White House Photo/Pete Souza

Obama el pragmático

CAMBRIDGE – El mes pasado, en su discurso ante los cadetes que egresaban de la Academia Militar de West Point en Estados Unidos, el presidente Barack Obama declaró que algunos de los errores más costosos para su país desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial no fueron producto de la restricción, sino de una "voluntad de zambullirse en aventuras militares sin medir las consecuencias". Si bien Obama puede tener razón, el discurso no hizo mucho para aplacar a los críticos que lo han acusado de pasividad y debilidad, particularmente frente a Siria y Ucrania.

Esta frustración se le puede endilgar en parte a las expectativas excesivamente altas que Obama generó en sus primeros discursos, en los que inspiró a los votantes con promesas de una transformación sistémica. A diferencia de la mayoría de los candidatos, Obama mantuvo esta retórica transformacional incluso después de que le asegurara una victoria en la campaña de 2008. De hecho, una serie de discursos en el primer año de su presidencia elevaron aún más las expectativas, al plantear el objetivo de un mundo sin armas nucleares, al prometer darle un nuevo impulso a la estrategia de Estados Unidos para Oriente Medio y al comprometerse a "inclinar la historia en la dirección de la justicia".

Suele decirse que los políticos democráticos hacen campaña con la poesía y gobiernan con la prosa. Pero no hay motivos para creer que Obama no estaba siendo sincero respecto de sus objetivos. El hecho es que su visión no podía tolerar el mundo recalcitrante y difícil que tenía por delante; tenía que corregir la dirección. Después de un año en funciones, el hombre que había prometido un liderazgo transformacional se convirtió en un líder "transaccional" -pragmático al exceso-. Y, a pesar de lo que dicen sus críticos, fue un cambio positivo.

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