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Argentina: Macri Had A Dream. It’s Fading Fast.

Argentina: Macri Had A Dream. It’s Fading Fast.

When Argentina's President Mauricio Macri first took office in 2015, he told the country that "a dream is being achieved." Elected with a strong mandate for change, he was poised to move Argentina beyond a generation of boom-and-bust economic mismanagement, even if that meant imposing a little pain along the way.

Just over three years on, that dream is looking more like a nightmare.


His early reforms – floating the country's currency, cutting subsidies, and reducing government spending – weren't popular, but they started to drag the country out of a recession by 2017, and things were looking up.

But when investors began to worry that things weren't as rosy as they seemed, Argentina was plunged into a fresh currency crisis early last year. Mr. Macri was forced to seek help from international lenders, recalling precisely the past humiliations he had promised to avoid.

Now, as he looks ahead to elections this October, his approval rating has fallen from 71 percent in 2016 to just 30 percent today. Nearly one-third of Argentines are living below the poverty line, the highest figure registered in recent years. Last week, the government introduced nationwide price controls on basic goods and public services in a somewhat desperate bid to shore up political support.

One big question is whether all of this will help out former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is looking to return to power despite a slew of corruption charges against her. Her left-wing, protectionist policies were ruinous economically, but Ms. Kirchner enjoyed strong support from the working class and rural poor. Argentina's lousy experience under Macri means she could pose a stiff challenge if she makes it to the runoff in November.

The lesson: Democratically-elected reformers are always making a gamble that short-term pain will give way to better days ahead of the next election. That could still be true for Macri, but he is running out of time, fast.

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Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream