Arrogant Nancy Pelosi’s Caucasian Weekend

Why is the Speaker of the US Parliament going to Armenia?

Author Andrey Nikolaev

After a successful summer provocative tour to Taiwan, Nancy Pelosi flies to another hot spot in every sense – sunny Armenia. But if, in the case of China, the intention of the United States was clear, then who should be angered by the current visit of an elderly American politician to Armenia?

It is unlikely that the arrival of such a distinguished guest can impress at least someone in the Caucasus. Except for Armenia itself. And the declared purpose of the visit? A demonstration of support for the people of Armenia in the face of the so-called “aggression” of Azerbaijan. It looks like a rather on-duty mission. Or not?

Maybe the US is failing to realize its plans? With the arrival of Pelosi, Washington wants to give its role additional political weight.

This is quite possible if we assume the following course of events.

The West is represented by various players so far. The United States tried in every possible way to pull over the process of a peaceful settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Participants in the negotiation process, including Russia and Azerbaijan, did not fundamentally object to different platforms for discussion. Moscow and Baku understood that such a blur could eventually lead to Armenia refusing the route map defined in the agreement on November 9, 2020.

The information that Yerevan could take such steps became known in Baku after the visit of the co-chair of the Minsk Group from the United States, Philip Reeker. It seems that during the meeting with Pashinyan, the American diplomat conveyed ultimatum demands to pedal the peace talks.

No news demands by Baku

Realizing that the peace agreement implementation was drifting away into an unpredictable distance, Aliyev decided on a military scenario. Further waiting could again stretch for years. Meanwhile, Baku did not put forward any new demands. Baku only demanded the implementation of earlier agreements.

Judging by Aliyev’s actions, he might not have known what instructions Philip Ricoeur gave to the Armenian leadership. And, perhaps, he acted based on his political logic, like a sentry on duty, opening fire on a warning. It is no coincidence that a ceasefire was announced the next day, September 13. Baku was waiting for a reaction.

But then Philip Ricoeur went to Baku. And here, Aliyev realized that he was not mistaken in his assumptions. Military activity continued.

In the arguments of the experts, the scenario of crossing the Armenian border by Azerbaijan was assessed as impossible. After all, Armenia is a member of the CSTO, if there is external interference, then Russia will be obliged to intervene.

But this scenario suits Azerbaijan quite well. After all, Baku is also an ally of Moscow, according to the declaration signed by Putin and Aliyev on February 22, 2022. Just two days before the start of the special operation, which is very symbolic.

Activating CSTO Mechanism

Military activity on the Armenian border in the Zangezur region will activate the CSTO mechanism. At the same time, only the 102nd base of the Russian Federation in the Armenian city of Gyumri, as well as units of the Border Guard Service of the FSB of Russia, which, by agreement with Armenia, participate in the protection of the Armenian-Turkish border, can be the most quickly reacting component of the CSTO in this zone.

Russian units will take control of the territory of the Zangezur corridor, and this will suit Azerbaijan quite well, as it is fully consistent with the agreement of November 9, 2020, which states:

The Republic of Armenia guarantees the security of transport communication between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic in order to organize the unhindered movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions. Control over transport communications is carried out by the Border Guard Service of the FSB of Russia.

By agreement of the Parties, the construction of new transport communications will be provided linking the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic with the western regions of Azerbaijan.

Such a course of events will lead to a result that has long been agreed upon and agreed upon with Armenia in principle. But Yerevan cannot take this step because:

  • The active objections of the opposition and a significant part of society.
  • Behind-the-scenes games of Western sponsors.

Washington needs to squeeze Russia out of the Transcaucasus. And at the same time, prevent Turkey and Azerbaijan from creating transport communications.

The scenario of transferring the corridor under the control of the CSTO, read Russia, seems to be playing against the United States. However, one should not underestimate the ability of American policy to Jesuit logic.

They may well use their defeat for their own purposes, presenting Russia in the eyes of the Armenians as the main manipulator and beneficiary. And then the formal alliance of Russia with respect to Armenia will be presented as actual deceit and hypocrisy.

Quite complicated attitude towards Russia

In Armenia, the attitude towards Russia is already quite complicated. Many believe that Moscow could do much more for Armenia than introducing a peacekeeping contingent and patronage in peace negotiations. And on such fertile ground, the anti-Russian narrative can yield results.

But so far, the Armenian opposition is not promoting the anti-Russian agenda. Protesters in Armenia are trying to recruit one of the former presidents of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan, as their leader. He enjoys great prestige and respect in Armenia. Himself a native of Karabakh, a war hero of the early 1990s, and he is considered a friend of Russia.

The anti-Pashinyan sentiments of the opposition, with the work of Western sponsors, will be able to turn the country against Russia, making the latter guilty for all the troubles of Armenia. In this case, Armenia’s withdrawal from the CSTO will only be a matter of time. And a very short one. Then a tactical victory for Russia in Transcaucasia could become a strategic defeat.

Iran Aircraft Maintenance Consortium With China, India & Russia

Iran is to form an aircraft maintenance consortium with China, India and Russia. Mohammad Mohammadi Bakhsh, the Head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran (CAO) has announced that four countries have been sending their commercial passenger planes to the Iran for repairs and maintenance and that it will form a consortium with India, China, and Russia to set necessary standards for aircraft repair services.

Iran has repaired six foreign aircraft and several airplane engines this year and has achieved the required level of airworthiness. Iran is also planning to build three types of jet aircraft in the 50, 72 and 150 seat capacity passenger planes. Russia is also in a partnership with the nearby UAE to develop a new generation of supersonic aircraft.

Aircraft maintenance has become an issue due to the West’s sanctions, which prevent replacement parts and maintenance equipment being sent to both Russia and Iran. However, both China and Russia have well-established aviation manufacturing industries; both have been developing their own domestic aircraft for decades, while India has a significant role in the global aviation parts industry.

Opting out of Airbus and Boeing supplies

All these countries possess significant Airbus and Boeing fleets, but will now be opting to install parts and conduct maintenance without the support of the original manufacturers – a blow to the aviation supply chain industry in the United States and Europe. These will talk up issues concerning safety, yet China and India already supply parts to both manufacturers. China especially will be highly diligent in its approach to parts, as a one-party state it cannot afford to have its citizens exposed to airworthiness problems – prior to covid Chinese airlines carried 585 million passengers. Asia carried more passengers (35%) in that year than any other region, including Europe (27%) and North America (22%). Currently, air traffic post-covid is at about 65% of 2019 levels.

The decision to form an aircraft repair and maintenance consortium between China, India, Iran, and Russia will also surely lead in future to the development of an Asian-built passenger airliner to challenge, in time, the Wests dominance of the aviation industry and to provide alternatives as Western sanctions motivate them to do so.

This is already occurring. To reduce their reliance on Western systems, China and Russia are improving their indigenous technologies: Russia is hoping to carry out the first test flight for the in-development high-thrust Aviadvigatel PD-35 engine later this year, while China is working on its CJ-2000 turbofan, aimed at powering the CR929 passenger airliner that both are jointly working on. That could be in service by 2025-26.

China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan Link

Proposed Corridor Would link Afghanistan to South Asia and the INSTC 

Uzbekistan has proposed the launch of a new Central Asian “China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan” transport corridor. It is according to Uzbekistan’s national railway company Temir Yullari.

This initiative was discussed during a meeting between the acting chairman of the board of Uzbekistan Temir Yullari, Khusnutdin Khasilov, and the heads of the railways of Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.

The meeting was attended by the Director General of Kyrgyz railway company (Kyrgyz Temir Zholu), the Director General of the Afghan Railways, as well as representatives of the Chinese Wakhan Corridor logistics company. The Wakhan Corridor is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan, extending to the border with China and separating the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan from the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

According to the Uzbek side, the key point in organizing a new corridor is to create mutually beneficial conditions for cargo transportation. And most importantly, to introduce competitive tariffs.

It is planned to transport goods along this corridor from the Kashgar railway station in China to the Osh railway station in Kyrgyzstan by road. And then from the Osh station to the Hairatan station in Afghanistan by rail.

To date, the annual volume of cargo transportation is 3,500 containers. Plans are to increase this to 60,000 containers per year. The parties agreed to discuss the issue of tariff discounts and to present an updated tariff rate at their next meeting.

To help reconstruction of Afghanistan

The development of such a corridor would help with the reconstruction of Afghanistan and assist with the transformation from a nation at perpetual war to production and peace. Afghanistan is a key part of Central Asia,

bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north, Tajikistan to the northeast, and China to the northeast and east. This position marks it out as a Central Asian hub, which could connect with ocean ports via Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, which would also assist landlocked Uzbekistan reach markets in South Asia and to Europe. Iran has recently announced it intends building rail connections through to Herat, which would provide access to the INSTC.

Beijing has previously announced it is prepared to support the development of trans-Afghan railways.

India’s new hypersonic relies on Russian tech

India’s use of Russian missile know-how in its new BrahMos II hypersonic could trigger US sanctions

India’s new BrahMos II hypersonic missile may feature technology in Russia’s Tsirkon hypersonic weapon. This development will further entrench the two sides’ already deep defence cooperation. It is when India faces Western pressure to distance itself from Moscow.

BrahMos II is jointly developed by India’s Defense and Research Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya. It is the successor to the Brahmos I supersonic cruise missile also jointly developed by the two sides.

BrahMos Aerospace CEO Atul Rane has said that India and Russia have worked out the basic design for BrahMos II. It will take five or six years before the first weapons test is staged.

He also notes that BrahMos II will not be exported. India is a party to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), meaning India can develop missiles with ranges of more than 300 kilometres and a weight of more than 500 kilograms but cannot sell such weapons to third countries.

Despite crippling Western sanctions on Russia’s defence industry imposed over its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and this year’s invasion of Ukraine, Rane mentions that these punitive measures have not affected the development of the Brahmos II project TASS reports.

If the BrahMos II project pushes through, it shows that Russia still has trump cards to play to keep its defence industry afloat. In a 2021 Global Affairs journal article, Viljar Veebel notes that Russia can rely on its open and relatively generous arms export policy. On its proven weapons systems and path dependency to maintain its arms exports. Russia has adeptly played these cards to keep India on its tabs. Particularly on hypersonic weapons development.

Potential strategic repercussions

India is aware of the potential strategic repercussions of its reliance on Russian weapons and military technology. Asia Times has previously reported on India’s overdependence on Russian military hardware, with 60% of its military equipment imports coming from Russia.

No strings attached

Unlike Western arms exporters, Russia does not attach limitations or preconditions to its arms sales. Russia has offered several perks to established partners such as Iran, Syria, Algeria, Egypt, and Libya. These have included better negotiating terms, loans and quicker deliveries. It benefits these countries to purchase arms from Russia over other suppliers.

Sanctions threat on BrahMos

The threat of US sanctions on Russia-India joint defense ventures may have also stoked India’s reservations about its longstanding reliance on Russia.

In a 2018 joint publication between the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and Gateway House, Alexei Kupriyanov and other writers mention that the US Treasury explicitly sanctions NPO Mashinostroyeniya.

While the US has not strictly enforced sanctions on India’s DRDO for dealing with Rosoboronexport and NPO Mashinostroyeniya, should the US choose to do so, US dollar-based payments between Russia and India for the BrahMos II project could trigger sanctions.

Given this, Simha notes that India is pursuing separate hypersonic weapon projects parallel to the BrahMos II. For example, he mentions India’s homegrown Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) is funded and researched separately from Brahmos II.

Another such project is the Shaurya ballistic missile, which reached Mach 7.5 during recent tests. He also mentions that India has built 12 hypersonic wind tunnels to achieve self-reliance in hypersonic weapons development.

Despite these caveats on Russia-India defense cooperation, the established and proven dynamics of these ties may be more practical to advance its hypersonic weapons program.

Russia and Turkey – partial pay for gas in rubles

Presidents of Russia and Turkey Putin and Erdogan agreed on partial payment of gas in rubles

Presidents of Russia and Turkey, Putin and Erdogan, agreed on partial payment of gas in rubles during their recent meeting.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that Turkey promised to partially pay for Russian gas in rubles, Interfax reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on this with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan during talks in Sochi.

We are gradually switching to payment in national currency, part of the supplies will already be paid in Russian rubles. This is indeed a new stage that opens up new opportunities, including for the development of our monetary and financial relations.

Alexander Novak

Novak stressed that today Russia annually exports about 26 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey.

According to him, the heads of state also discussed the financial and banking bloc and reached a number of agreements in these areas.

Today, within the framework of the talks, crucial decisions were reached, which are reaching a new level of development in our trade relations, economy, and almost all sectors.

Alexander Novak

The Deputy Prime Minister added that earlier Putin and Erdogan agreed to achieve a trade turnover of $ 100 billion a year. He noted that companies and citizens of both countries should be able to pay in national currencies during tourist trips and in the process of commodity turnover.

Putin-Erdogan talks

The meeting of the two leaders in the Sochi sanatorium “Rus” lasted more than four hours. The talks were planned to touch upon the topics of cooperation, the effectiveness of the mechanism for the export of grain from Ukrainian ports, as well as the state of affairs in Syria and Ukraine.

The politicians discussed the key importance of trusting relations between Moscow and Ankara for achieving international stability. “On regional issues, the leaders stressed the key importance of sincere, frank and trusting relations between Russia and Turkey for achieving regional and international stability,” the two leaders said in a statement following the talks.

Putin and Erdogan also confirmed the need for full compliance with the grain deal’s conditions, including lifting sanctions on the part of the food and agricultural exports from Russia.

The need to ensure the full implementation of the Istanbul package deal in accordance with its spirit and letter, including the unimpeded export of Russian grain, fertilizers and raw materials for their production, was emphasized.

Kremlin

The politicians also confirmed the will to develop bilateral relations further based on. “Despite the current regional and global challenges, the leaders reaffirmed the common will to further develop Russian-Turkish relations on the basis of respect, recognition of mutual interests and in accordance with their international obligations,” the document says.

Gas for rubles

At the end of March, Putin announced his intention to transfer payment for Russian gas supplies to European countries to rubles. Later, the government published a scheme for which payment would take place. According to it, buyers will open accounts in Gazprombank in rubles and euros, and the credit institution will independently purchase rubles in the domestic market from foreign currency payments for gas.

Subsequently, the authorities of some countries, as well as individual companies, refused to comply with these conditions. It caused Gazprom to stop deliveries to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands.

In June, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Western companies that refused to pay under the new rules had already been disconnected from Russian gas supplies.

FP: Saudi Arabia wants to get even and bets on Putin

 Saudi Arabia wants to get even with insulting Biden and bets on Putin

Saudi Arabia wants to get even with US President Joe Biden for his unfriendly attitude towards the country. It makes a choice in favor of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, writes the American magazine Foreign Policy.The author of the article, Anchal Vohra, drew attention to the fact that Riyadh is in no hurry to meet the requests of Washington and London to increase oil production, citing obligations under OPEC+ .

The kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud sees an opportunity to get even with US President Joe Biden for what he sees as unwarranted insults and unfriendly attitude.

In particular the crown prince is unhappy with the fact that during the election campaign Biden called Saudi Arabia a “rogue”. And as president, he released a report that refers to the involvement of Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In addition, the Saudis believe that the White House is ignoring their concerns about the possible restoration of the Iranian nuclear deal, and also refuses to take action against the Houthis for attacks on their ships and cities.

“The Saudi Crown Prince has bet on Putin. He not only believes, but also hopes that the Republicans will win the midterm elections, and Biden will turn into a lame duck. By 2025, Mohammed bin Salman surely believes, Biden and the Democrats will lose power, and Putin will remain the president of Russia,” Treta Parsi, a professor at Georgetown University, told FP.

Eh, western “values”

Columnist Vohra concluded that in order to cooperate with Saudi Arabia to lower oil prices, the West may have to sacrifice its values. The problem is, in my opinion, that the West has no values. Just interests. That is why their allies can suddently turn into their enemies and the other way around. If their interests change then any of their allies will be sacrificed without any mercy.

“The Saudis have too much leverage to be taken into account in geopolitics and not put up with constant criticism for human rights violations,”

Biden, seizing the opportunity, should fundamentally rethink American relations with the Saudi monarchy, stop all arms sales and cancel contracts for the repair and maintenance of military equipment of this country.

The author is suggesting introducing tough sanctions against Saudi Arabia. Just like that. The country that served American interests in the Middle East is about to be declared an enemy. The country that supported the American military-industrial complex with tens of billions of dollars is about to be refused to maintain that equipment. Despite all contract having the maintenance of the equipment included.

After the “Arab Spring” Saudi Arabia began to strengthen relations with both Russia and China . The United States continued to provide support to the state, especially in the field of security. Because of this, according to FP, the Saudis had a feeling that the US needed the partnership more than they did.

FP notes that further strengthening of ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia will be a great loss for the US.

Negotiations about using Yuan for oil payments with China are happening in the background.

Argentina joins China’s Belt and Road Initiative

The Latin American country is seeking a way out of US and IMF ‘debt diplomacy’

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez added another event to a highly politicized Winter Olympics when he met in Beijing last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping and agreed to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Argentina becomes the 20th of 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to sign up for the Belt & Road. An official seal on what was already an extensive and growing economic relationship.

In addition to expanding trade and investment opportunities with China, joining the Belt & Road should make it easier for Argentina to obtain funding from the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the BRICS New Development Bank.

And this should reduce its dependence on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a top priority for Fernandez.

Prior to the February 6 meeting in Beijing, Fernandez dropped by Moscow. There he told Russian President Vladimir Putin: “I am determined that Argentina has to stop being dependent on the Fund and the United States. Here I believe that Russia has an important place.”

Coming in the midst of the Ukraine crisis, this was the first of two diplomatic slaps in the face of the US government, which is boycotting the games in Beijing. Fernandez attended the opening ceremony.

The UK had a slap of its own when China took the opportunity to support Argentina’s position on the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). That is another story. It does underline the Global South versus Imperial North nature of the dispute.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Argentina and China. More recently, relations between the two countries have advanced considerably during and after the presidency of leftist Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who led Argentina from 2007 to 2015.

Difficult relations with the US

She had difficult relations with the US, which she blamed for Argentina’s sovereign debt default in 2014, and she put relations with China on the course they are on today, as is demonstrated by this statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

On April 23, 2014, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Pink House in Buenos Aires.

Cristina said that the Chinese government promotes reforms with keen determination, and the whole country is dedicated to the national construction with concerted efforts, by which China has scored great achievements well-known worldwide and become a model for developing countries. The Argentinian side highly values Argentina-China strategic partnership, and is willing to strongly boost political mutual trust between the two countries and to deepen cooperation in economy, trade, infrastructure, agriculture, hydroelectricity, scien-tech and other fields, so as to promote Argentina-China relations for greater development.

Wang Yi said that … China views China-Argentina relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, and stands ready to work with Argentina in maintaining high-level exchanges and deepening strategic communication.

Argentina has the reputation of being an economic basket case, but it has a fairly sophisticated economy and now runs a trade surplus, with exports exceeding imports by 23% in 2021.

Exports were led by agricultural products (35.5%), industrial manufacturing (29.1%) and primary goods (26.9%). Imports were led by intermediate products (36.9%), capital goods (18.8%) and parts and accessories for capital goods (18.1%), according to statistics from Trading Economics.

Argentina’s top three export markets are Brazil, China and the US. Its top three sources of imports are China, Brazil and the US. Total trade with China has expanded by several times in the past 20 years and is now nearly double the total trade with the US.

Significant trade is already in place

Argentina is a major exporter of soybeans and soybean-derived products, corn and beef, competing with the United States in China and other markets. Like Brazil, it offers China an alternative to dependence on the US in the middle of a long-term trade dispute and increasingly acrimonious rivalry.

Also in January, China’s Zijin Mining announced it had completed the purchase of Neo Lithium of Canada and its 3Q lithium brine project in Argentina. According to the press release, the project “is one of the largest and highest-grade projects of its kind in the world. The property is the fifth-largest lithium brine project in the world, and ranks among the top three in terms of grades.”

The Canadian government approved the deal without a security review and “the project has been approved by the Environmental and Mining Authority in Catamarca Province, Argentina.”  

Canadian conservatives and American China-bashers were outraged. Florida Congressman Michael Waltz, a Republican member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, said:

Was the Biden administration notified and, if it was, why did it green-light this acquisition? And if it wasn’t, why wasn’t it in accordance with the agreement [the Canada-US Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals]? Obviously, we’re NATO allies. We, I think, have a common view of the Chinese Communist Party as an increasingly dangerous and threatening adversary.

5G rollout with Huawei and Nokia

In addition to that, Telecom Argentina began to roll out 5G telecom services last year in partnership with Huawei and Nokia.

The Americans didn’t like that either. But what more attractive alternative to any Chinese project in Argentina have they offered?

On the other hand, the United States is closely identified with the IMF, which is not popular in Argentina. Here’s how Fernandez explained it to Putin:

Argentina has experienced a very special situation as a result of its indebtedness and the economic situation that I inherited. From the 1990s onwards [actually since the Latin American debt crisis of 1982], Argentina has looked to the United States, and the Argentine economy depends a great deal on the IMF debt and the US influence in the Fund …  In 2015 we had a government that once again turned its gaze to the United States and generated the tremendous debt we have.

Not a word about financial irresponsibility

Not a word about financial irresponsibility and the workings of Argentine democracy, but that is not the point.

The final sentence of Fernandez’s comment refers to Mauricio Macri, the center-right businessman and politician who succeeded Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in the presidency in 2015 and served until 2019.

Macri repaired relations with the US and liberalized the economy. And when a severe drought crippled the agricultural sector, inflation ran out of control and the government could not meet its obligations, he turned to the IMF.

That led to an even worse disaster.

On December 22, 2021, the IMF published the following press release and staff report: Argentina: Ex-Post Evaluation of Exceptional Access Under the 2018 Stand-By Arrangement. Its summary:

On June 20, 2018, the Executive Board approved the largest stand-by arrangement in the Fund’s history, in support of Argentina’s 2018-21 economic program. After an augmentation in October 2018, access under the arrangement amounted to US$57 billion … The program saw only four of the planned twelve reviews completed, and did not fulfil the objectives of restoring confidence in fiscal and external viability while fostering economic growth. The arrangement was canceled on July 24, 2020.

IMF Country Report No. 2021/279

The IMF defines “stand-by arrangement” as follows:

In an economic crisis, countries often need financing to help them overcome their balance of payments problems. Since its creation in June 1952, the IMF’s Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) has been the workhorse lending instrument for emerging and advanced market countries.

Unfortunately, the stand-by arrangement required fiscal and monetary austerity, which caused a recession. Argentina’s GDP dropped by 2.6% in 2018 and by another 2.1% in 2019. Then, with the onset of the pandemic, it plummeted 9.9% in 2020. Poverty increased by an estimated 50% and capital flowed out of the country.

In this situation, Fernandez headed to Moscow and Beijing to broaden his options, stirring up opposition to his leadership on the right as well.

But default has been averted, the IMF has abandoned “tough love” for what could be called constructive sympathy, and currency swaps between the Argentine and Chinese central banks have added to Argentina’s foreign currency reserves.

This should stabilize the economic situation and allow the Chinese to continue expanding their role in Argentina’s economy. They are not wasting any time.

On January 19, agreements aimed at upgrading Argentina’s railway system were signed by the Minister of Transport, the president of the national railway company and representatives of engineering contractor China Railway International Group and rolling stock maker CRRC Qindao Sifang.