Argentina Elects a New “Anarcho-Capitalist” President

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at Argentina’s new president-elect, a deadly attack on Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital, and the future of U.S. support for Ukraine.

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at Argentina’s new president-elect, a deadly attack on Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital, and the future of U.S. support for Ukraine.

The future of Argentina’s troubled economy will soon rest in the hands of Javier Milei, a far-right libertarian who was elected president on Sunday after railing against the country’s political establishment and pledging a sweeping economic overhaul.

Milei, a first-term congressman, ultimately secured nearly 56 percent of the vote in Argentina’s runoff election on Sunday, defeating Economy Minister Sergio Massa by a margin of about 12 percent. By triumphing over Massa, the ruling Union for the Homeland party’s candidate, Milei’s victory has dealt a major blow to the powerful Peronist movement that has long been influential in the country.

Milei’s election is now set to usher Argentina into uncharted political territory. Once a television celebrity, Milei is a self-described “political anarchist” and “anarcho-capitalist” whose rhetoric and policies have been compared to those of former U.S. President Donald Trump and former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Beyond supporting the relaxation of gun laws, the politician has publicly opposed abortion and claimed that climate change is a part of the “the socialist agenda.”

When he takes office on Dec. 10, one of his biggest challenges will be taking charge of an economy in free fall: More than 40 percent of Argentines are living in poverty, while inflation has soared to 143 percent. To steer the country’s economy forward, Milei has proposed drastic changes, including major spending cuts, eradicating the country’s central bank, and adopting the U.S. dollar—proposals that more than 100 influential economists have warned are “fraught with risks.” 

But by campaigning on social media platforms such as TikTok, he was able to tap into the anger and economic frustrations of young voters, as Lautaro Grinspan wrote in Foreign Policy this weekend. “Having come of age in an era of chronic economic turmoil, young voters say Milei offers a new approach to governing that could turn around Argentina’s fortunes,” Grinspan wrote.

“There’s an environment of rage and frustration over the economic and social results that the country has had for many years. That’s led to this thinking that we need something new,” Valeria Brusco, a member of the Red de Politólogas, a group of women political scientists, told Grinspan. “Even if it ends in disaster, at least it will be a new disaster.”

Monday, Nov. 20: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visits Ukraine.

The Marshall Islands hold parliamentary elections.

Monday, Nov. 20, to Tuesday, Nov. 21: A joint delegation of Arab foreign ministers—including ministers from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia, and Palestine, as well as the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation—pay a two-day visit to China.

Wednesday, Nov. 22: South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol meets with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Wednesday, Nov. 22, to Friday, Nov. 24: French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna visits China.

Thursday, Nov. 23, to Friday, Nov. 24: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosts the Canada-European Union Summit.

Sunday, Nov. 26: South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin is expected to host trilateral talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa.

Gaza’s imperiled hospitals. A deadly strike on Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital killed at least 12 people and wounded dozens more on Monday, according to the Hamas-run Gazan Health Ministry and hospital staff, as Gaza’s medical facilities remain caught in the crossfire of the war between Israel and Hamas. The Gaza Health Ministry blamed Israel for the strike; Israel said that it faced enemy fire from within the hospital and “directly targeted the specific source” back, but that “no shells were fired toward the hospital.”

Monday’s strike came as 28 premature babies evacuated from Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital were safely transferred to Egypt for medical care following the Israeli military’s seizure of that hospital last week. Yesterday, the Israeli military published footage that it said shows Hamas bringing hostages into Al-Shifa hospital; Israel has accused Hamas of operating within and underneath Gaza’s hospitals, which Hamas denies.

Surprise Ukraine visit. To demonstrate the Biden administration’s continued commitment to Ukraine, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin touched down in Kyiv on Monday for high-level talks with top Ukrainian officials. He is set to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, recently appointed Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, and top military officer Gen. Valery Zaluzhny.

Austin’s Monday visit—which was unannounced for security reasons—marks his second trip to the country since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022. It comes as Washington faces competing internal pressures over continuing its aid to Ukraine, particularly as it also turns its attention to the intensifying Israel-Hamas war.

Deadly downpours. The Dominican Republic is grappling with the aftermath of a torrential storm that flooded buildings, induced power cuts, and knocked down a highway tunnel wall over the weekend. At least 21 people were killed, officials said, while as many as 13,000 people were displaced by heavy downpours that Dominican President Luis Abinader described as the country’s “largest rainfall event ever.”

After being called to investigate mysterious screams near a ravine, authorities in Quadra Island, British Columbia, were probably bracing for the worst. They likely weren’t expecting what they found: a mother goat calling for her children, which had been taken from her. “Further investigation revealed that the ‘help’ heard was actually a sad goat from neighbouring goat farm,” a police statement said. In a separate incident, reports of “unsettling” screams—this time coming from the island’s cemetery—turned out to be two people looking for a lost scarf. Perhaps Quadra Island’s easily spooked residents should lay off the horror movies for a while.

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