Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Labeling Daniel Scioli

A Bush administration official takes a look at the Argentine elections, and the result is illuminating. His goal is to pin an ideological label on Daniel Scioli but his failure to do so makes him frustrated to the point that he blames Scioli for not having a more black and white ideological bent.

Scioli has a hard time choosing who he wants to be and how he wants to be seen.

Wrong. Politicians aren't required to force themselves into boxes. Sometimes they do, but Latin American leaders have been bedeviling U.S. pundits for years. Ollanta Humala in Peru may well be the best case, where media coverage started at "leftist" (even by U.S. leftists!) and soon shifted to "market-friendly ally" (who rang the Wall Street bell).

So let's stop all the labeling. This was a Bush administration obsession and fortunately Obama has done so much less. As I argued earlier this year, Latin American leaders are far more pragmatic than U.S. admit:

The vast majority of what we consider the Latin American left operates under the assumption that policies should be geared to harnessing capitalism, not overthrowing it. As a result, most governments defy easy binary categorization.

This is true of Argentina, perhaps even more so because Peronism is traditionally so amorphous, always eluding easy left and right labels.


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