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Both the complex internal situation subsequent to and the political debates in Argentina in the following 12 years created a framework in which domestic politics played a growing role in foreign policy formation. Given this, the Kirchner governments advanced the idea of a strong relationship between social interests and needs and external activities. This cannot be regarded as a fundamental shift towards foreign policy formation by means of social demands and democratisation, or even a diminution of central decision-making by the executive.

However, it can be argued that any analysis of Argentine foreign policy in this period must take into account the internal political situation, pressures exerted by domestic actors, and the linkages between state and society. This detracted from foreign policy's 'exceptional' status as detached and delinked from domestic political dynamics, and driven by external factors. Similar trends in other South American countries in the 21 st century, notably the advent of the 'Pink Tide', have led scholars to argue that, in contrast with the past, foreign policy should be conceived as public policy Lima , subject to the same domestic influences and demands as other state policies.

This suggests, as argued by Rosenau and Putnam some time ago, that foreign policy should be regarded as the product of permanent interaction between the internal and international environments, and not only of systemic influences. Consequently, we agree with Milani and Pinheiro : 12 that foreign policy requires 'research parameters that comprise the various parties in the decision-making process in its most diverse forms of participation, taking into account the variety of models of political interaction influence, participation, co-operation, resistance, conflict '.

In this article, I seek to provide a preliminary insight into this dimension by analysing how and why domestic dynamics gained growing influence over foreign policy in the Kirchner years, notably by aligning it more closely with internal social demands. To this end, I have selected a set of concepts neoliberal crisis, state collapse, public policy, domestic constraints, foreign policy, democratically oriented foreign policy, and international insertion that will be unpacked and interlinked to help us gain an understanding of this process.

I will start by analysing why the practice and analysis of foreign policy as public policy appear late in Argentina. Following this, I address the impact of the economic crisis on foreign policy. Next, I deal specifically with the influence of domestic factors over Kirchnerist foreign policy.

Lastly, I provide some conclusions. The first approaches do not disclaim the formal status of foreign policy as public policy; however, they emphasise the relative lack of social influence over foreign policy formation, which sets it apart from the interactions between state and society on other public policies.

Oszlak and O'Donnell : 6 describe public policy as:. Out of that intervention, it can be inferred a certain directionality, a purposive regulatory orientation, which foreseeably affect the future social process already developed around that issue. In this perspective, every public policy links three dimensions, namely the political, administrative and social spheres, in that it responds to social requirements or needs, is developed mainly in the political domain, and is executed by the state administration Salazar Vargas Therefore, as noted earlier, conceiving foreign policy as public policy implies focusing on domestic actors and their relations with the state.

This is necessary in order to analyse the impact of domestic dynamics on foreign policy, which affects not only its politicisation and democratisation, but also its contents. However, caution should be exercised in establishing a simple causal link between domestic actors and social, political and economic dynamics on the one hand, and a 'democratically oriented foreign policy' on the other. In Argentina, this approach has not featured prominently in political practice or academic work.

Consequently, it is appropriate to ask why it has emerged at such a relatively late stage, and in lockstep with redemocratisation. I argue that the answer points to multiple causes, which shed light on the question in turn. These include the primacy of certain foreign policy theories, the global distribution of power, and domestic institutional instability and constitutional rights. As regards the primacy of certain theories, it is well-known that the internationalist epistemic society regards the realist school as the main paradigm for the interpretation of international relations up until the s.

In terms of classical realism, foreign policy is determined exclusively by international factors, with public policy a state response to the threats and opportunities presented by the external context. In this perspective, the state is a 'unified and rational actor that adopts a foreign policy as a reflection of the risks and situations presented in the international system - global or regional - aiming at maximizing its interest' Lasagna : Consequently, as noted by Lima , foreign policy formation is a relatively discrete process, isolated from the society in which it takes place.

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To this should be added the elitist conception in classical realism of those who are in a position to think about the world, and identify and defend the national interest in this context. In this view, this is the proper task of statesmen, supported by specialised bureaucracies. In contrast with other public policies, social participation is not taken into account, and is even regarded as harmful. Argentine academics were influenced by the classical realist school, and drew on it extensively to explain foreign policy in the s.

By contrast, while classical realism also predominated in the USA, it coexisted with liberal theories, which linked foreign policy to features of the domestic political system which were separate from the state, and with behavioural ones, which encouraged studies of the domestic decision-making process. In Argentina, the realist influence detracted from other approaches. However, it is necessary to mention national and regional theoretical approaches which, flowing from various disciplines and ideological convictions, place constraints on the realist consolidation.

In the case of Argentina, these include Prebisch's development theory, and Puig's autonomy theory. Brazilian academics who engaged with dependency theory as well as Jaguaribe's fruitful ideas include Dos Santos, Furtado, Marini and Cardoso. What those theories have in common is their concern with national development, and the need for greater political autonomy. They suggest that external political and economic policy should be used to address domestic issues, and include not only to domestic but also systemic variables. Positive results of the import substitution policy proposed by the developmentalists and the political and academic interest in dependency theory faded away with the advent of the conservative neoliberal model of Reagan and Thatcher in the early s.

Those new ideas radiated out into the globalised world of the s, enabling the pre-eminence of 'unique thought' and 'democracies by default' 1 which led to the depoliticisation of civil society. However, the crisis of the neoliberal model in Argentina opened the door to greater social mobilisation as well as the recovery of political and economic concepts forming part of 'South Theory'. The latter were regularly mentioned by the Kirchner governments when they argued for the need to link foreign policy to domestic needs and interests.

On the other hand, the distribution of power at the global level also strengthened the notion that foreign policy responds mainly to systemic influences. This was more evident to weak states than to powerful ones. In this framework, beyond Argentina's initial international insertion as the 'granary of the world', it was also described as a 'developing country' and therefore, from the perspective of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean CEPAL , part of the periphery, thereby perpetuating the debate over an appropriate international insertion scheme Miranda , The persistence of political problems as well as low levels of development gave rise to the perception that Argentine foreign policy was largely shaped by the influence of the great powers and major international economic and financial actors Russell In other words, the prevailing ideas stressed that developing countries were battling with a situation in which the power was somewhere else, and the range of foreign policy alternatives was limited.

Those perceptions were empirically supported. The regional experiences of independent foreign policies related to local development needs, or imbued with new ideologies, had to cope with the constraints imposed by the major powers. Therefore, a paradox appears. While focusing on external factors as the main drivers of foreign policy formed part of a critical view of the major powers, downplaying the importance of domestic factors delimited the formation of both foreign policy and public policy and their subsequent democratisation.

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Another central factor in delimiting social participation in political processes was institutional instability, linked to authoritarian government. Policy formation influenced by democratic interaction between state and society did not exist in Argentina for many years. In this situation, both the type and quality of the political system not only drove foreign policy away from society, but also strengthened the theoretical and methodological premise that their proximity was the exclusive purview of developed democracies.

In this perspective, local interest in foreign policy in those countries were challenged and legitimised by the institutional mechanisms in those countries.

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Thus, active parliaments, institutionalised lobbies, and the presence of policy think-tanks were regarded as important mechanisms for transmitting a range of social and economic interests, enabling them to reach the state and be taken into account in the design of public policies. That experience was not easily transferred to developing countries such as Argentina due to their dictatorships, lower levels of institutional consolidation, and their relative lack of public and private institutions connecting local needs and interests with foreign policies and initiatives.

Finally, the Argentine constitution enables the concentration of decisions about foreign policy in the executive, which tends to draw the foreign policy debate away from the parliamentary arena. As noted by Tokatlian and Merke : , the president is the person who is in charge of foreign policy, which is delegated by the provinces to the federal government. The president signs international agreements article 11 , commands the armed forces article 12 , declares war, with the approval of Congress article 15 , and declares a state of siege in case of an external attack article Although the constitutional reform of aligned the country with the international recognition of human rights article 75, section 22 , the president enjoys wide latitude for determining the country's international orientation.

For Tokatlian and Merke , the presidential system, the electoral codes, and the competition between the Chancellery and other ministries dealing with the external agenda have relegated diplomacy to a secondary position, reducing its autonomy, and enabling a parallel bureaucracy Tokatlian and Merke : In sum, the four aspects noted above explain why, prior to redemocratisation, Argentine foreign policy was located in the executive, with no social participation; and why academics prioritised systemic conditionalities over domestic ones, and viewed foreign policy as essentially distinct from other public policies.

In this context, it is clear that the state did not take into account the interests of civil society Oszlak and O'Donnell or the social component of public policy Salazar Vargas In fact, these factors were not unique to the Kirchner years, but arose from the broader process of Argentine redemocratisation. In addition, losing the Falklands War to Great Britain hampered Argentina's international integration. In this framework, domestic factors played a key role in Menem's successful presidential campaign, during which he acknowledged social discontent and promised to launch a 'productive revolution', and enable a major increase in salaries salariazo.

These factors also played an important role in the reformulation of foreign policy, causing a shift towards alliances with political parties and economic actors of the centre-right politico-economic tradition. This trend was also based on the Menem administration's perceptions of global shifts and the need to reform the Argentine economy, which became a central consideration in formulating public policy, including foreign policy. Notably, this amounted to a recognition of a post-Cold War order of rampant globalisation, the predominance of market economies, and US global leadership.

Therefore, in order to improve its international insertion, Argentina had to live 'in tune with the time' Menem , inter alia by aligning its foreign policy with Washington and the neoliberal economic criteria prevailing worldwide in the s Busso Although the economic and financial crisis of was as severe as that of , and shared some features such as high levels of public spending without access to finance, a public debt crisis, capital flight, and rising social demands, they were not identical.


While in both cases the institutional difficulties led the president handing over power earlier, in the second crisis this process involved five presidents in a single week, a social demand of 'everybody out! On the other hand, Menemism involved a different approach to domestic impacts on foreign policy than Kirchnerism. While Menem believed that Argentina's economic problems should be solved by creating a transnationalised economy rather than concentrating on self-generated development, Kirchner supported the latter option.

Kirchner inherited the crisis, regarded as the worst in Argentine history for its consequences at the political, economic, institutional and social levels. Thus, international loan defaults, quasi-currencies, unemployment, poverty, difficulties in maintaining sound governance, a deterioration of the presidential image, and social mistrust of politics had all contributed to the widespread sense of despair and disillusionment present in May when he assumed office.

In fact, it could be argued that Argentina was on the way to becoming a collapsed state Corigliano This can be assessed against five of the ten indicators suggested by Pauline H Baker and John A Ausink , 4 as follows:. Of those, 9. This situation affected the most vulnerable, but also the middle and lower middle classes. As a result, the government introduced limits on the withdrawal of money from bank accounts, which became known as the corralito playpen.

Debt repayments were suspended the biggest default ever. The equivalence between the peso and the dollar was terminated, and an asymmetric pesification system was adopted. In the next two years , more left the country. During and after the crisis, public services in Argentina deteriorated significantly.

A lack of investment by private companies that had received concessions in the s and the failure of the state to exercise its control functions affected electricity, water and transport. Furthermore, the massive social demonstrations limited the free movement of people in the big cities and along domestic routes, thereby exacerbating perceptions of ungovernability.

Followed the massive social demonstrations referred to as cacerolazos casserole , during which people banged on pots and pans; the looting of shops; and the popular rejection of politicians encapsulated in the slogan 'Everybody out! On 19 and 20 December , security forces killed 39 people, including nine children.


According to these indicators, then, the Argentine state showed clear signs of collapsing, largely because of a crisis of neoliberalism, with poverty, exclusion, migration, a mistrust of politics, institutional weakness, widespread social demands, and anomie among the symptoms. This was the challenge Kirchner sought to address in Argentina. Among other things, it led to domestic needs and demands being prioritised as a source of foreign policy.

Foreign policy, international insertion, and internal constraints during the Kirchner administrations. The complex and urgent internal agenda had a major impact on foreign policy, as the latter was now regarded as a tool for resolving domestic problems.

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This approach echoes Lafer, who states that the purpose of foreign policy should be to help address local needs and interests. Consequently, 'translating internal needs into external possibilities so as to extend the society's control of their destiny is the focal point of foreign policy as public policy, and this implies the assessment of the specificity of the problems, needs and interests from a perspective that comprises the national common good, which is not a simple task' Lafer : Lafer's assertion leads to a central debate in Argentina between economic liberalism, which encourages modalities of insertion that favour the dominant power, and developmentalism, which is associated with the quest for autonomy Pignatta Kirchnerism adhered to the second perspective, and introduced a quest for autonomy associated with an inclusive industrial development model.

Therefore, Argentina's international insertion was not conceived as a process for the accumulation of power derived from the relationships and alignments with powerful actors, but as a process derived from the concept that a country projects itself from the inside to the outside. Ferrer's notion of 'national density' reflects this vision by positing a strong relationship between the solidity of internal political and economic conditions and chances of success in meeting international challenges.

In this view, Argentina is still a country under construction, and therefore needs to strengthen its 'national density' if it is to move forward. This requires social cohesion, strong leadership, institutional and political stability, critical thinking about social reality, and sound economic policies. According to Ferrer, successful countries have always take steps to increase their 'national density', thereby demonstrating that strong states are built from the inside out and not the other way round Ferrer In this framework, the Kirchner administrations sought to improve social cohesion by reducing poverty, increasing employment, and accelerating the redistribution of income.

At the same time, they succeeded in vindicating politics, and recovering presidential leadership. Furthermore, they were critical of the current international order, opposing the double standards of powerful states, the speculative pressures exerted by the international financial sector, and the constraints imposed by multilateral financial institutions notably the IMF and World Bank , and vindicated multilateralism and the importance of regional space.

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Finally, they adhered to the neo-developmental tendency which emerged in South America in the first decade of the 21 st century, which sought to foster national development on an industrial basis.