Much like Anthony and Cleopatra’s infamous relationship, the 192-year-old bilateral relationship between Argentina and the United States has been marred over the years by misunderstandings, distance, miscommunication, war, tensions, political rivalry and economic difficulties.
In the latest installment of this drama, Argentina has reportedly lost faith in the US and is looking to China as a new and trusted partner for the future.
A recent survey shows that Argentina is critical of the US’ military presence across the globe and feels a heightened sense of disdain and indifference towards Washington.
She also fears the effects of drug trafficking and worldwide economic crises on her country and is in search of a strong, protective significant other to abate these anxieties.
A survey titled “The Americas and the World” conducted by the University Torcuato Di Tella and the University of San Andrés found that the US engendered the lowest level of confidence in Argentines for its “peace keeping” involvements beyond its borders.
Here are some stats:
- The percentage of those who felt that no country could maintain world peace goes as follows — US 45 percent, Russia 14 percent, Great Britain 11 percent.
- On the flip side, 17.6 percent of people had faith that China could maintain world peace and 16.12 percent felt the same way about France.
- On top of this, 47 percent of people surveyed were found to have zero confidence in the North American government; 69 percent felt “disdain” or “indifference” towards the US and 29.3 percent saw Washington as a “threat.”
“The thing that really stands out [from the survey] is a pessimistic image of the US— Argentina does not respect it,”
Said Juan Gabriel Tokatlian, professor at the University of Torcuato Di Tella.
He went on to comment on the way in which this negative image has reached several climactic points or “peaks” throughout history.
But then along came China.
52 percent of those surveyed believe that it would be a “positive” thing if China’s economy were to grow to the size of the US’.
Tokatlian speculates that this trust “comes from a combination of the dividends that exchange with Beijing generates, the financial protection that China offers, the unfavorable perception of the US and a certain element of the unknown, which facilitates a perhaps slightly exaggerated perception of the benign nature of China’s international rise and her protection of Latin American power.”
So, could China be Argentina’s new ally?
Well, paradoxically, it also emerged from the survey that the Chinese were among the group of foreigners that are received least favorably in the country — followed hotly by US citizens, Paraguayans and Bolivians.
This has led some to the conclusion that there is an inherent streak of xenophobia in Argentina — especially given that 53 percent of those surveyed said that “too many” foreigners live in the country and 46 percent said that they were either “very against” or “somewhat against” the fact that under-qualified foreigners can enter the country to live and work here.
To this, Federico Merke from the University of San Andrés retorted that although “our tolerance towards immigration is less than we might suppose,” Argentina is certainly not a platform for xenophobic behavior.
There is one thing that is certain, however.
Argentines feel that drug trafficking, the economic crisis and climate change are all things that heavily affect this country and to beat this, a strong and trustworthy ally is needed.
The question is, China or North America?