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(21,834 posts)
Tue Mar 26, 2024, 11:04 PM Mar 26

Seeking Washington's support, Argentina's Milei buys aging F-16s his bankrupt country can't use

Argentine Defense Minister Luis Petri signed an agreement this morning in Buenos Aires with his Danish counterpart, Troels Lund Poulsen, for the purchase of 24 aging F-16 aircraft for the Air Force.

With the agreement, the far-right Javier Milei administration seeks to reaffirm its "alignment" with the United States - at a time when draconian austerity measures at home have paralyzed federal public works, revenue sharing, and even federal aid to the country's burgeoning soup kitchens.

The reequipment of the country's sorely underequipped air force had been suspended since a $2 billion deal with right-wing President Mauricio Macri was scuttled by British pressure in 2017 - prompting the resignation of then-Argentine Ambassador to the U.S. Martín Lousteau.

Macri's center-left successor, Alberto Fernández, later entered into talks with China for the purchase of 15 Chengdu JF-17 combat aircraft - seen as a preferable alternative by many in the Argentine Air Force due not only to the considerable savings; but also to the fact the JF-17s would be new (rather than 1980s-era F-16s), and exempt from U.K. vetoes on British parts and equipment.

But the potential purchase of the JF-17s had been staunchly objected to by Washington - and CIA Director Williams Burns flew to Buenos Aires this week to congratulate Milei for, according to administration sources, "having nothing to do with China."

The deal is the largest between the U.S. and Argentina since a 1994 order of 36 A4M Skyhawk jet attack planes by the similarly "pro-Washington Consensus" Carlos Menem administration.

Britain's effective veto of its military parts or equipment to Argentina, however, rendered the Skyhawks largely useless - a fate many in Argentina's Air Force fear for the $338 million F-16s.

At: https://www-pagina12-com-ar.translate.goog/724479-el-gobierno-no-tiene-plata-para-comedores-pero-le-compra-avi?_x_tr_sl=es&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US&_x_tr_pto=wapp

Argentine Defense Minister Luis Petri and his Danish counterpart, Troels Lund Poulsen, sign an agreement this morning for the purchase of 24 aging F-16 aircraft for Argentina's depleted Air Force.

The far-right Javier Milei administration rushed the agreement - bypassing congressional approval - in a bid to secure Washington's support for his increasingly unpopular and draconian 4 month-old administration.

The charm offensive rested less on the purchase of the F-16s - rendered nearly useless by U.K. vetoes on any British-sourced parts or equipment - as by the cancellation of talks to buy Chinese-made JF-17 aircraft, which are less costly and are not subject to British restrictions.

A record devaluation, and deep cuts to social programs, public works and other domestic needs, have meanwhile pushed an estimated 6 million into poverty just as of January - to a record 57.4%.
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