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El peligro de una Europa débil

CAMBRIDGE – En 1973, el Secretario de Estado estadounidense Henry Kissinger, tras un periodo de preocupación de su país sobre Vietnam y China, anunció un “año de Europa”. En tiempos más recientes, después de que el presidente Barack Obama anunciara un “giro” o reequilibrio estratégico de EE.UU. hacia Asia, muchos europeos temieron que se los dejara de lado. Hoy puede que 2016 se convierta por necesidad en otro “año de Europa” para la diplomacia estadounidense, debido a la actual crisis de los refugiados, la ocupación del este de Ucrania y la anexión ilegal de Crimea por parte de Rusia, y la amenaza de que Inglaterra abandone la Unión Europea.

Más allá de los eslóganes, Europa sigue contando con importantes recursos de poder y es un interés vital para Estados Unidos. Aunque la economía estadounidense es cuatro veces mayor que la de Alemania, la economía de toda la Unión es similar en tamaño a la suya, y su población de 510 millones es muy superior a los 320 millones de estadounidenses.

Es verdad que el ingreso per cápita de Estados Unidos es mayor, pero en términos de capital humano, tecnología y exportaciones la UE está muy a la par. Hasta la crisis de 2010, cuando los problemas fiscales en Grecia y otros lugares generaron ansiedad en los mercados financieros, algunos economistas habían especulado que pronto el euro podría reemplazar al dólar como moneda de reserva primaria del mundo.

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