I was just reading in La Nación an interview with Cristina Krichner, the newly elected Argentine president, and when asked which country she’d like Argentina to emulate, she answered Germany. This is both a good and a bad answer.

What’s good is that she didn’t say that Argentina should be like Venezuela where a neo-militarist uses the country’s wealth to empower himself in the region while his people live in poverty (the average Venezuelan has half the income of the average Argentine). But the bad part of her answer is that it reflects a grave misunderstanding of international politics. After having been in Germany more than 50 times and having built companies there with mixed results, I can simply say one thing about Germany: Germany is successful in its own way, but Germany is so incredibly different from Argentina and Germans are so very different from Argentines that it would be almost impossible to even begin comparing the two.

Cristina Kirchner would have shown a greater sense of understanding having said that Argentina should follow Spain’s model, an objective that could perhaps be met after a 20 year investment in civic education. Plus, being like Spain with all of Argentina’s natural resources wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. Presently, the problem with trying to copy Spain’s model is that Spain, as we know it, may cease to exist in 20 years. The paradox is that Argentina is a country that went from being rich to poor and yet Argentines are all proud of being Argentine. On the other hand, Spain has lived the undeniable success of transforming itself from a third to a first world nation, and yet many Spanish people dream of being citizens of a separate nation.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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