The domestication of Javier Milei

The red circle, the established power or, according to the most critical of the elite that has become accustomed to governing the country, “the caste”, does not know what to do with Javier Milei. It may be that, as those frightened by his eccentric way of behaving say, he is a lunatic, but it is undeniable that he has an enviable level of electoral support and that it is at least feasible that in December he will dress as President of the Republic.

Although no one is unaware that the PASO was largely a survey and that everything could change in the coming months, a climate of resignation has been detected in many circles. There are those who feel that Milei has already won and that the dysfunctional traditional political order has been so discredited that it would be better to let it die. Likewise, while some console themselves with the hope that a government headed by the neoliberal madman would only last a couple of weeks, after which they will be able to manage to restore what for them is normality, others believe that it would be better to join to the still incipient movement that is gaining strength, either with the purpose of trying to tame it, or with that of taking advantage of it.

Those who think this way assume that Argentina is entering a new phase so that, after long decades of populist hegemony, it goes to the other extreme, adopting a minimalist State and accepting without question the iron capitalist logic. They believe in a cyclical process in which the catastrophic failure of a modality mechanically generates a reaction that will serve to bury it. It is not a mere intellectual game; many understand that the concrete results of the management of Cristina de Kirchner, Alberto Fernández and Sergio Massa have been so negative that it is difficult to conceive of options that are more benign than those proposed by Milei or, more coherently, by those around Patricia Bullrich .

The one most interested in locating the man with the talking dogs and tantric sex in the national liberal tradition is Mauricio Macri. After praising him for talking about topics that all biempensantes consider taboo, she tried to add him to her own hosts, an initiative that greatly outraged figures from the left wing of Together for Change such as Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Elisa Carrió, in addition to annoying Patricia who Although it has been helped by the shift towards liberalism in the center of gravity of the local political scene, it has been harmed by the appearance of a presidential candidate whose tough image is a caricatured version of his own. For understandable reasons, Milei refused to join what in his opinion, and that of those who would vote for him, was another redoubt of the caste, but if the electorate hands him the keys to the Casa Rosada, he will find in what remains of Juntos por Change many collaborators.

It is evident that Macri and others who attribute the sad end of his administration to “gradualism” and to the pressures of his “moderate” allies, take La Libertad Avanza for a very important partner in the great cultural battle that they are waging against Peronist populism. and radical that has transformed Argentina into something very similar to a “failed state”, as certain African countries are. They fear that if Milei wins in October or November the resulting government would fall very soon or, worse still, unleash a chaotic situation that would give those most responsible for the current tragic situation a chance to return to power again, so that it would be of It is in his interest to prepare for what could come by tacitly offering him the parliamentary structures and votes that he would surely need.

Needless to say, from the point of view of the coalition members, such a strategy is defeatist. Naturally, they are more interested in retaking power than in contributing to the eventual triumph of a particular ideology. His priorities are not abstract or philosophical but concrete. While they attribute their ambitions to their willingness to serve the community, they want to do so by holding reasonably paid positions and helping their adherents.

Those who are members of Together for Change are convinced that Patricia is in a position to surpass Milei in the liberal internal. To achieve this, he would need to have at his side an economist capable of fulfilling the role of Domingo Cavallo in the government headed by Carlos Menem, since his own knowledge in the field thus assumed is, in the opinion of some, almost as rudimentary as that of Cristina de Kirchner. It would not be surprising if the person chosen for said role turned out to be Carlos Melconian; like Mingo in his time, he is the head of the Mediterranean Foundation, which is a factory of plans that are both imaginative and realistic, and he is combative enough to take on in public debate the libertarian who, by common consent, is an economist solvent.

Milei is an enthusiastic supporter of dollarization. He is his main workhorse, but although Argentina is already mentally dollarized, experts in such matters warn that he does not have enough banknotes to make the proposal a practical alternative for now. All in all, it is likely that Milei’s allusions to how good it would be to adopt the North American currency and allow the Fed to play the role of the Central Bank have brought her many votes by stimulating the illusion that in such a case Argentina would soon have an economy as opulent as the United States. Be that as it may, of late Milei and her cohorts have softened their message to that effect by implying that weight replacement would not happen overnight but after perhaps a prolonged period, “between 9 and 24 months,” when not for several years.

It goes without saying that, if implemented, what Milei proposes would have a much greater impact on the life of the country than convertibility. If the calamitous collapse of the scheme installed by Cavallo and Menem taught us anything, it was not that it is a mistake to stick the national currency to a stronger one, but rather that it is virtually impossible for “the caste” to live with monetary stability. For this reason, her dollarization would force her to drastically modify her behavior.

Milei says he is willing to implement an adjustment that is decidedly more severe than the one timidly demanded by the International Monetary Fund. Thus, the alarm can be understood – nuanced with a certain relief because it is already easy for them to blame a person of flesh and blood for what they see approaching -, which has taken over the so-called social movements and Peronist trade unionism; They are getting ready for a street war, with organized looting like the one faced by the governments of Raúl Alfonsín and Fernando de la Rúa, without it having occurred to them that, even if Massa were to win in the upcoming elections, he would have to act in a very similar way. As much as Massa himself, as well as the Kirchnerists who, despite everything, have had to support him, would like to launch one “little money plan” after another, they will not be able to ignore the financial reality for much longer.

Is Argentina undergoing a great cultural transformation in which the majority, fed up with the misleading populist preaching, rises up in rebellion against “the caste” shouting “freedom, damn it”? Some suspect that because he was so aggressive and so unwilling to tolerate dissenting opinions, the flamboyant libertarian prophet would not hesitate to form a regime as dictatorial as that of the first Juan Domingo Perón. Others assume that if he wins the presidential elections, he would be forced to depend on the collaboration of more sober people who agree with him that, to get out of the swamp that is swallowing it, Argentina will have to strive to emulate prosperous countries. and democrats who, without exception, are undisguisedly capitalist.

Ideas matter. Those that seem novel, and in Argentina many young and not so young have reacted to those expressed so forcefully by Milei as if they were revealing truths that had never occurred to them, can have a greater impact than any charismatic leader who, as often happens, he subordinates everything to his own narcissism. As the nineteenth-century English poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy put it in a famous ode: “One man with a dream may go and win a crown, but three, with the chord of a song, can topple a kingdom,” for “in every age there is a dream that is dying, or one that is being born”.

Are those like Macri exaggerating who say they believe we are in the midst of something far more portentous than the mere fall from grace of a corrupt and fabulously ineffective regime about to be replaced by one that hopefully turns out to be more powerful? competent even when it is made up of members of a despised caste? It is a question that has not only the inhabitants of the country on edge but also many in the United States, Europe and the Far East who want to know if Argentina is about to suffer an economic implosion that would have repercussions on the rest of the planet or if, finally, she will surprise everyone by getting up from the floor she is lying on to embark on a path that will lead her to a worthy place on the international stage.

Image gallery

in this note