Poner un bozal a los perros de la guerra

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Cuando se encontraba en París como primer embajador de los Estados Unidos en Francia, Thomas Jefferson reflexionó sobre cómo podría el nuevo gobierno de los EE.UU. evitar los errores de los “déspotas” europeos, que mantenían a sus pueblos subyugados mediante la guerra y la deuda. En una carta a James Madison, observó que la Constitución de los EE.UU. había contenido al menos “el perro de la guerra”, al transferir “el poder de darle rienda suelta del Ejecutivo al Legislativo, de quienes han de gastar a quienes han de pagar”.

Sin embargo, la Constitución designa al mismo tiempo al Ejecutivo como “Comandante en Jefe”, poder que los presidentes americanos han invocado para utilizar la fuerza militar sin autorización del Congreso en más de 200 ocasiones. El Presidente Barack Obama contó con ese poder cuando dijo al Congreso y al pueblo americano que tenía la autoridad para ordenar ataques limitados contra Siria sin acudir al Congreso.

Al afirmar simultáneamente esa autoridad y también solicitar la autorización por el Congreso para utilizarla, Obama ingresa en una pequeña clase de dirigentes que procuran activamente limitar su propio poder. Se debe a que ve su legado histórico como el de un presidente que puso fin a guerras e hizo que resultara más difícil  iniciarlas y reinvertir, en cambio, los recursos de los Estados Unidos en su propio pueblo. En 2003 se opuso a la guerra del Iraq y en 2008 prometió que pondría fin a la “guerra del terror” ilimitada, que había llegado a ser un posible cheque en blanco para los presidentes de los EE.UU. a fin de utilizar la fuerza en cualquier parte del mundo.

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