March 8, 2014
Iran is a step too far
From Where I Stand
CHARLESTON, South Carolina — The major difference between the presidency of the late Néstor Kirchner and that of his widow, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is that the former thought about the consequences of his actions, while the latter seems to be driven tempestuously by emotion.
Let me rush to state that I am not making a judgment based on gender. The chief executive is no more, and certainly no less, emotional than her coterie of admiring advisers.
The chief executive is no more, and certainly no less, emotional that her coterie of admiring advisers. I have in mind Horacio Verbitsky, dean of the pro-Cristina press corps; soccer commentator-turned-cultural journalist Victor Hugo Morales, who is everywhere and ever ready to defend everything to do with the Kirchner monocracy; and the philosopher/writer Eduardo Feinman, a modern day Sir Walter Raleigh in his devotion to his sovereign. There are many others in and around the government and in and out of Congress, who also let their emotions be their guide. They are of both genders.
What the president and her adulators have in common is that they don’t think things through.
That, at least. is my impression. By contrast, Néstor Kirchner gave me the impression that he knew exactly what he was doing and was ready to handle the consequences, which he had considered in advance. When he decided to make human rights a major plank in his political agenda, he took a considerable risk by throwing all his weight behind the reopening of the trials of amnestied military officers for crimes against humanity.
He instrumented a symbolic act that put the military in their place by ordering the Army commander to take down the portraits of Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, the first and last of the dictators to rule Argentina from 1976 to 1983. He also set in motion a purge of the armed forces that signified the end of military intervention and influence for the foreseeable future.
During his term in office (2003 to 2007), President Néstor Kirchner provided what British politicians call “the smack of firm government.”
Margaret Thatcher mastered the technique, while many of her male predecessors and successors lacked her authority. Her ‘smack’ finally failed her; but she lost it only at the end of a long (11 « -year) reign.
The fact that the President is a lady has nothing to do with the fact that since the death of Néstor Kirchner on October 27, 2010, Argentina has not had “firm government” although she certainly has not lost her “smack.” President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, unlike her husband, gives the impression of acting without sufficient forethought. The two standout examples of failure to consider the consequences, combined with thoughtless statements, have been the takeover of YPF and the mishandling of the case before the 2nd District Court in New York involving holdout bondholders which caused the judge to accuse the President and government officials of defying the court. The continuing saga of the chasm between the official peso rate for the dollar and the price being paid on the euphemistically termed “blue” market, which hints at a future devaluation that theoretically could be as high as 50 percent, is the consequence of an ill thought out plan to control and limit foreign currency transactions.
More and more consequences of slapdash government are, like proverbial chickens, coming home to roost. Abroad, another kind of bird causing trouble is the vulture, whose name has been given to hedge funds that have bought up Argentine government bonds on the cheap and are demanding payment in full, holding hostage Argentine assets abroad, like the training vessel Libertad, or, it is feared, the presidential jet.
But nothing promises more dire consequences than the President’s decision to embrace the misogynist ayatollahs of Iran, one of the world’s most repressive regimes that appears intent on acquiring nuclear weapons. by agreeing to a deal that would set up a “Truth Commission” to sit in judgment on the alleged involvement of Iranian officials in the terrorist bombing of AMIA (1994), the Jewish social centre in Buenos Aires.
An earlier attack (1992) levelled the Israeli Embassy. The two terrorists claimed the lives of 114 people and injured 542.
Néstor Kirchner established a strategic embrace with the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez, steering Argentina to the left in a loose alliance with other leftwing governments in Latin America but resisted Chávez’ efforts to align Argentina with Iran. His widow, Cristina, has taken a step too far as witnessed by the growing concern expressed by
Argentine Jews and a broad front of opposition parties.
I think the best way to demonstrate how dangerous it will be if the “Memorandum of Understanding” signed by Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on January 27 is ratified by Congress is to quote from an editorial in the Tehran Times, the semi-official English language newspaper that speaks for the government.
After an introduction that speaks of Argentina and Iran settling disputes through “understanding and just means on a mutually agreed basis,” it goes on to say:
“Over the past 19 years, the Iranian authorities have constantly insisted that the truth about this case should be discovered because the original case was upheld by a corrupt and partial judge. Iran not only was not afraid of the truth being discovered but was also insisting that the entire world should know the truth about this case.
Therefore, this agreement is strictly in line with the Iranian diplomatic position.
“We hope that through this report, light will be shed on the dark aspects of this case and we will finally find out who was really behind this terrorist attack, or at least understand against whom false accusations were made without any hard evidence for all these years.”
Boiled down the editorial says that the verdict is already in and that Iran had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks. It is clear that Iran intends to be judge and jury in this case and that the outcome has been decided beforehand.
You can read it all here: