Assessing the Viability of Javier Milei’s Radical Policies in Argentina

Javier Milei, the newly elected president of Argentina, has garnered attention for his radical policy proposals and controversial statements. As he prepares to take over the country’s third-largest economy, many are questioning whether his policies will withstand the test of reality. One of Milei’s most provocative propositions is to dollarize the economy and eliminate the Argentine Central Bank. While this idea may appeal to some, it would require approval from Argentina’s Congress and could necessitate constitutional changes. Additionally, experts are skeptical about the feasibility of Milei’s plans, as they could weaken the government’s ability to manage domestic monetary policy and make the economy more vulnerable to external shocks involving the US dollar. Furthermore, Argentina would need a substantial amount of US dollars to replace the pesos, which the country currently does not possess and may struggle to borrow. Milei himself has acknowledged that his proposed economic stabilization may take up to two years and cautioned against false expectations. Another contentious topic surrounding Milei is his apparent skepticism of climate change. By denying the role of humans in global warming and proposing to eliminate the environment ministry, Milei risks alienating international leaders who prioritize addressing climate change. His antagonistic stance towards Pope Francis, whom he previously referred to as the “representative of the evil one,” created tensions with the Vatican and the local Catholic Church. However, shortly after his election win, Milei conducted a friendly phone call with the Pope and invited him to visit Argentina, signaling a shift towards pragmatism in his approach. On the foreign policy front, Milei’s initial statement about potentially cutting ties with Brazil and China caused concern in Beijing and Brasilia. The outgoing left-wing President Alberto Fernández had nurtured ties with China, which included a currency swap deal and benefits for Argentina’s agricultural exports. However, signs after the election indicate that major breaks in relations are unlikely, with Milei receiving a letter of congratulations from Chinese President Xi Jinping and expressing gratitude towards him on social media. Milei’s invitation to former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to attend his inauguration was seen as unfriendly towards President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Nonetheless, Milei has since clarified that Lula would be well-received if he chose to attend. Lastly, Milei and his vice-presidential running mate, Victoria Villarruel, sparked controversy by challenging the widely accepted number of people who were abducted and disappeared during Argentina’s military dictatorship. By contesting the estimate of 30,000 and suggesting a lower number, they faced outrage from groups like the Plaza de Mayo mothers and grandmothers. With Milei at the helm, Argentina will have a front-row seat to witness whether his radical approach can truly bring about significant change in the next four years.