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Reconciliarse con Sykes-Picot

NUEVA YORK – Este mes se cumplieron cien años de la firma del Acuerdo Sykes-Picot, el pacto secreto entre Gran Bretaña y Francia que inició una década de ajustes a las fronteras de Oriente Próximo tras la caída del Imperio Otomano. La mayoría de los comentaristas han hecho una evaluación negativa del aniversario, insinuando que el acuerdo es en gran medida responsable de la frecuencia y persistencia de los conflictos regionales.

Pero esa interpretación roza la caricatura. Mark Sykes y François Georges-Picot trataron de diseñar un plan que permitiera a Gran Bretaña y Francia eludir una rivalidad desastrosa en Oriente Próximo, y lo hicieron bastante bien: su creación evitó que la región se interpusiera entre las dos potencias europeas, y logró sobrevivir por un siglo.

Es verdad que muchas de las fronteras trazadas por Sykes-Picot son reflejo de acuerdos que se definieron en Europa, en vez de realidades demográficas o históricas locales. Pero eso no es exclusividad de Oriente Próximo: la mayoría de las fronteras en todo el mundo son resultado menos del diseño concienzudo o de la elección popular que de una mezcla de violencia, ambición, geografía y azar.

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