One definition of mental illness is repeating something over and over, but expecting a different result.
Perhaps that’s why, on April 16, Argentine President Christina Fernández de Kirchner announced a bill for the re-nationalization of YPF, a formerly state-run oil company with majority shares owned by Spanish firm Repsol – the same YPF she supported privatizing as a lawmaker back in 1992.
Over the past weekend, Spain hit back by boycotting biodiesel imported from outside the European Union. This is a clear shot at Argentina’s biodiesel industry, which exported around $991 million in fuel to Spain in 2011.
The decision reflects the same logic shown by President Fernández de Kirchner (often referred to as “CFK,” in part to distinguish her from her deceased husband, former President Néstor Kirchner) in the case of the Malvinas affair: “We’re only taking back what should be ours.”
In both cases, this logic seems to be based on a unique flavor of nationalism rooted firmly not in national history, patriotic fervor, economic strength or even legal precedent, but rather in geographic proximity.
In discussing the timing of the decision, CFK had told reporters, “You build history the way you can, not the way you want. History is not a straight path without stumbles and falls.”
Some would assert that the expropriation is an example of CFK trying to build history the way she wants to, anyway. The results will be clear soon enough.
Read more from guest contributor Jackie M. Briski.