Degradation of Modern Diplomacy: The Case of Spain and Argentina

Milei-attends-the- Viva24- Forum
Spain recalls ambassador after Argentina’s Milei calls PM’s wife ‘corrupt’.

For the last month, Argentina President Javier Milei and Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez have been involved in a public spat involving the latter’s wife, corruption scandals, drug addiction allegations, and loud accusations of authoritarianism. The level of tensions has gotten so high that Spain permanently recalled its Ambassador in the Latin American country and has threatened to cut diplomatic relations.

A few weeks ago, Milei attended the Viva24 Forum — an international gathering of far-right parties. The list of participants also included Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as well as French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, etc. Standing just a few kilometers away from the Moncloa Palace — the official residence of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez — Milei made headlines attacking the latter’s wife for being “corrupt”. His speech was referencing the recent corruption scandal, in which Begoña Gomez allegedly used her business connections to enrich herself and her family while Sánchez has been Prime Minister.

It is no wonder such a blatant violation of diplomatic etiquette and basic decency angered Sánchez and the whole Spanish government. Within hours of Milei’s attack, Spain recalled its ambassador and Albares slammed the visiting president’s “insult”. Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said that this incident had no precedents in the history of diplomacy and constituted a clear “violation of the principle of non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states”. He added that Spain was going “to take all appropriate measures in defence of its security, sovereignty, and dignity”. Sánchez himself demanded “public apologies” from Argentina’s President.

However, Javier Milei refused, hitting back at Sánchez by calling him a “laughing stock of Europe”. “He attacked me in every way possible, and when I responded in the abstract with an example, he felt targeted and used every state apparatus to respond, to the detriment of a beautiful relationship between the peoples of Spain and Argentina,” Milei told local television station LN+. He added that it is Sánchez who should apologize for the fact that over the last few months Spain’s socialist government has regularly called Milei a “drug addict,” a “mentally ill person,” an “authoritarian leader”, and “a threat to democracy”. This way both leaders and both governments have been involved in a kind of “circus diplomacy”, whereby both acted like clowns to the detriment of the Spanish and Argentinian people’s interests.

Spanish companies, including banks BBVA and Banco Santander and Zara-owner Inditez, the world’s biggest fashion retailers, are the second largest investors in Argentina behind US enterprises. This diplomatic spat can prove to have significant consequences for the well-being of Argentina and give a powerful blow to Spanish companies’ interests in the country. Spanish companies invest over $15 billion a year in Argentina and Pedro Sánchez has already hinted at the fact that they will be advised to invest their capital elsewhere.

The real question is, why has all of this begun? The answer lies in the European Parliament elections. In a couple of weeks, Europeans will go to polling stations to cast their votes for beautiful pictures they see on TV screens, newspapers and social media. For the last month, Spanish far-right party Vox has been using the figure of Milei, popular in Spanish-language media, to discredit the socialist bloc headed by Sánchez. Socialists are trying to counteract these attacks, trying to show that the ultra-right has gone crazy. As a result, diplomacy becomes subordinated to the interests of certain political groups, thereby national interests take a secondary role.

When Sánchez and Milei took office, they placed their hands on the Constitutions of their countries and swore an oath to protect the well-being of their people. As a result, the well-being of the Spanish and Argentinian peoples in this situation was replaced by the personal interests of Javier Milei and Pedro Sánchez and the political movements that they represent. Western democracy often turns diplomacy into clowning and politicians into clowns who desperately cling to any opportunity to gain votes in the upcoming elections, without thinking about further consequences. This is the biggest danger to democracy and the biggest danger that democracy brings to societies around the world.

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