What does Trump’s victory mean for Argentina? Will the Paraná River change course and run north? Will all the dulce de leche curdle? Will mountains jut forth from the Pampa? Will Boca fans start feeling nonchalantly about their sport?
No, probably not. At least, not according to the ambassadors of Argentina and the United States.
Yesterday, Noah Mamet, ambassador to Argentina since 2014, played down the impact of a Trump victory. “Argentina and the United States have a lot in common, and we will maintain the relationship whoever the next President is.”
Martín Lousteau, former National Economics Minister and Argentine Ambassador to the US since December 2015, echoed Mamet´s statement, suggesting that, though the world is irrevocably changed, Trump’s triumph doesn’t mean the end of Argentina.
“We are the country furthest from the USA on the continent. We don’t share a border with them. We don’t have a free trade agreement…Which is not to say we don’t care about the results. But we’re the least affected by the results,” he said in an interview.
Lousteau, who has made clear in the past that a Hillary Clinton victory would have been preferable for the argentine government, did acknowledge that a Trump government means a dramatically different US foreign policy approach.
“The world that Donald Trump proposes is very different – a bilateral one with one to one negotiations”, he said, referring to the fact that Trump will not respect the old world order or existing trade blocs.
Lousteau also offered an intriguing analysis of the role of communication in Trump’s ascendance. If Roosevelt’s campaign was conducted through the radio, Kennedy’s through the television and Obama’s through social media, then Trump represents the ascendance of reality tv – with its attendant “shocks” and “scandals” – as the ultimate mode of communicating with and winning over american voters, argued Lousteau.
“Trump installed a reality TV campaign.”
It’ been a good year for US-Argentine relations. After a decade of frosty relations between the northern superpower and a nationalistic, protectionist Kirchner government, tensions started to ease with President Macri’s rise to power; putting Argentina’s political path on a center-right, pro-business trajectory. In a historic visit in April of this year, President Obama said that “Macri is an example for other countries in the region.”
Both ambassadors made reference to this recently-renewed friendship as reason for optimism. Lousteau said that this would make the “continuity” of the relationship “much easier” to maintain, and Mamet insisted that “the relationship is institutionalized, and that shouldn’t change regardless of who wins.”
Of course, who knows what will actually happen? The one time Trump referred to Argentina it was to paint a picture of its evils as a kind of global oddity and pariah state. “If I don’t win… this country will be completely different. It will be like Argentina or Venezuela.”