By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
I write this column from a republic, Argentina, which is on its way to being Venezuela if not Cuba. Today, 50% of Argentines are poor, 95% have a monthly salary of less than € 400, and something as normal as buying – foreign currency – euros is a “crime”. There are no flights, the country is closed. In contrast, Elizabeth II is monarch of the power with the oldest democracy, and enviable.
The term “soft power” is often attributed to Joseph Nye released in his book “Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power” (1990), and in “Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics” (2004). It is not true that power, authority, to be real must be based on force. Why do monarchies still exist, orphans of ‘real power’? The explanation lies in the ‘soft’ power base of the influence of organizations devoid of the military power that gives rise to ‘hard power’.
The Catholic Church and the Vatican almost without arms, survives all empires including nuclear ones and has had more real authority than any armed force, for example, it had a lot of weight in the fall of the USSR.
Societies do not exist because of a State with police “power” capable of ordering them, but because naturally man has a social vocation and is, basically, moral: if everyone robbed, there would be no guards to stop them. According to Aldous Huxley, “Societies are maintained, not primarily by fear … of coercive power … but by a widespread faith in the decency of others.”
The monarchies have a cost that should be discussed so that it is financed fairly with respect to the citizens, but politicians are enormously more expensive and, much mora important, is that their authority pivots on the monopoly of state violence with which they impose their “ laws ”, which must be coercively imposed because they do not occur naturally, that is, they violate the order of nature.
In Spain, still resonates the outrages during the last republican government that established a regime of terror with the Czechs and the murder of 6,800 religious, among many atrocities, and that ended with a bloody civil war.
But today the Iberian government has a president with a dubious monarchical vocation and a second vice president who belongs to an anti-monarchical party, an open ally of Venezuelan Chavismo, and they are trying to jibarize the monarch’s acts, his visibility, to make him disappear from the scene -like the prohibition to preside over the delivery of the offices to the graduates of the Judicial School of Barcelona – to one day simply discard him.
They want to discard soft power, to be able to install a hard and pure one in the style of political monarchies – absolutist, based on police imposition – such as that of the Kirchners in Argentina or that of the Castros in Cuba.
Now, how the Spanish government has managed to go so far. “Violence is born of fear“, claimed, among many, the historian Antony Beevor. So, politicians abuse the coronavirus to create panic in order to increase, precisely, its hard power since the figures do not justify so much fear. According to the latest report from the US CDC, in case of being infected by this virus, the chances of survival are 99.997% for those up to 19 years old, 99.98% up to 49 years old, 99.5% up to 69 years and 94.6% for those over seven decades.
* Senior Advisor at The Cedar Portfolio and Member of the Advisory Council of the Center on Global Prosperity, de Oakland, California