Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July Fourth Idea: Let's Tango!

Happy 231st Birthday, USA!

Here the Fourth of July falls on the Ninth of July, so while we wait to celebrate Argentina’s Independence Day, here are a few timely observations on US-Argentine relations.

Only 16% of Argentinians have a positive view of the US, according to surveys.*

Of Argentina’s 4.5 million visitors, 300,000 came from US, noted US Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne as he signed an agreement yesterday to allow additional Argentine flights to the USA, acknowledging Argentina’s appeal as a tourist destination.

Meanwhile Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has pumped millions of dollars (not millions of tourists) into Argentina. A favorite in the Casa Rosada of our wannabe-leftist President Nestor Kirchner, Chavez this week announced an ultimatum for Mercosur (the trade bloc for Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay): “Approve our entry into Mercosur by September or we will withdraw our application.”

According to reports, he hopes to fashion Mercosur into an anti-US alliance, both political and economic. The only obstacle in Venezuela’s admission is approval by the Brazilian legislature, as the other national legislatures have already done so. Even if the Brazilians hold out, as expected, Chavez makes no secret of using petro-dollars to make friends all over Latin America.

Some folks I know are fond of saying that “it takes two to tango.” What kind of relationship would the US like to develop and maintain with Argentina? And vice versa? Is Argentina to remain just an exotic tourist destination for well-heeled tourists. . . or will it become a valuable political and economic ally? Frankly, I worry that Argentina has been waiting so long for the US to ask it to dance that in desperation the government is willing to accept the hand of self-styled US enemies.

Given that President Kirchner’s wife Christina, an announced candidate, has high hopes of succeeding her husband, what would it take to get the music going again?

I would love to see my native country and country of residence embracing for a soulful tango or a lively Virginia reel. . . and I think that the US only has to ask (nicely of course). Then next year we can truly celebrate a Pan American Interdependence Day!
* This refers to the US government, not its people or culture, all of which are welcome here by most of the people most of the time


Gayle said...

Would love to see some comments on my blogs if the spammers stay out!

nathan said...

16%. nice...

Rob said...

I would hope that 16% is directed toward us foriegn policy and not us citizens, but sometimes it gets construed as one.