Hong Kong style. That will obviate the need for a central bank because Argentina’s interest rates will be set by the Fed.
During the campaign Milei often brandished a chainsaw, and he intends to take that implement to the big state, by cutting it down to size. He plans to slash public spending and reduce the number of ministries from 18 to eight. (Are you listening, Rishi?)
With their trademark legerdemain, world media have announced that Milei is going to ban abortion, only legalised in 2020. In fact, he is merely planning to put the issue to a referendum. Of course, our ‘liberals’ only ever believe in democracy when it promotes their own subversive agenda.
I wonder whether Milei can be ennobled in Britain so he could become our prime minister instead. I’d take him over Sunak any day. Every domestic policy Milei proposes would be a boon to our country as well, and the same goes in spades for his foreign policy. I could copy every pronouncement he has ever made on the subject, pass it for my own, and regular readers wouldn’t be able to spot the difference.
Immediately after Russia’s 2022 invasion of the Ukraine, Milei, a Buenos Aires MP at the time, carried a Ukrainian flag into the parliament building. Since then he has never deviated from an unequivocal support of the Ukrainian cause.
He sees both the US and Israel as Argentina’s friends and plans to move the Argentine embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. With such friends, Milei makes no secret of whom he considers as his country’s enemies:
“I’ll do no business with China or any other communist regime. I am a defender of freedom, peace and democracy. Communists, Chinese or other, have nothing to do with these. Nor is Russian president Vladimir Putin among defenders of freedom, peace and democracy. Neither is Brazil’s president Lula da Silva. We want to become the moral beacon of the continent. As a state, we’ll participate in no joint projects with either communists or socialists.”
Especially significant is Milei’s refusal to join the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) which he correctly sees a facilitator of China’s global influence. If Argentina has to be allied with any superpower, it should be the US, not any other pretender to that role.
I must admit that comparing Sunak to Milei was unfair. One should never compare the words of one side to the actions of the other, which is the stock in trade of the ‘liberal’ media and has been since time immemorial. I still remember their shrieks about America’s war in Vietnam derailing the Soviet “struggle for world peace”. That was comparing the apples of napalm to the oranges of slogans.
In fact, I’d happily refrain from any judgement of Javier Milei until he has acted on his plans. Alas, my reticence wouldn’t be reciprocated by the Lefties, a colloquial term for the media. They have pounced on Milei long before he has even taken office. Never mind what he may or may not do – it’s what he says that makes them see red, their preferred colour.
Milei has such an overwhelming mandate that his deeds may well follow his words, and more power to him. But meanwhile I can’t see any other politician anywhere in the world who says all the same worthy things. Some pundits describe Milei as the Argentine Trump, and there are indeed some similarities. But Trump’s stand on China and especially Russia lacks Milei’s moral focus, putting it mildly.
For the sake of balance, I have to mention a small but: Milei claims Argentina’s “non-negotiable” sovereignty over the Falklands, which he perversely insists on calling Malvinas. But, as that character in Some Like It Hot said, “nobody’s perfect”.