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Will Javier Milei Upend Argentina’s Foreign Policy?

Mere weeks after taking office, Argentine President Javier Milei has already picked fights with the United Kingdom and China, demonstrating his “anarcho-capitalist” approach to foreign policy. The complex reality of international diplomacy and economic interdependence requires a far more pragmatic stance.

SÃO PAULO – It hasn’t taken long for Argentina’s newly installed president, Javier Milei, to demonstrate the lunacy of a radical libertarian approach to foreign policy. At this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Milei raised from the dead the issue of the Falkland Islands’ sovereignty with UK Foreign Minister David Cameron, who promptly swatted away any discussion about the islands’ future. At a time when Milei needs to revive Argentina’s moribund economy, evoking the Argentine military junta that launched the Falklands War in 1982 seems unhinged.

More ominously still, Milei has picked a fight with China, one of the country’s main trading partners. In late December, a lawmaker from Milei’s party met with representatives of Taiwan’s trade office in Argentina. Soon after, local media outlets reported a meeting between Argentine Foreign Minister Diana Mondino and Miao-hung Hsie, Taiwan’s representative in Buenos Aires.

This show of support for Taiwan suggests that Milei may hold true to his campaign promise to sever ties with China. His harsh criticism of “communist” countries in the run-up to the presidential election raised serious concerns about the future of Sino-Argentine relations, especially because Argentina relies heavily on a currency-swap agreement with China to finance imports and pay off debt maturities. Soon after Milei was sworn in as president, China reportedly suspended this agreement, hindering Argentina’s ability to meet its financial obligations.