¿El surgimiento "pacífico" de China?

En las últimas semanas, China anunció un aumento del 12.6% en su gasto militar; el director de la CIA de los Estados Unidos, Porter Goss, testificó sobre un empeoramiento del equilibrio militar en el estrecho de Taiwán; y el Presidente George W. Bush suplicó a los europeos que no levantaran su embargo sobre la venta de armas a China. Sin embargo, los líderes chinos hablan del "surgimiento pacífico" de China, o más recientemente, de su "desarrollo pacífico".

Analistas como John Mearsheimer de la Universidad de Chicago han declarado categóricamente que China no puede surgir pacíficamente y predicen que "los Estados Unidos y China tienen probabilidades de enfrentarse en una intensa competencia sobre seguridad con un potencial considerable para la guerra". Los optimistas señalan que China ha llevado a cabo políticas de buen vecino desde la década de 1990, ha resuelto disputas sobre límites, ha desempeñado un papel más amplio en las instituciones internacionales y ha reconocido los beneficios de utilizar el poder suave. Pero los escépticos replican que China sólo está esperando a que su economía siente las bases para la hegemonía futura.

¿Quién tiene la razón? No lo sabremos durante algún tiempo, pero los participantes en los debates deberían recordar la advertencia que hiciera Tucídides hace más de dos milenios de que creer en la inevitabilidad de un conflicto puede convertirse en una de sus causas principales. Cada bando, al creer que acabará en guerra con el otro, hace preparativos militares razonables que el adversario interpreta como una confirmación de sus peores temores.

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