Chris Van Es

El poder americano después de Ben Laden

OXFORD – Cuando un Estado es preponderante en cuanto a recursos de poder, los observadores hablan con frecuencia de que se encuentra en una situación hegemónica. En la actualidad, muchos expertos sostienen que el poder en ascenso de otros países y la pérdida de influencia americana en un Oriente Medio revolucionario indican una decadencia de la “hegemonía americana”, pero este término es confuso. Para empezar, la posesión de recursos de poder no siempre entraña que se consigan los resultados deseados. Ni siquiera la reciente muerte de Osama ben Laden a manos de fuerzas especiales de los Estados Unidos indica nada sobre el poder americano en un sentido o en otro.

Para entender por qué, piénsese en la situación posterior a la segunda guerra mundial, en la que correspondía a los EE.UU. una tercera parte del producto mundial y este país tenía una preponderancia abrumadora en cuanto a armas nucleares. Muchos lo consideraban un hegemón mundial. No obstante, los EE.UU. no pudieron impedir la “pérdida” de China, “hacer retroceder” el comunismo en la Europa oriental, impedir el punto muerto en la guerra de Corea, derrotar al Frente de Liberación Nacional de Vietnam ni desalojar al régimen de Castro de Cuba.

Incluso en la época de la supuesta hegemonía americana, los estudios muestran que sólo una quinta parte de las medidas adoptadas por los Estados Unidos para imponer cambios en otros países mediante amenazas militares dieron resultado, mientras que las sanciones económicas sólo lo hicieron en la mitad de los casos. Aun así, muchos creen que la preponderancia actual de los Estados Unidos en cuanto a recursos de poder es hegemónica y que decaerá, como ocurrió antes con la de Gran Bretaña. Algunos americanos tienen una reacción emocional ante esa perspectiva, pese a que sería ahistórico creer que los EE.UU. tendrán eternamente una participación preponderante en los recursos de poder.

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