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The Atlas Community and the Constructing of Argentina’s Donald Trump


Lambert right here: If Javier Milei turns into President, I’m unsure what view he would tackle getting into BRICS. And vice versa.

By Lucas Araldi, a Brazilian journalist and a PhD Candidate in Political Science on the College of Kassel, Germany. He research the struggles between proper wing and progressive networks of intellectuals on environmental and labor insurance policies in Latin America. Initially revealed at DeSmog.

Ask Argentine politician, economist, and presidential candidate Javier Milei what he thinks of local weather change, and he would possibly inform you that it’s “one other lie of socialism” and “a part of the agenda of Cultural Marxism.” 

The appropriate-wing politician is a part of coalition Libertad Avanza and this August received essentially the most votes in Argentina’s main election, enabling him to run for president on October 23. 

He gained prominence by his speak present appearances, making his debut on the political speak present Animales Sueltos (Stray Animals) in 2016. As well as, he hosted his personal radio program referred to as Demoliendo Mitos (Debunking Myths).

In 2021, Milei was elected as a nationwide deputy for Buenos Aires. Previous to this, he had constructed an in depth profession in each the private and non-private sectors as an economist, even holding the place of Chief Economist at HSBC.

Milei has been in contrast to right-wing populist leaders Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro as a consequence of his direct and aggressive manner of talking and his radical proposals. Milei would doubtless be flattered by the comparability — he’s a big fan of those right-wing populists which have emerged lately.

Milei received 30 p.c of the vote within the August main — practically 10 p.c greater than the next-most-popular candidate — with a political platform that mixes radical neoliberal coverage proposals with a conservative populist ethical agenda. His financial proposals embody decreasing the variety of authorities ministries, slicing public spending, dollarizing the financial system, and “exploding” the Central Financial institution, in Milei’s personal phrases. 

Milei didn’t arrive at these proposals on his personal; his views, notably regarding the financial system, have been formed by the Atlas Community, a U.S. nonprofit that works to unfold free-market suppose tanks everywhere in the world. 

Based mostly in Washington, D.C., the Atlas Community helps greater than 500 free-market organizations. A few of these teams, such because the Heartland Institute, are additionally concerned in local weather science denial and in campaigns in opposition to laws to restrict greenhouse fuel emissions.

Round 100 suppose tanks in Latin America — 10 of that are in Argentina — are a part of Atlas’s net. Between 2010 and 2021, Atlas gave roughly $12 million USD to suppose tanks within the area, largely for “financial training,” in accordance with U.S. tax filings analyzed by DeSmog. Internationally, together with in Latin America, Atlas suppose tanks collaborate past nationwide borders, sharing methods and beliefs. It’s common, for instance, for Atlas suppose tanks to share board members and even create their very own networks, equivalent to Purple Liberal de America Latina (RELIAL).

Alberto Benegas Lynch, who serves as an adviser for Milei and in addition is a director at Mont Pelerin Society, is an instance of transnational ties throughout the community. He’s a part of a number of Atlas Community teams in Latin America, equivalent to Fundación Federalismo y Libertad and Instituto Libertad y Progreso, each in Argentina, Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala, and Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo in Uruguay.  

Lynch can also be identified for making denialist statements about local weather change. In an opinion article revealed in 2018 within the Argentinian on-line newspaper Infobae, for instance, he argued that local weather change is a fraud based mostly on distortion of statistics. He constructed his argument from alleged research of John Coleman, Ivar Giaever, and Patrick Moore.

The Argentine newspaper La Nación describes the connection between Milei and Lynch as one among admiration, as Milei incessantly cites Lynch. Past that, Lynch wrote a number of occasions on the Instituto Libertad y Progreso’s web site about his relationship with Milei, in addition to his proposals, and the way Milei means a miracle for Argentine politics.

Milei advantages from the entire infrastructure of concepts boosted by the Atlas Community to undertaking himself as presidential. Whereas the opposite conventional candidates shouldn’t have a platform of suppose tanks that may assist them, Milei manages to maneuver between these institutes and use them as hubs for disseminating his concepts and as a secure area for advancing the talk on his agenda.

As an illustration, Milei has connections to different Latin American suppose tanks within the Atlas Community. He has attended conferences and took part in occasions promoted by the Fundación Libertad y Progreso, Federalismo y Libertad, and Fundación Atlas, all based mostly in Argentina. He additionally participated in Instituto de Estudos Empresariais’s Liberty Discussion board 2022 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Articles in Fundación Atlas’s weblog reward him, with Axel Kaiser, government director at Fundación para El Progreso in Chile, writing that Milei helps restore Argentina’s Libertarian legacy by establishing a “cultural and political motion which grew to become the third manner.” In 2018, Fundación Atlas awarded Milei the Liberty Prize.

Milei sat on the advisory board of Fundación Libre (FL), an Argentine far-right suppose tank that was a part of Atlas. FL promoted “particular person freedom and republicanism” within the face of “hegemonic progressive ideology and the empire of politically correctness.” Though FL didn’t focus totally on denying local weather change, it did characteristic climate-related content material, like a YouTube video criticizing Greta Thunberg, that has since been eliminated. 

Milei, nevertheless, is thought for denying local weather change, claiming that the planet’s temperature is at present at its lowest degree prior to now 15,000 years. His supply for this perception is a graph from a 2008 examine by the geologist Don J. Easterbrook — who is thought for erroneously predicting “international cooling.” Nevertheless, this graph relies on information solely from Greenland and isn’t a dependable indicator of local weather change, in accordance with fact-checking teams in Argentina.

Though Milei makes use of local weather denialism to ignite his followers, local weather change was barely mentioned within the Argentine primaries, despite the fact that the incidence of excessive climate occasions has elevated twofold since 1980 and will grow to be even worse within the coming a long time. As an alternative, candidates targeted on the nation’s present meals disaster: Argentina faces one of many largest meals inflations on the earth and greater than 4 million folks within the nation are meals insecure. This state of affairs additionally might grow to be worse as a consequence of local weather change’s impacts on Argentine agriculture. 

Milei’s vital end result on the polls reveals that the free-market, neoliberal beliefs the Atlas Community is selling have an enormous organizational power in Argentina that may be transformed into votes. Even when Milei doesn’t win the October presidential election, his rise to this degree of politics means a victory for the Atlas Community.

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