Barack Obama et la puissance des États-Unis

CAMBRIDGE - L’un des premiers défis que devra relever le président Barack Obama est celui de la crise financière, qui perdure et remet en question l’avenir de la puissance des Etats-Unis. Un article de la  Far Eastern Economic Review affirme que « la débâcle de Wall Street présage un déplacement tectonique global : celui du début du déclin de la puissance des Etats-Unis ». Pour le président russe Dmitri Medvedev, la crise est le signe que l’hégémonie américaine tire à sa fin, tandis que le président vénézuélien Hugo Chavez estime que Beijing compte aujourd’hui plus que New York.

Et pourtant, le dollar, symbole par excellence de la puissance financière américaine, s’est réévalué au lieu de se dévaluer. Comme le note Kenneth Rogoff, professeur à Harvard et ancien économiste en chef du FMI, « c’est assez ironique, compte tenu de la manière dont nous avons échoué dans les grandes largeurs, que la réaction des étrangers a été d’investir chez nous. Ils ne savent pas trop où d’autre aller. Ils semblent avoir plus confiance que nous dans notre capacité à résoudre nos problèmes ».

Autrefois, un aphorisme connu disait que lorsque les Etats-Unis éternuaient, le reste du monde s’enrhumait. Plus récemment, l’émergence de la Chine et des pays producteurs de pétrole ont fait penser à certains qu’un ralentissement économique des Etats-Unis pouvait être découplé du reste de l’économie mondiale. Mais le jour où les Etats-Unis ont attrapé une grippe financière, le reste du monde est aussi tombé malade. Plusieurs dirigeants étrangers sont passés du jour au lendemain de la commisération ironique à la peur – et à la sécurité des bons du Trésor américains.

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