¿Hegemonía americana o primacía americana?

CAMBRIDGE – En la historia moderna ningún país ha tenido tanto poder militar mundial como los Estados Unidos y, sin embargo, ahora algunos analistas sostienen que este país está siguiendo los pasos del Reino Unido, el último hegemón mundial que decayó. Esa analogía histórica, aunque resulta cada vez más popular, es engañosa.

Gran Bretaña nunca fue tan predominante como los EE.UU. en la actualidad. Desde luego, mantuvo una armada cuyo tamaño equivalía a las dos flotas siguientes combinadas y su imperio, en el que nunca se ponía el Sol, gobernó a una cuarta parte de la Humanidad, pero había muchas diferencias entre los recursos de poder relativos de la Gran Bretaña imperial y los de los Estados Unidos contemporáneos. Al estallar la primera guerra mundial, Gran Bretaña ocupaba sólo el cuarto puesto entre las grandes potencias en cuanto a personal militar, el cuarto en PIB y el tercero en gasto militar.

El gobierno del Imperio Británico dependía en gran parte de tropas locales. De los 8,6 millones de soldados británicos en la primera guerra mundial, casi una tercera parte procedía del imperio de ultramar, por lo que, cuando empezaron a intensificarse los sentimientos nacionalistas, al Gobierno de Londres le resultó cada vez más difícil declarar la guerra en nombre de un imperio.

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