¿Tigre al acecho, o dragón de papel?

Cuando un alto experto de defensa testificó recientemente ante una comisión del Congreso de EEUU acerca de la capacidad militar china, detalló el extraordinariamente potente programa de armamento que el Ejército de Liberación del Pueblo (ELP) ha estado llevando a cabo. Se refirió especialmente a la creciente cantidad de misiles balísticos de corto, mediano e incluso largo alcance del ELP. Pero el experto concluyó que, a pesar de la alarmante cantidad de misiles, no constituían un ``aumento amenazante''.

Desconcertados por esa conclusión, los congresistas comenzaron a hacer la misma pregunta una y otra vez: si la cantidad actual de misiles del ELP no era un ``aumento amenazante'', ¿qué cantidad lo es? La incapacidad de responder claramente a esta pregunta atemorizó y enojó tanto al experto como al comité.

Pero este episodio ilustra un problema fundamental y frustrante: mientras más sabemos lo que está pasando en China, menos seguros estamos de si realmente se ha convertido en una amenaza. Sabemos que China ha duplicado y vuelto a duplicar su presupuesto de defensa para, entre otras cosas, un masivo programa de desarrollo de armamento, incluyendo la modernización de una capacidad nuclear disuasiva y de segundo ataque. Sin embargo, no podemos decidir si esta capacidad es una amenaza.

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