In an unexpected development, Argentina has decided not to join the BRICS bloc of developing economies, a decision confirmed by Diana Mondino, the incoming Foreign Minister chosen by President-elect Javier Milei. The decision comes ahead of Milei’s inauguration on December 10, hinting at a substantial shift in Argentina’s foreign policy.
Mondino made the announcement on social media platform X, stating, “We will not join the BRICS.” This decision aligns with Milei’s right-wing populist stance, and it signifies a departure from the earlier plan for Argentina to become a member of the bloc on January 1, 2024.
Milei, a libertarian leader, garnered attention during his campaign for his strong criticisms of China. Notably, he had expressed intentions to sever diplomatic ties with the country, emphasizing, “I am not going to do business with any communist.” While Milei has moderated his rhetoric since winning the November 19 election, he continues to express reservations about the leftist government of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Throughout the campaign, Milei, known for his admiration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, consistently emphasized a potential alliance with the United States and Israel if he assumed office. This shift away from the BRICS aligns with his vision for a realignment of Argentina’s international partnerships.
Mondino, the designated Foreign Minister, had previously downplayed the significance of BRICS, describing it as “more related to a political alignment than to advantages that could exist for trade between countries.” In a statement made two weeks ago, she highlighted existing diplomatic and trade relations with most BRICS nations, indicating that the potential benefits may be limited.
Argentina’s invitation to join BRICS came in August, with President Alberto Fernández expressing optimism about the move, anticipating that it would open up new markets for the country. However, this decision to abstain from joining the bloc signals a departure from Fernández’s stance and underscores the incoming administration’s commitment to a different geopolitical strategy.
The BRICS bloc, initially formed by Brazil, Russia, India, and China in 2009, expanded to include South Africa in 2010. Argentina, among the six nations invited to join in August, has opted to step back from this alliance, suggesting a reevaluation of its global positioning under the upcoming Milei administration.
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