Obama y el ascenso del resto

NUEVA YORK – Las elecciones norteamericanas normalmente producen una breve euforia; la sensación pública de renovación, de posibilidades futuras, actúa como una inyección de adrenalina. Este año, sin embargo, el alivio y la celebración palpables resultarán atemperados por la sensación compartida por muchos de que no todo está bien en Estados Unidos.

Los datos económicos son casi en su totalidad sombríos y no mejorarán en lo inmediato. Y, si bien las cuestiones de seguridad nacional parecen menos apremiantes frente a la crisis financiera, difícilmente hayan desaparecido, dada la difícil situación en Afganistán y Pakistán y los problemas irresueltos en Irak, Irán y Corea del Norte. Es más, el poder de la presidencia norteamericana, y de Estados Unidos, ha sufrido cambios dramáticos en los últimos años, haciendo que nuestra era se diferencie de períodos anteriores cuando el mundo estaba en un estado de cambio y un nuevo presidente norteamericano enfrentaba desafíos profundos.

Hasta hace poco, se podía hablar del “ascenso del resto” sin augurar una merma en el poder norteamericano. Ahora que el ejército norteamericano está en su límite en Irak y Afganistán y la posición fiscal estadounidense se debilita, Estados Unidos se enfrenta a opciones lúgubres. Se trata de una posición atípica para un nuevo presidente norteamericano. Incluso en los años oscuros posteriores a Vietnam a fines de los años 1970 y principios de los años 1980, se percibía una sensación de que Estados Unidos todavía podía tomar sus decisiones económicas sin hacer demasiada referencia al resto del mundo. Ese era el privilegio de tener la economía más grande y más dinámica –una economía que, además, actuaba como un acreedor mundial-. Eso se terminó.

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