El poder americano y la campaña de 2004

La campaña para las elecciones presidenciales se está calentando y, con ella, el debate sobre el poder americano. Hace un año, tras la victoria relámpago en la guerra del Iraq, que sólo duró cuatro semanas, muchos pensaron que la cuestión había quedado zanjada, pero las posteriores dificultades en el Iraq -y en las relaciones exteriores de los Estados Unidos en general- han situado ese asunto en el centro de la campaña electoral.

Resulta difícil de recordar, pero hace algo mas de un decenio, la opinión establecida -tanto dentro como fuera de los Estados Unidos- sostenía que los Estados Unidos estaban en decadencia. En 1992 el ganador de las elecciones primarias en New Hampshere sostuvo que "la guerra fría ha[bía] concluido... y el Japón la ha[bía] ganado". Cuando publiqué Bound to Lead en 1990, predije el ascenso continuo del poder americano. pero hoy considero igualmente importante poner en duda la nueva opinión establecida de que los Estados Unidos son invencibles y de que el "nuevo unilateralismo" debe inspirar la política exterior de los Estados Unidos.

Después del hundimiento de la Unión Soviética, algunos analistas calificaron de unipolar el mundo resultante y vieron pocas limitaciones al poder americano. Se trata de una falsa apariencia. El poder en una era de la información mundial se distribuye entre los países conforme a un modelo que se parece a una compleja partida de ajedrez tridimensional.

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