Paul Lachine

El poder americano en el siglo XXI

CAMBRIDGE – Según las proyecciones del Consejo Nacional de Inteligencia del Gobierno de los Estados Unidos, en 2025 el dominio americano habrá “disminuido mucho” y el único sector de continua superioridad americana –el poder militar– será menos importante en el mundo cada vez más competitivo del futuro. El presidente ruso, Dmitri Medvedev ha considerado la crisis financiera de 2008 una señal de que el predominio mundial de los Estados Unidos toca a su fin. El dirigente del Partido Liberal de oposición del Canadá, Michael Ignatieff, opina que ya ha comenzado la decadencia de los EE.UU. ¿Cómo podemos saber si esas predicciones son correctas?

Debemos desconfiar de las engañosas metáforas relativas a la decadencia orgánica. Los países no son como los seres humanos, con duraciones de vida previsibles. Por ejemplo, después de que Gran Bretaña perdiera sus colonias americanas al final del siglo XVIII, Horace Walpole lamentó la reducción de Gran Bretaña a la condición de “un país tan insignificante como Dinamarca o Cerdeña”. No previó que la revolución industrial concedería a Gran Bretaña un segundo siglo de ascenso aun mayor.

Roma siguió en posición dominante durante más de tres siglos después del apogeo del poder romano. Ni siquiera entonces sucumbió Roma ante otro Estado, sino que sufrió una muerte lenta tras mil ataques de diversas tribus bárbaras. De hecho, pese a las predicciones de moda sobre la superación de los EE.UU. por China, la India o el Brasil en los próximos decenios, la transición clásica del poder entre los grandes Estados puede ser un problema menos grave que el ascenso de bárbaros modernos: unos protagonistas no estatales. En un mundo basado en la información y con inseguridad cibernética, la difusión del poder puede ser una amenaza mayor que la transición del poder.

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