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IS ARGENTINA THE NEXT COUNTRY TO JOIN THE BRICSA/BRICS BLOC?

June 8, 2014 By Joseph P. Farrell

Ever since Goldman Sachs first spotted the emergence of the BRICS bloc, or, as we have been calling it here, the BRICSA bloc(Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), I've been concerned that the growth of this bloc represents in some fashion a degree of inevitable blowback from growing American unipolarism on the world stage. At first, it might have been dismissed, when the BRICS bloc represented largely a Russo-Chinese entente that began to emerge prior to the Shanghai accords, but when the bloc expanded to India, with its own history of cordial relations with Russia, the concern began to grow.

Then, in what should have sounded some geopolitical alarm bells, Brazil, the premier regional power in South America, negotiated a series of space agreements with China, and then subsequently joined that bloc of nations. Now, there is news that Argentina, the other major regional power in South America, has expressed an interest in joining the BRICSA bloc:

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov: No Plans for Expansion of Brics Bloc

What concerns us here are these statements:

"Lavrov was responding to news reports earlier in the month which quoted India’s Ambassador to Argentina, Amarenda Khatua, who said that Buenos Aires had expressed interest in joining the powerful bloc, and that BRICS countries welcomed the idea.

"In a previous statement made to The BRICS Post, India’s Ministry of External Affairs denied that there were any immediate plans for expanding the bloc.

"In recent weeks, economic analysts in Africa had suggested that Nigeria was ready to join BRICS. And last year, during his visit to India, then Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had suggested that his country should join BRICS.

"Late on Wednesday, Timerman confirmed Argentina’s interest:

“'Obviously, we are interested in developing relations with BRICS in international politics. We will surely continue working with BRICS, G20 and other venues … but it is up to BRICS to decide on the agenda, not Argentina,' he said.

"The Argentinian foreign minister said he looked forward to signing a number of bilateral agreements regarding nuclear power for civilian use, trade and scientific cooperation."

These statements require some reading-between-the-lines. In my opinion, it is significant that India revealed the interest of Argentina in joining the bloc. Both nations have a history of geopolitical fence-straddling between the old Soviet and Western blocs during the Cold War. It was, after all, Argentinian President Juan Peron who first formulated Argentina's "third position" policy in this respect. Notably, the article points out that a number of bi-lateral agreements are in negotiation between Argentina and Russia, some concerning nuclear power. Argentina has long had its own domestic nuclear energy(see Nuclear Power in Argentina). As the second article notes, Argentina and Brazil already have bilateral arrangements in place regarding the tracking and accounting of nuclear materials.

So why the reluctance on the part of the BRICSA bloc, and Russia, not to push for Argentina's acceptance into that organization? I suspect the reason is rather simple: given current geopolitical tensions between Russia and the American-European NATO complex, to do so now would only exacerbate tensions unnecessarily. Thus, one can watch for more formal bilateral agreements between Argentina and the other BRICSA nations on an individual basis. But make no mistake, it is probably only a matter of time before that nation is welcomed into the BRICSA fold. As I opined on a recent interview, Argentina's addition to the bloc would place most of South America into a relationship that would significantly erode the remaining American influence in the region. It's easy to understand why, if one goes back to the history of American relations with Latin America. One needs only think of Guatemala in the 1950s, the United Fruit Company, American support of the brutal regime of Anastasio Samosa in Nicaragua, and so on, not to mention current meddling in Venezuela. Argentina's entry into the BRICSA bloc would exert enormous pressure and influence on her smaller neighbors, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Chile. Lurking behind all this is, of course, the pressures put on Argentina by the west via the IMF and other such international financial shills. One wonders when geopolitical sense will begin to take root in Washington, forcing a reassessment of American behavior and what can be done to improve relations with these important countries.

Argentina, like Brazil, are the clearest signals that hemispheric friends are being pushed away. In the final analysis, one can't blame them.

See you on the flip side...