Print version ISSN 1515-3371
Relac. int. (B. Aires) vol.1 no.se Buenos Aires 2006
Troop deployment and foreign policy (1989-2005)1
Translated by Andrea Assenti del Rio
Translation from Relaciones Internacionales, Buenos Aires, v.14, n.28, p.127-155, Dec./May 2005.
Kirchner´s governments decision to send troops to Haiti started a discussion in which arguments for and against this action hid a beeper debate: the one on the shape the present foreign policy should take.
Such debate has made us wonder not only about what happened in this but other governments since 1999 which have sought to distance themselves from the Menemist agenda. Due to different factors, the pressures around troop deployment are connected to all kinds of matters such as strategic alliances with Brazil and the return to autonomist policies, as well as the ghost of carnal relationships and the intention to align with Washington.
It is our aim to see in this kind of decision a sign of each foreign policy which helps us clarify their objectives, challenges, strengths and weaknesses.
Key words: International Relations, Argentine Foreign Policy, Peace Missions.
Discussion around the sending of troops to Haiti generated debate on Argentine foreign policy and also made clear the connection between this instrument and its relationship with the world. Additionally, as Joseph Tulchin points out, our inability to make minimal agreements on it is made evident. (Tulchin, 2004, 36). While the presidential speech supporting the initiative referred to Southern Cone participation, with a certain autonomy-promoting tendency in contrast with the attitude of the 90s-, the opposition highlighted the connection to Washington policies towards the region and therefore closer to alignment with the States, as in a remake of the Menemist period.
In the face of markedly contradictory views on the same event, we believe it is necessary to examine them rationally and, consequently, we need to observe the process of troop sending in more structural terms in order to see what is happening more clearly. Because of this, we will see how foreign policy and troop deployment were connected in the 90s and in recent governments in order to, finally, make some conclusions in this respect.
Menem´s government´s decision to alienate itself from the USA led the country to increase the sending of Argentine troops to other countries. This took two shapes: under multinational coalitions (e.g. in the Persian Gulf or Haiti) or those commanded by the United Nations.
Argentine intervention in the Gulf3 was a reflex of that special relation which meant a change in foreign policy, for it broke with traditional Argentine neutrality in war conflicts which do not involve the country directly (Bologna and Busso, 1994, 36)4. According to the main supporter of this change, Carlos Escudé, this action helps Argentineans to be perceived as privileged in the West (Escudé, 1992, 198).
This resource of alignment with the West is based on the challenge that Iraq imposed on the international community. Although in fact the government set this position as a form of thematic closeness to the American agenda and showed its will5, even in contrast with the continent, for neither Brazil Argentines main socio-commercial partner-, nor the Rio Group the main regional forum-, accompanied Buenos Airess attitude6.
According to Felperin and Romero, the situation linked three arguments: opportunity, reliability and assigning a role to the armed forces. Opportunity is given by the fact that the country was to have an active role in the pision of roles in the new international order. The second argument has to do with the creation of an image of reliability of the Argentine government. The third involves the armed forces recovering the role they had lost at the Malvinas War. (Felperin and Romero, 1993, 46).
Participation in the conflict benefits in the Menemist governments discourse is twofold: political and economic.
The Argentine government believed that by abandoning the non-intervention principle main political factor in the relationship with Washington-, huge benefits would be achieved, which would mean a new international status for Argentina7. What was not taken into account is that in this new order our countrys position and that of the USA are substantially different. Our country did not attain a significant status, except for its integration as an Extra NATO Ally8.
The second part, the economic one, was based on Kuwaits reconstruction plans, although hopes were too high, for the USA got 70 per cent of the contracts in that pision, in contrast with a tiny number of its allies such as Great Britain, France, Germany and Japan. (Oribe Riva, 1994, 73)9.
Political intervention in Haiti is where we witness the abandonment, or as Chancellor Di Tella said, the obsolescence of the non-intervention principle10. People close to the government maintain that this action in the Caribbean was not only desirable but absolutely essential, the main reason being that Argentina is disarmed opposing Chile and England and this intervention would be our only fragile reassurance for the consolidation of our military-political alliance with the USA (Escudé 1994, 23)11
Troop deployment during the Menem administration within the framework of the Peace Maintenance Operations was done based on the belief that:
...after the Gulf War the collective security mechanism consolidates as one of the most remarkable strategies in the post Cold War, counting with the endorsement and encouragement of the US. (Busso, 1994, 87)
The increase of Argentine participation in the UN Peace-Maintenance Operations was significant; although our country had participated since 1958 it had always done so in a symbolic way, both as regards the number of missions, as well as the intervening troops12. As it is said in the Libro Blanco de la Republica Argentina (1998), this change was qualitative as well as quantitative:
...until 1988 missions of classical mandate predominated (truce observants and interposition forces); from then onwards the sphere of action enlarged polyfunctionally towards activities such as protection of humanitarian action, assistance of victims, refugees, mine removal, supervision of elections, human right surveillance, infrastructure reconstruction, among others ([www.mindef.gov.ar/secciones/libro_blanco_de_defensa.doc]
Out of the thirty-one missions in which our country has taken part, twenty-two took place during Menems government13. The number of soldiers increased from 1998 to 1995 from twenty to more than two thousand and later abruptly decreased over a few years, to about six hundred, stabilising at that level. The decrease in the second half of the 90s is owing to a tightening up in which our country accompanies the decrease curve of general UN participation and it has to do mainly to budget-reduction issues of the contributing countries.
The relevance of these changes is expressed in the Lbro Blanco objectives, where it is pointed out that this policy has to do with the co-operation framework and under a strict legality criterion, given case by case by international sponsorship, under the following conditions:
...that there is a real threat to international peace and security, that the reach and objectives proposed by the mission are clear, that they are according to an international juridical instrument; and that the parts have accepted and agreed to the presence in the peace mission.
This formula is not so clear as regards the legitimisation of an intervention, as an international juridical instrument is referred to as support, which enables justification of multinational coalition action, as well as a Peace Maintenance Operation or unilateral action.
It is not minor that the USA distanced themselves from the UN towards organisations such as NATO which allowed them more freedom of action14. This is evident through the fact that the UN have been very careful before getting involved in new cases, strengthening their preventive role. [SIPRI, 1995 y 1996]
Regarding international coalitions, as opposed to what happened in the Gulf, when NATO intervention in Ex Yugoslavia took place, Chancellor Di Tella pronounced himself against Argentine participation15.
It is extremely clear that these actions are part of a redesign of foreign policy and can be explained by the so-called participation in the New World Order, in fact a form of partisanship of American foreign policy which generated conflict with its neighbours16; additionally, they mean a role and an opportunity of training and modernisation of the Argentine armed forces.
2. Recent governments (since 1999)
There are two elements in order to analyse subsequent policies in this area, namely, the general characteristics of foreign policy in the period, as well as changes in the international system.
The big axes in postmenemist foreign policies are: tensions in the triangular relation between Buenos Aires, Brasilia and Washington, and the impact of negotiations with International Financial Organisms in the foreign policy agenda. Another element to take into account is that the governments of the Alianza, Duhalde and Kirchner have a strong interest in differentiating themselves from the Menemist government more than between each other17.
Just as a general presentation, Graph II shows the number of troops which took part in Argentinean, Brazilian18 and US Peace Maintenance Operations, as well as that of Chile19, incorporating the latter because it is relevant to the construction of a wider Mercosur, not only in terms of trade. [TOKATLIAN, 2004ª]
Although UN peace operations spread widely from 1999 onwards, with the new missions to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eastern Timor, Kosovo, etc, reaching in 2003 the highest number of new annual missions since the end of the Cold War, each of them showed the challenges of post conflict reconstruction and the constraints in order to build a sustainable peace in the international community. Since 2001, it is possible to observe increasing participation of regional actors in the peace-making process and efforts to deal with crises. The missions that started in 2002 were smaller, short-term and had specific aims, but they also tended to play a peace-keeping role and serve a counselling function in order to organise future governments. [SIPRI, 2000, 2001, 2003 y 2004]
The behaviour of actors does not accompany general performance, as while American participation slightly decreases, Argentina, Brazil and Chile remain relatively stable as regards sending troops to Haiti. With the creation of MINUSTAH, the three Latin American countries increase their participation by adjusting to the general scene and expressing a common pattern of behaviour, above all by taking into account that Santiago and Brasilia are usually reluctant to send troops beyond the domestic area [RODRIGUEZ GIAVARINI, 2004, 27]
The decrease of Americans is the result of a strategic change after George W Bush became the president and the 9.11 attacks in 2001. Its impact was securitisation of the international agenda and the abandonment of a multilateral strategy in favour of a unilateral attitude. As it is pointed out in 2003 SIPRI Yearbook:
The US decision to defend their position as the only superpower by searching, punching, and, if necessary, actively anticipating to those who threatened them has dominated perceptions of global security over the last 18 months. Shared worries among friends and foes are mainly in the area of how long such strategy may last. (SIPRI, 2003)
This is the emergence of the application of Richard Hasss theory, who claims for the US the role of global police, with partial dedication against those states which do not accept its will, like a sheriff who unites voluntary states that help them restore order, and once this action is finished, it dissolves. This took other powers out of the game, being now excluded from big strategic decisions (HASS, 1994)
2.1. Fernando De la Ruas government.
The main challenge of the new government was to build an alternative model in foreign policy. It was evident when talking about Menems government that carnal relations had an increasingly tense focus with Brazil and led the country to have low profile in Latin American matters, aspects that needed to be solved.
The new agenda shows a predominance of economic matters which confirms a certain general tendency similar to the previous governments20. Even if the Letter to Argentinean citizens claims that our foreign policy cannot be tied up to the decisions of a member of the international community and that strategic priority lies in MERCOSUR (GODIO; 1998, 277)21, after De la Ruas triumph in elections over Justicialist candidate Eduardo Duhalde, the most important newspapers claimed that there would be no significant changes in bilateral relations even if they said there would be a change of style22. A sample of that change was the assertion that policies towards the US would be intense instead of the bold carnal ones of Menemism23.
Although the proposal of a coalition sought to be profound because it aimed at a substantial ideological conception in foreign affairs (MIRANDA, 2003, 15), it is also true that more than a few analysts reduced the question to a mere change in diplomatic style, with a certain conservative presidential profile.
This foreign policy lacked the capacity to adapt to a changing international scene, which had an impact on decision-making and discursive spheres. Cavallos arrival at the Ministry of Finance was key in this sense, due to the fact that he did not agree with the idea that MERCOSUR was a priority, going into bureaucratic fights in an attempt to get closer to ALCA, which affected the relationship of Brazil with the US24, and, internally, the ruling coalition.
The intention of setting MERCOSUR as a strategic priority and the adjustment of relations with the US created discursive disagreements which grew deeper as mechanisms to reach objectives became unclear, such as how to refound and widen MERCOSUR25, how to take foreign policy towards a South-south dialogue and make it coincide with North-South dialogue, etc.
Alter 10 years of carnal relations with Washington, the promotion of MERCOSUR seems to oscillate between two poles, not as the product of a pendulum policy but as the result of a wandering without a clear aim and this is why it fell into the trap of double dependency. The idea was to overcome the commitment to a strategic alliance with Brazil without failing to recognise hegemonic American power. However, soon actions were characterised by confusion and reactive policies predominated over rational ones (MIRANDA 2003, 45). Beyond their intentions:
diplomatic behaviour of the Alianza did not respond to a foreign policy initiative. Such behaviours became trapped between changes in American policies and Brazilian promises around MERCOSUR (MIRANDA, 2003, 53)
A possible explanation for the latter is twofold: to reinforce regional power in relation to Washington, and to have a policy which was functional to those with autonomising aims, i.e. Brazil (MIRANDA, 2003, 59)
Within this framework, Peace Maintenance Operations are a key element in order to describe governmental action. Before the Alianza was in power, the Clinton administration made some enquiries, through its Defence Secretary, William Cohen, in order to find out whether it would continue with Peace Maintenance Operations, the answer being it would, provided they were not encouraged by the UN26. De la Rua was very sensitive to this, and he pointed it out in his opening speech as a salient point in his foreign policy27.
The democrat government continued putting pressure in order to strengthen such operations, even though the De la Rua administration shared its objectives, the Minister of Defence, Ricardo Lopez Murphy, as a response of a new enquiry by Cohen:
replied that our country could not afford to continue doing so due to budget reasons. From this it can be inferred that there was not a deep change, as regards valuing Peace Maintenance Operations as a means to guarantee world peace, increase Armed Forces performance or any other consideration related to defence policies, as financial reasons were taken into account (BUSSO, 2001, 81)
Argentine commitment in Peace Maintenance Operations can be observed in the Document entitled Redefinición de la Defensa Nacional (2001). Even if its objectives and conditions coincide with those of the previous administration, a new condition is incorporated which is worrying since it affects the non-intervention principle. We refer to the following: in spite of the fact that some of them (parts in the conflict) reject it, intervention is necessary in order to preserve peace and stability in the region [www.mindef.gov.ar/secciones/revision/prioridades3.htm]
In spite of the magnitude of the adjustment in doctrine, there was not a situation where it can be applied even if the number of missions increased, from nine to ten, but total soldier participation was maintained, as we can see in Graph III. The rest of actors involved, Brazil, Chile and the US, continue with the policies already mentioned.
It is not incidental that De la Rua, in his last message at the Opening of Congreso sessions, pointed out:
The Armed Forces have strongly committed to UN peace missions and they have done so with high prestige. These missions stay in intellectual and technological contact with the most advanced countries in the world, thus participating, to the countrys benefit, in favour of peace. In all missions in which they have participated, they have showed their efficiency and professional expertise. (DE LA RUA, 2001)
The attacks against Washington and New York placed the Alianza government in a difficult position, as the multilateral strategy appeared to be weak in the face of the American decision to make the international agenda unilateral.
Although the government manifested its absolute support to the US and even pointed out that the government endorsed the military response, understanding that through this the Americans would search for justice and not vengeance as a universal principle28. But this absolute support was subject to two consensuses: en external one (in multilateral organisms, especially regional ones) and an internal one (the adopted measure will be decided by the Congress).
For the first of them, this form of multilateralism does not adopt the shape of opposition to Washington but it seeks to achieve regional harmony with White House decisions. On a first reading, we can conclude that it was easier for the government to operate as the builder of a continental consensus29 in accordance with Washington decisions, rather than seeking internal support for its policies.
This latter aspect, internal consensus, was very difficult to achieve, since the discussion within political parties official and opposition- showed that some opposed sending troops and demanded a different form of multilateralism, in harmony with Brasilia30, while others, such as Menemism, demanded a position in harmony with Washington (SIMONOFF, 2002, 12-14). According to some academics, such as Roberto Russell, government action was reasonable:
we cannot stay outside this. But now, what we need to avoid is overacting support. We cannot be the first to ask where we shall go and fight. This could increase concrete risk for us. We need to achieve strong internal and also international consensuses. It would be extremely important to seek agreements within MERCOSUR. (RUSSELL, 2001, 29)
It was positive to avoid overacting, which meant not going into a military adventure, although it placed an important role in co-ordinating and moving regional organisms in support of Washington, through the TIAR Appeal, although it pointed out that it would only support a multilateral response. These co-ordination movements with other governments in the region are different from Argentinean behaviour in the Gulf War. While in that conflict Americans did not ask for military intervention, troops were sent. In this opportunity the government just waited for the request, in order to avoid overacting. A serious problem, as Granovsky claims, was that Argentina could be subject to demands from Washington that it may not be able to or for whom it would not be convenient - to respond to [GRANOVSKY, 2001, 10]
As we have seen, the shape the non-intervention principle has taken, and the economic weakness, have moulded Argentine positions making them close to American needs in all respects, as Roberto Russell and Juan Gabriel Tokatlián point out:
Argentines must understand that the degrees of freedom of a country, our security and the consolidation of democracy cannot result in isolation or opposition policies. However, we should also see that overacting or the adoption of solitary policies which may generate unnecessary risks, are not convenient. [RUSSEL and TOKATLIAN, 2001, 6]
One of the questions that arose at the time was the shape collaboration could take: either something less evident than sending troops to the site of the conflict, as the Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld pointed out. The support would not be directly for military intervention, as this is a floating coalition that could change and evolve and in which partners would have different roles and contribute in perse forms (RUMSFELD, 2001, 16) These perse forms could be the militarisation of the Triple Border, the replacement of American troops for Argentine ones in other parts of the world, such as ex Yugoslavia, and so on.
In the middle of the political and social revulsion with which the government of Fernando De la Rua ended, they sought to contribute to the Afghanistan War with 600 infantry men and a mobile hospital, in charge of the UN, although this operation was frustrated by the governments downfall31.
2.2. Foreign policy during the Duhalde administration.
When Senator Duhalde became the provisional president on 1 January 2002, he put an end to and endless succession of presidents since the end of the previous December. On his first presidential speech to Parliament he announced the change of an exhausted economic model and the non-payment of the external debt decreeted by Adolfo Rodríguez Saa32.
The new relations of Argentina with the world were qualified by Chancellor Carlos Ruckauf as polygamic, differentiating them from carnal relations in Menem´s government. Relations with Washington were not only focused on the financial question with Argentina, but they also dealt with matters related to diplomatic policies (MIRANDA, 2003, 72)33.
As opposed to the De la Rua administration, the interim Duahalde administration was marked by a pragmatic foreign policy with everyday piecemeal decisions. According to Miranda, the analysis of the government can be circumscribed to two aspects: the tension for the use of the international scene in order to satisfy objectives of domestic policy; and the only hint of rationality that foreign relations had at this time characterised by reactive attitudes referring to the negotiation process with IMF started by Lavagna at the Ministry of Economy. (MIRANDA, 2003, 70)
The political objective of the Duhalde administration was to diminish political alignment with the US. Examples of this objective were the position of the Argentinean government as regards the American invasion of Iraq and the pragmatic use of the extra NATO Ally condition in order to gain support in the financial negotiation. [MIRANDA, 2003,74]
As it comes to Brazil, there are two aspects to point out: first, the crisis forced the country to seek refuge in Latin American support, above all Brazilian support and to agree with the non-interventionist Brazilian policy [MIRANDA, 2003,72-76]. The arrival of Lula da Silva in government with the idea of reinforcing MERCOSUR made Argentina gain a strategic relevance in the Brailian agenda which it did not have before this.
The Peace Maintenance Operations within Duhalde´s government continued with the alignment since the Alianza government with a slight decrease from 630 to 530 men, as it can be observed in Graph IV, and from 10 missions to 834. As it had occurred in De la Ruas government, this reduction has to do with a governmental decision to cut down on expenses. This decision showed in the Opening speech of the 121st ordinary session, in which the president said:
We are committed to humane actions which are necessary to defend health and integrity of innocent victims of war conflicts Our Armed Forces, which deal with tasks assigned with loyalty and patriotism on very limited budgets but with total dedication, are respected wherever they go. We go on maintaining our presence in peace missions in the places where we work and with the reduction characteristic of the austerity we have imposed ourselves. [DUHALDE, 2003]
As a result of the American decision to invade Iraq, the government took an ambiguous position: on the one hand, the same presidential speech said: our troops will not go to fight any war in Iraq [DUHALDE, 2003]. Basing his position on his provisional character35, there was not internal consensus to send troops there and besides, public opinion is in general contrary to war in Iraq.
Even if this is true, Chancellor Ruckauf always paid attention to the convenience that the war should be a decision of the Security Council, the truth is it lay more emphasis on describing the conditions of Saddam Hussein´s regime (MORALES SOLA, 2003). This made itself evident through the uncertain attitude this Minister displayed in his visit to New York, with the aim of attending the UN General Assembly in 2002. There, he said to President George W Bush on a casual encounter:
Argentina supports the American claim that the resolutions of the Security Council should be enforced and that an ultimatum is issued to Saddam Hussein so that it is possible for international inspectors to check whether Iraq still manufactures chemical weapons, nuclear missiles or any kind of war materials36.
Although the first part of his assertion was under precise command of President Duhalde, in the sense that all action against Iraq should be multilateral and not unilateral, the second part was cast into doubt by other members of the Security Council, since it showed in advance American unilateral action and this lay beyond the president´s instructions. It was due to this that a day later the Chancellor had to state that:
We are not coming back to carnal relations. We are taking the stance that Argentina has invariably supported, because during Rodriguez Giavarini´s administration the enforcement of UN commands has been an issue. This has not varied37.
The States put pressure as regards this matter, before the visit of the Sub Secretary of Hemispheric Affair, Otto Reich, was publisher in La Nación, an article of his said that
In recent years Argentina has been a firm champion of freedom in the Western hemisphere and all over the world and we appreciate and value the help it has offered since the Gulf War until the present campaign against terrorism. Argentinean help has been offered in a rapid and effective way when it had to be implemented. Its contribution will never be forgotten and we will be forever grateful. [REICH, 2002, 17]
A way to respond to this situation was the idea of sending humane help alter the conflict. This consisted of the participation of experts in chemical, nuclear and contaminating weapons, a mobile hospital and specialised medical support, as well as participating in the Caribbean to fill the vacuum left by Americans. (italics are ours, SIMONOFF ET.AL. , 2003)
Duhalde´s government called for elections, which led to the presidency of Néstor Kirchner on 25 May 2003.
2.3. Foreign Policy during Néstor Kirchner´s government.
Since his opening speech, Néstor Kirchner set as a general basis of his foreign policy its multilateral character. This is sustained in the existence of idealist presuppositions (strengthening of International Law) (KIRCHNER, 2003)
In harmony with this, Chancellor Rafael Bielsa qualified our country as an intermediate power38, and this condition:
is directly linked to its influence in the regional sphere, in the affirmation of values such as human rights, peaceful resolution of conflicts and democratic stability. It is also connected to its necessary role in strengthening MERCOSUR and on a wider scale preserving and developing the non-renewable resources available. It is also important to highlight the possibility of intervening together with other intermediate countries in the negotiation towards the elimination of subsidies and protections on the part of developed countries (BIELSA, 2003)
These elements clearly appear in the governmental attempt to avoid bilateral discussion with the USA and to do so with the whole international community, both from the political and economic point of view39.. As regards the first question, Washington consulted Buenos Aires concerning the sending of troops to Iraq, the Argentine reply being that it would, once the multilateral force which occupies that country was under UN leadership40 This position had a repercussion on the actions the Bush administration had in multilateral financial organs and in the G8, where up to then the European position had predominated41.
There are two aspects which were highlighted by the president: the continuity of participation in Peace Missions, and the problems of the international agenda proposed by the US, the fight against terrorism. This problem is given an important position in the agenda, highlighting a distance with the orientation proposed by Washington as regards this problem, although he claimed to be willing and attentive concerning the aim of eradicating it, because he identifies our country as a victim of such actions. (KIRCHNER, 2003)
The regional plane appears as a priority in this speech, talking about the construction of a politically stable, prosperous and united Latin America, based on the ideals of democracy and social justice (KIRCHNER, 2003). The MERCOSUR has gone through difficult times since the mid 90s and the political closeness of Lula and Kirchner is a positive sign, but this did not guarantee the end of tensions.
In the economic plane, it is also based on multilateral actions, in its commercial and financial aspects. For the former, the MERCOSUR appears as the vortice of the megotiation triangle with ALCA and the European Union42. An important effect of this was what happened in the OMC meeting in Cancun when Argentina prioritised G20 plus to Cairos Group, showing a clear change of strategy as regards international economic insertion, which was more productive. But it also indicates the need to deepen and widen it to the rest of Latin American countries43. Additionally, it is complemented by a strategy of political opening which seeks to increase substantially our exchange with the rest of the world, persifying our foreign trade, generating simultaneous and permanent negotiations in all the international negotiation forums which involve our country (KIRCHNER, 2003). From the financial point of view, the negotiation of the external debt still continues with a strategy which allows us to reduce rates and sums and to extend deadlines and due dates.
What we can observe as regards participation in Peace Maintenance Operations is displayed in Graph V: in contrast with previous administrations, De la Ruas and Duhaldes, there is towards the end a significant increase in the number of men in these missions. The same phenomenon can be observed in Chile and Brazil, while the US continues its decrease in participation which went from 530 to 430 men. There are also changes in the number of missions carried out by some of these countries, since the US went from 6 to 9, Brazil from 1 to 5, whilst Chile and Brazil remain stable44.
Concerning the Argentine case, the president referred to this situation in his message to the General Assembly in 2004:
This year we have doubled military and police staff credited in peace maintenance missions, thus now counting with Argentine men in 8 out of the 16 existing operations (KIRCHNER, 2004)
Even if the definition of international security of the Kirchnerist government is based on three elements: defence of democracy and human rights, respect for sovereignty and self-determination and multilateralism (SIMONOFF AND OTHERS, 2004)45. When the role of Peace Maintenance Operations is defined in the document entitled La Defensa Nacional en la Agenda Democrática (2003), we can see the following:
Argentine performance will take place through and attempting to have an influence in multilateral organisms such as the UN and the OEA. A significant aspect of the Argentine role as regards contribution towards international peace is the participation in peace operations within the framework of the UN or in those coalitions which do not oppose to the objectives established in the Charter of such organ, articles six and seven Argentina must contribute to elaborating, promoting and sustaining an International System based on clear rules which reflect values that we support as a society. (www.mindef.gov.ar/secciones/documentos/Proyecto%20La%20Defensa%20Nacional%20en%20la%20Agenda%20Democr%E1tica.doc)
It is evident that there are differences between both definitions. But we seek to highlight three aspects of this text: first, the attribution to the OEA of intrusive faculties, which, as we have seen, was a claim by the Menemist administration; secondly, they refer to a coalition; this definition still makes it possible to act from outside the UN. Finally, it mentions Chapters VI and VII of the Charter46, i.e. its peace maintenance and imposition tasks.
Both Brazil and Chile have different motivations for participating in the mission. It is not a minor detail that both countries were non-permanent members in the Security Council when the theme was dealt with. Even if, as the government did, they supported their decision on the multilateral and regional character of the initiative, it is evident that there are others47.
The first case has to do with its participation in the selective framework that characterised the end of the Cold War. But it is beyond doubt that it also relates to its aim to hold a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Chile, on its part, was already there, because it was part of the Provisional Multinational Force, and took this as an opportunity to improve its relation with the USA, due to its position in the Security Council as regards the Iraq question.
Armed conflicts between supporters of Aristide and his opposers in Haiti grew bigger, above all due to American and Dominican support to the rebels. LEMOINE, 2004, 12-13] 48 . It was taking this situation into account that Ambassador Leonardo Despouy49 said:
the UN, the OE and humanitarian organisms face a double challenge: acting immediately in order to slow the crisis down and at the same time contributing to its peaceful resolution [DESPOUY, 2004, 27]
The Argentine government publicly expressed through its Foreign Policy Secretary and Vice Chancellor, Jorge Taina, on 13 February 2004:
that Argentina wholly supports the initiatives taken by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and actively participates in a group of friends of OEA, with the aim of supporting all attempts to achieve a rapid solution to the crisis, making it clear that this interest has been constant over the last few years, with the active participation of Argentina in the difficult political processes in this country50.
The choice towards a way out of the crisis was restated five days later by the governments of MERCOSUR and the Associated Status, which issued a communiqué where they abhorred violence acts, expressed their deep conviction that peaceful constructive dialogue is the solution to the problem and supporting all multilateral negotiations which have already been mentioned51.
At the end of that month the Argentine government decided to reinforce the security of our representation in that country. Later on, on 2 March, after the forced resignation of Aristide and the formation of the Provisional Multinational Force (the USA, France, Canada and Chile) under Resolution 1529/04 of the Security Council, it announced that it would only offer humane help through the White Helmets and that it did not aim to send troops. But two days later it changed its position, deciding to send soldiers to the country within the fraworm of such resolution52.
While discussion in our country advanced53, the Security Council dictated a new resolution, 1542, and Brazil, Chile and Uruguay quickly decided to send troops. The time it took the Argentinean administration to take the decision led several sectors to criticise them54.
The Argentine government argued that it was not delaying an initiative, but that it had sought to make contact with presidents Ricardo Lagos and Lula Da Silva before sending the Project to Parliament. The worries of Kirchner´s administration dealt with the legal framework of the mission, although since 2000 operations had always been voted under Chapter VII55. On the other hand, they saw in that a gesture by the Republican administration, regarding the Argentine position on the International Penal Court and the Iraqi question56. Although for the government, its decision would not be taken as a compensatory attitude towards the USA57.
In May 2004 the Defence Minister, José Pampuro met his Brazilian peer, José Viegas, in order to finish the last details of the troop deployment in Haiti. It was evident then that the objectives of both missions differed. While Argentina wanted to do it under Chapter VI of the Charter (peace maintenance), the Brazilian and Chilean missions would do so under number VII (peace imposition)58.
It was only on 21 May that the Project was sent to Congress, asking for authorisation for the mission59 which contemplated the participation of 600 men60. The result of this mission would affect the regional security system and show the world that MERCOSUR represented more than a mere commercial agreement61.
Once in Parliament, discussion quickly articulated around two matters: if the mission was one of maintenance or imposition; and/or if it was an American demand or a regional initiative62. According to Jose Pampuro, Haiti is in a situation of acephaly and the only way to help them is to guarantee institutional stability63.
The official party did not reach a wide consensus although it was able to impose its decision64. It focused its argumentation on two elements: multilaterality of the undertaking and regional presence in it65. As the UN Argentine representative. Ambassador Cesar Mayoral points out:
If Argentine political parties, opinion leaders and the majority of our people sustain that multilateralism as a concept must rule international relations, then our country must be close to Haiti.
And as regards the second argument:
Brazil and Chile, the only Latin American non-permanent members in the Security Council, voted in favour of it and decided to rapidly participate in the forces that were created in order to restore peace and disarm the bands in conflict. [MAYORAL, 2004, 31]
In fact, President Kirchner said in a message before the UN Assembly General in September 2004 that the region has committed to helping the poorest country in America to return to the path of growth and freedom and guarantee democracy, and he restated the Argentine position:
based on universal respect of human rights and international human law. The history of Argentina firmly explains our governments position in a question that constitutes, at this point, part of our identity as a democratic nation. (KIRCHNER, 2004)
Additionally, he referred to this action as a continuity of a State policy, as it was pointed out by the President of the Foreign Affair Committe of the Deputies Chamber, Jorge Agüero:
the attitude of Argentina as regards ths matter is centred on its permanent principles as regards foreign policy, and it is because of this that we must keep our promises and gruatantee their continuity. [AGÜERO, 2004, 23]
It was due to this position that the government won an unexpected ally, Senator Eduardo Menem, who defended the measure, but said What we can criticise is the delay in taking the decision; we would have had a more preponderant role in the UN multilateral force for Haiti, which is now led by a Brazilian general66.
Duhaldists supported the measure although they demanded the renovation of the mission was done by Congress and not the Executive Power67. Province parties also accompanied the measure, as well as Recrear legislators, based on the same arguments as the Executive Power68.
Those who were opposed to this were the Radical Party, Socialism, ARI and left-wing parties with parliamentary representation. The first ones who at first showed doubts as regards the basis of the mission chapter VII of the Charter- quickly went to the opposition claiming with them that it affected non-intervention and self-determination principles. According to Deputy Federico Storani, vice President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Deputies Chamber, this mission seeks to validate a coup detat by a non-existing government from the point of vew of its legitimacy and that this multilateral intervention was initially bilateral on the part of France and the US, which acted militarily before the resolution of the UN Security Council was adopted. We can find in this argument a critique of the attitude the international organ had in this crisis. According to him, the Kirchner administration:
sought to take advantage of this gesture in order to go out of its frozenness as a result of its correct vote from our point of view- with respect to the situation of human rights in Cuba. But they have chosen the wrong path in the wrong country and set horrible antecedents. [STORANI, 2004]
In general lines, the radical argument went against the contents of Resolution 1542/04, as an imposition of great powers. Although not everyone belonging to this party was against this measure, as it is shown in the positions taken by ex Defence Minister of Alfonsin, De la Rua and Duhalde´s governments, José Jaunarena, ex Chancellor Adalberto Rodríguez Giavarini [2004, 27] or Senator Rodolfo Terragno, who, although he went against the reasons that led to the crisis in the Caribbean country, he even highlighted that:
The US are not interested in distracting efforts of paying a political cost of a long-lasting intervention. It is because of this that now the Security Council resorts to multilateralism in its aim to preserve the US. [TERRAGNO, 2004, 40] But he rightly asserts that:
It is not reasonable to repudiate American unilateralism and, when one has the opportunity to integrate a multilateral force , of which the US are not part, reject this responsibility. [TERRAGNO, 2004, 40]
Socialist legislators also opposed; Senator Ruben Guistiniani, as well as Deputy Jorge Rivas had an active stance against the project. They base it on the fact the Executive Power dealt with the theme in an uninterested fashion, going against the non-intervention principle. [RIVAS, 2004ª y 2004B]
The ARI joined this critique for its representative in Foreign Policy matters, Deputy Carlos Raimundi pointed out that the innovative initiative in Argentina should not be functional to American military control, but it should find a solution to popular Haitian needs69.
In the 90s, participation in coalitions and Peace Maintenance Operations were instruments which were functional to the strategy of alignment and a source of tension with neighbours.
In the governments after Menem, Peace Maintenance Operations gradually changed and became an autonomic gesture as well as a sign of closeness to Brazil, although this was not always achieved. The differential issue was the rejection to participate in coalitions which the US formed based on its new security strategy, although with some doubts.
There are three forms of perception which make themselves evident in the debate which takes place in this new period. The first one, the maximalist, linked to the conception that our country belongs in the First World, very close to alignment with Washington and generating regional disputes, above all with Brazil, functional to its main definition.
Another one, the minimalist one, which privileges a higher degree of agreement within the region, as a privileged environment in our foreign policy which may or may not have convergence with the US. Finally, there is a perception that shares many aspects of the second position, differs with it as regards the degree of opposition to the US, and in this attitude it turns out to go against the international system in force.
Postmenemist governments placed themselves within a minimalist vision70, more realistic and adjusted to the international position. An all-pervasive incapability to generate minimal consensuses in the design of a foreign policy, be it because of changes, incoherence or actors speculations, is a very worrying sign.
In spite of their statements, defence documents show a displacement from the principle of non-intervention towards the one of intervention. We believe that intervention is only justified when the interests and values of the international community are at stake, not the particular ones of powers. This determination is a central aspect of any automomist policy. [PUIG, 1984, 78] Although not necessarily, this attitude expresses itself in a high degree of confrontation with the US. [TOKATLIAN and RUSSELL, 2003, 87]
In this international scene Argentina must make their principles be heard and avoid any inpidual participation. It is necessary to determine which objectives the operation pursues, universal ones, regional ones or those of the power and to make decisions accordingly.
The mission in Haiti can be a calamity that opens the doors to a new interventionist period in the region or which beyond the origins of the crisis or the motivations of other regional actors, it may be an opportunity to establish the frameworks of autonomic behaviour
It is because of this that Argentina must continue with the efforts carried out in UN peace missions, with the aim of collaborating with such institution, reinforcing multilateralism as opposed to the unilateral American attitude, modernising and training armed forces and finding a specific role after the end of most border crises.
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On the Internet
Yearbooks of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), : www.sipri.org
Ministry of Defence Documents: Libro Blanco, Revisión de Defensa y La Defensa Nacional en la Agenda Democrática, see: www.mindef.gov.ar/secciones
1 The present work was done based on our presentation Troop sending as a foreign policy dilemma at the Second Conference of International Relations at IRI, UNLP in La Plata, on 11 and 12 November 2004.
2 Master in International Relations (UNLP), Senior Lecturer in Argentine Foreign Policy in the Universidad Católica de La Plata and the Universidad de Morón. Associate Professor of Contemporary Social History (UNLP). Co-ordinator of the Centre of Reflection on International Policy (CERPI) at IRI.
3 For an expanded account on this, see Simonoff (1999, 2002).
4 Even if Argentina had not taken part in the two World Wars it is important to remember that during the 1962 Missile Crisis, the provisional government of José María Guido had sent ships to the North American blockade in Cuba, being this the first antecedent of this type.
5 This resolution was taken by mere presidential decision, without any internal or external pressures as such. (Granovsky, 1991, 187)
6 The government thought that this solitary attitude would allow them to play a bigger role, or too big a role, in the new world order.
7 Opposition by the Radical Party rejected troop sending by seeing it as illegal, as the Congress had not authorised it and the interests it pursued were not those of the country or the Big Powers (Simonoff, 1996, 131-2)
8 This caused problems with Brazil and Chile because of the possible military imbalance that could result. In spite of this, Argentina doubled the American bet and sought to be a full NATO member, which was rejected by the Atlantic organisation.
9 Menemism thought that, as it had occurred with Brazil during the Second World War, in this new conflict, Washington would be generous with its most loyal allies. Out of the 1b dollars of the Kuwait reconstruction, only one Argentine company got a small contract, the sum of which was very far from official speculations.
10 The Argentine government generated a kind of theory of intervention in order to ensure democracy, which included as a general principle endowing it ( the OEA) with similar attributions to those of the UN. And even it made a formal presentation in the OEA proposing changes in the Charter which contemplated counting with peace forces in order to defend democracy. Bologna reproduces a statement by Chancellor Di Tella, expressing this idea that principles such as the non-intervention one are due, because there are supranational concepts, such as the one of putting human rights and democratic principles at risk which not only lend us authority to give an opinion about what happened in such countries, but which make us act. (Bologna, 1993, 20-1, 36)
11 Here the position of the Radical Party was based on the defence of the non-intervention principle and its rejection of the model or relation imposed with the US (Simonoff, 1996, 132-133)
12 See Graph I and Appendix I.
13 These actions of sending troops were criticised by the opposition due to the same reasons as the previous ones. (Simonoff, 1996, 133)
14 The so-called unipolar moment, between the Gulf War and the USSR fall, allowed the US to seek the support of international organisms in order to achieve its objectives. When these departed from its aims, even if they continued promoting a wide multilateralism, the US started to support the so-called Clinton doctrine, which claims that this country and Great Britain are more loyal to UN ends than the international organisation itself, going from restricted multilateralism with the powers which are permanent members of the Security Council and the G-8. The end of this process of abandonment of the UN was the humane war of NATO in exYugoslavia. (Ramonet, 1998, 389) These changes moulded a form of intervention right, supported by the big powers which seek to identify themselves with democracy, but in so doing they make a sense mistake that is inadmissible. Its first stage is humane intervention which takes initiative in order to help the wounded and the victims of suffering in a foreign country and finally it justifies the military attack by making reference to a very bad situation from the humanitarian point of view and it acts as if the main effect of war was the enforcement of human rights (Todorov, 2003, 44-45)
15 La Nación, 11 April 1999.
16 In this field there also existed differences with Brazil, who had a more selective participation, sustained in a more reserved discourse as regards the principle of non-intervention which allowed them to adhere only to those proposals which had more convergence with the interests of the country (Saraiva, Miriam and Tedesco, Laura, 2003, 501). The arrival of Lula Da Silva in power reinforced this position, since he went beyond conventional defence of peace solutions (in Iraq), placing himself clearly next to those countries which rejected military action without the endorsement of the UN Security Council (Cruz and Stuart, 2003, 127)
17 Even if this differentiation process with previous policies is traced back by Roberto Russell over the last 20 years (2004, 258), we believe that this is long-lasting set of behaviour (Simonoff, 1999)
18 This country contributed 22 missions and more than 13,000 men between 1956 and 2001 (Crissiuma, 2001, 76-77)
19 Their participation is the oldest of the three South American countries (1949) and it is a central objective of its military doctrine (Rojas Aravena, 2001, 147). Besides, the Chilean government decided to maintain fluent communication with the political spectre represented in Congress in order to legitimise actions in the UN Security Council (Fuentes and Rojas Aravena, 2003, 80)
20 Appointing Rodriguez Giavarini was very significant in this respect, as he is an economist, like Cavallo and Di Tella, which led some to think that foreign policy would continue, at least in the short run, to be carried out in economic key (Busso, 2000, 121). Although, in contrast with them, his interpretation of the world was biased by a juridical vision, like most members of the Radical Party.
21 From this proposal there is a lessening of political issues in Argentine relations with the world.
22 Clarin, 24-10-99. As Anabella Busso points out, the Alianza had heavily criticised the alignment policy by proposing to redefine it, as regards the diplomatic style which characterised Chancellor Di Tella (italics are ours, Busso, 2000, 115)
23 Clarin, 10-12-99
24 These tensions expressed themselves discursively as it is shown through President De la Ruas participation in his visit tot he US in June 2000, the Rio Group meetings and the 15 Group ones, where his position before international organisms changed from asking for a more understanding attitude in Washington, to questioning international financial organisms in Cartagena, and criticising central countries because of the abyss that separates poor and rich in Cairo. This latter position was too weak due to the fact that the country needed financial help from multilateral loan organisms and central countries and this was too strong an influence. (Miranda, 2003, 57)
25 .For example, the continuity of the convertibility policy appeared as an insurmountable obstacle in the relationship with Brazil, after this country devaluated its currency and this affected trade between both countries.
26 Clarín, 16/11/01,
27 In his opening speech, De la Rua highlighted six objectives in his foreign policy: 1) He re-establishes Mercosur as a strategic initiative of regional growth; 2) He commits the country to the fight for peace, human rights, equality among nations, environment protection, the fight against drug-trafficking and terrorism; 3) He pursues the mission to defend the sovereignty of Malvinas Islands; 4) He will continue with the Menemist policy of sending troops in UN Peace Maintenance Operations; 5) He will consolidate the defence policy initiated by Menem in creating a regional defence system to face common challenges; and 6) He proposes that globalisation must be an opportunity for growth, preventing the risks inherent in it, for which it is necessary to work in the area of multilateral economy, not only Mercosur, but also the European Union, ALCA and the OMC. [DE LA RUA, 1999, 6]
28 Clarín, 15 September 2001, 5.
29 This was the expression the National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, used in order to characterise the actions of the Argentine Chancellor.(Clarín, 21 September 2001, 24)
30 The very Alianza Parties, UCR as well as Frepaso, as well as Eduardo Duhalde from Peronism, claimed for this. [SIMONOFF, 2001, 13-14]
31 Clarín, 19 December 2001.
32 The end of convertibility would mark the end of the Washington alignment model, in the same way as it had created it. [RAPPOPORT, 2003, 222]
33 Negotiations with the IMF were political in the belief that they would thus replace the ones made by the Alianza. The differences between the IMF technical teams and the political wing are the ones where the government succeeds in fighting the resistance to the former with the arrival of Roberto Lavagna at the Ministry of Economy and the application of a strategy in this direction. [LOPEZ COPPOLA, TOSI y VERDI, 2003]
34 Finished missions were not replaced by others.
35 As Fuentes and Rojas Aravena say, persistence of governability problems in Argentina, as well as in other Latin American countries weaken its position in the international scene [FUENTES y ROJAS ARAVENA, 2003, 78-79]
36 The effort to depart more from the Menemist administration than from the Alianza one is thus clear (Clarín, 13 September 2002)
37 Clarín, 14 September 2002
38 Many analysts, some related to the 90s policies, did not doubt in qualifying this definition as minimalist (Cardenas, 2004, 11). Maybe these sectors represent a maximalist version of our contact with the world.
39 Even if for the government the decision is clear, this attitude is not unconnected to that in post-Menem governments.
40 La Nación, 16 September 2003.
41 European countries put pressure on those organisms to improve the situation, be it because of their investments, affected by the fare freeze since Duhalde´s government, and payment to external debt bond holders damaged by the default.
42 Clarín, 17 June 2003.
43 It is important to take into account that the widening of Mercosur does not go against its efficacy as an instrument for international insertion, and that it ends in a new frustration such as the ALAC/ALADI experience
44 In the case of our country this attitude differentiates from Duhaldes, who did not renew them, going closer to De la Ruas and Menem´s which replaced them with new ones.
45 These elements were established by Chancellor Bielsa as well as by Defence Minister Pampuro in the Hemispheric Security Conference of OEA in October 2003.
46 It is evident that the text contains an error in mentioning articles instead of chapters.
47 Very significant as regards this situation are interviews to José Veiga Filho, Brazilian Defence Minister (Clarín, 19 May 2004) and to Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdez, Chilean diplomat who is the Chief of the UN Peace Mission in Haiti (Clarín, 19 August 2004). And even the article by Chilean president Ricardo Lagos which was published in Clarín (lagos, 2004, 19)
48 Close to its 200th anniversary as an independent country, Haiti went through a political, economic and social crisis, since its legal government, the one of Jean Baptiste Aristide, had been gradually losing legitimacy with the application of neoliberal recipes and electoral manipulations, favouring the action of opposing sectors, which were funded by the US. This took the country to a virtual civil war. For more information, see [LEMOINE, 2004, 10-13]
49 This official acted in the previous Haitian crisis in 1994 as UN and OEA representative
50 MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES, COMERCIO INTERNACIONAL Y CULTO. Información para la Prensa N° 42/04. Buenos Aires, 13 February 2004.
51 MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES, COMERCIO INTERNACIONAL Y CULTO. Información para la Prensa N° 52/04. Buenos Aires, 18 February 2004.
52 This resolution as well as the following one (Resolution 1542/04) were made within the framework of Chapter VII (peace imposition). But it is also necessary to point out that its functions are not only military, as Chancellor Bielsa pointed out in a debate with Juan Gabriel Tokatlian (2005) after the sending of troops to Haiti at the beginning of 2005.
...the Mission to Haiti is part of a new generation of multidimensional operations which have expanded the traditional notion of separation force to incorporate judicial reconstruction, civil administration, economic development and human rights development tasks (Bielsa, 2005, 10)
53 An element prior to this discussion is the passing by Congress of Law number 25,880 which rules section 28 of Article 75 of the Constitution, referring to authorisation of entering and leaving troops, which reduces arbitrariness of governments up to then. Art number 4 of that Law establishes that the Executive Power must ask for authorisation of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Defence Ministers, the two latter in accordance with Armed Forces and Security staff. Decree number 1157/04, after the Law, establishes that forces involved in UN peace-keeping operations can only leave the country without authorisation if they are not part of a mission, or if they do not constitute elements which are of conflict prevention and peace-keeping or consolidation activities.
54 Such as for example the ones of the journal Agenda Internacional which in their Current affairs section heavily criticised this decision [Agenda Internacional: visión desde el sur, Buenos Aires, Año I, June-August 2004, 117-118]
55 La Nación, 6 June 2004.
56 La Nación, 6 June 2004.
57 Clarín, 18 June 2004.
58 This ambiguity responds to what we have already mentioned in Todorov about the intervention principle in the new world order. [TODOROV, 2003, 44-45]
59 A day after this the Brazilian Senate had already authorised its troops. (Clarin, 22 May 2004)
60 Some time later, as it was manifested by Minister Pampuro, the idea was to expand it by including 250 or 300 more men (Clarin, 14 September 2004) but later, this official denied this version after the incidents in which an Argentinean army officer was wounded (Clarin, 12 October 2004)
61 La Nación, 6 June 2004
62 We refer only to the political discussion, as academic interventions are within the same record. See [TELLO, 2004, TOKATLIAN, 2004b, 46-47 y 2004c, 6; TIBILETTI 2004, 16 y BOTANA, 2004, 6]
63 Clarín, 18 June 2004.
64 This measure has no support in the population, as shown in two polls published around that time (Clarin, 2 June 2004 and Pagina 12, 20 June 2004), as 70 per cent declared against it. Although the latter also indicated lack of knowledge of the subject and that Argentine peoples lives were privileged.
65 There is a departure here from some of the pints mentioned as elements of his international security policy, above all the one referring to sovereignty and self-determination. Although later on he continued to support multilateralism and its regional character, he incorporated its multidimenrional character above the military one, as a result of replacement of troops of that mission [BIELSA, 2005, 10; KIRCHNER, 2005ª y 2005b; PAMPURRO, 2005, 27]
66 Clarín, 17 June 2004. This critique takes place within the context of the maximalist perception of our foreign policy.
67In fact this was the only aspect that was changed from the original project which established automatic renovation from the Executive Power, over three periods of 6 months, after which the theme would be discussed in Congress once again
68 Clarín, 17 June 2004.
69 Clarin, 17 June 2004.
70 This is so to such an extent that in spite of the many suspicions of indirect support, these cannot be confirmed with the data available. Our only doubt in this respect refers to the offer by Duhalde of replacing the US in the Caribbean which could have materialised in the Haiti mission.