La Brecha de Inversión en la Defensa Europea

Las disputas sobre política externa entre Europa, Francia (particularmente) y Estados Unidos (EEUU) se están incrementando, y no sólo por el derramamiento de sangre entre israelíes y palestinos y por la conducción de la guerra contra el terrorismo. Pero el criticismo de Europa, a pesar de lo sano que pueda ser, no será considerado seriamente por EEUU en tanto el Continente continúe aprovechándose de la defensa de EEUU, algo que ha hecho durante medio siglo. En un mundo belicoso, una voz creíble en la arena internacional requiere de una capacidad militar considerable y de tecnología militar de avanzada. A Europa le faltan ambas.

La irritación de EEUU con algunos de sus aliados europeos -siendo la Gran Bretaña de Tony Blair la excepción notable- es comprensible. En el actual año fiscal, EEUU gastará $50 mil millones adicionales en defensa, incrementando su gasto total en defensa a $379 mil millones, más del 3% del PIB. Esa suma es, de hecho, baja según los estándares post Segunda Guerra Mundial. Cuando se peleó la Guerra del Golfo en 1991 el gasto en defensa de EEUU era de 4.8% del PIB; y era mucho más alto en las décadas de 1950 y 1960.

El compromiso de Europa con la defensa es una historia distinta. El gasto en defensa equivale a 1.6% del PIB en Alemania, 2% en Italia y 1.5% en España; sólo Francia y Gran Bretaña alcanzan el 3%. Pero confinar la discusión acerca del compromiso con la defensa al porciento del PIB gastado en las fuerzas armadas es insuficiente porque hay economías de escala en el gasto en la defensa. Uno esperaría que los países que son más pequeños gastaran proporcionalmente más en defensa que los países más grandes. En cambio, hoy en día EEUU por sí solo gasta más que la mayoría de sus aliados de la OTAN en conjunto, y lo más probable es que el gasto en defensa en EEUU se incremente todavía más en los años venideros.

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