El arco de prosperidad de Oriente Medio

PRINCETON – Mientras Egipto tiembla al borde de la guerra civil, con niveles alarmantes de violencia y endurecimiento de las divisiones en todos los bandos, resulta difícil encontrar un punto de verdad brillante en parte alguna de Oriente Medio o en el África septentrional. La agonía de Siria continúa sin cesar; los ataques sectarios en el Iraq están haciéndose más frecuentes y mortíferos; la frágil paz del Líbano está deshilachándose; Jordania está inundada de refugiados; las milicias de Libia campan por sus respetos y distorsionan su política; Túnez afronta una crisis política; y la estrella de Turquía como encarnación de la democracia islámica está apagándose.

Sin embargo, aun con esa letanía de problemas, el Secretario de Estado de los Estados Unidos, John Kerry, ha decidido centrarse en Israel y Palestina. Su justificación –“ahora o nunca”– es casi con toda seguridad cierta, pero hay otras razones igualmente poderosas (si bien con frecuencia pasadas por alto): el enorme potencial para una zona económica palestino-israelí-jordana que podría impulsar el crecimiento y el desarrollo de toda la región.

Dicho con las inmortales palabras de James Carville, director de la campaña de Bill Clinton en 1992: “Es la economía, estúpido”. La deprimente incapacidad de las economías de Oriente Medio y del África septentrional para la creación de la prosperidad que sus pueblos necesitan urgentemente es un factor constante que lanza a las gentes a las calles. No es el único factor, pero el aumento de los precios de los alimentos contribuyó a propagar el fervor revolucionario a partir de un grupo pequeño de activistas a la mayor parte de la población de Egipto en 2011 y de nuevo en junio de este año, cuando el más frecuente motivo de queja contra el ex PresidenteMohamed Morsi no se refería a su ideología, sino a su indiferencia ante las necesidades de los egipcios de a pie.

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