El momento Sputnik de Estados Unidos en Beijing

NUEVA YORK – Tal vez algún día se recuerde al 8 de agosto de 2008 como el primer día de la era post-norteamericana. O se lo podría recordar como otro "momento Sputnik" cuando, como sucediera con la incursión soviética en el espacio exterior en 1957, el pueblo norteamericano tomó conciencia de que el país había perdido pisada y decidió que era hora de que Estados Unidos recuperara su dirección.

No hubo ningún error de comprensión en el poder y simbolismo de las ceremonias de inauguración de los Juegos Olímpicos de Beijing el 8 de agosto. Ese espectáculo multimediático hizo mucho más que reconstruir la historia de 5.000 años de China; fue una manifestación de que China es una civilización importante que exige y merece el lugar que le corresponde en la jerarquía global.

Tampoco hubo un error de comprensión en el simbolismo de ver al presidente Bush, saludando alegremente con la mano desde su lugar en las gradas mientras el presidente chino, Hu Jintao, estaba sentado detrás de lo que se asemejaba a un trono. Cuesta imaginar que el gobierno de China, obsesionado con cada detalle del protocolo diplomático, no haya orquestado esta imagen sombría de la decadencia de Estados Unidos en relación al país al que le debe 1,4 billones de dólares. Sería difícil imaginar a Franklin Roosevelt o a Ronald Reagan aceptando una posición relativa similar.

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