Scott Olson/ Getty Images

Cuando los políticos quieren ser historiadores

STANFORD – “La historia no se repite, pero rima”, dijo Mark Twain. Aguda observación a la que varias generaciones de dirigentes políticos han dado sustento con sus reiterados intentos de decidir cómo serán recordados, atribuyéndose el crédito por lo que anduvo bien y culpando a sus predecesores por lo que anduvo mal.

Muchos políticos no dejan de maquillar los hechos ni cuando abandonan el cargo. Es famosa la frase del primer ministro británico Winston Churchill: “La historia me tratará bien, porque la escribiré yo”. Y los varios volúmenes de su obra sobre la Segunda Guerra Mundial no solo contienen muchas de sus frases más memorables (como aquella de “nunca tantos debieron tanto a tan pocos”), sino que también están llenos de justificaciones para sus acciones durante la guerra.

Tal vez los escritos de Churchill no sean imparciales, pero ofrecen multitud de detalles e información de primera mano, que no es fácil inferir de memorandos y documentos oficiales (usualmente incompletos y de estilo reservado). Los historiadores saben que la presión a recordar el pasado como los vencedores quieren que sea recordado es grande. Como dijo Napoleón Bonaparte: “La historia es un conjunto de mentiras aceptado de común acuerdo”.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now