La amenaza rusa se queda sin combustible

BRUSELAS – En Europa, el evento definitorio del año 2014 fue la anexión de Crimea a Rusia y la intervención militar en la región Donbass, ubicada en el este de Ucrania. Las acciones del Kremlin directamente desafiaron a los principios fundamentales que han guiado a Europa desde hace más de seis décadas, en particular, a la renuncia al uso de la fuerza para alterar las fronteras nacionales. Sin embargo, Rusia no está en condiciones de sostener su política exterior agresiva.

A menudo se ha argumentado que Rusia estaba reaccionando ante la intrusión percibida en su “exterior cercano”, misma que estaría siendo incurrida por la Unión Europea y la OTAN. Pero la historia sugiere una explicación más simple: una década de constante aumento de los precios del petróleo envalentonó a Rusia, dejándola lista para aprovechar cualquier oportunidad de desplegar su poderío militar.

De hecho, la Unión Soviética tuvo una experiencia similar hace 40 años, cuando un período prolongado de aumento de los ingresos petroleros dio pie a una política exterior cada vez más asertiva, que culminó en 1979 con la invasión de Afganistán. Los precios del petróleo se cuadruplicaron después del primer embargo de petróleo en 1973, y el descubrimiento de grandes reservas en la década de 1970 sustentó un aumento masivo de la producción soviética. Como resultado, desde 1965 hasta 1980, el valor de la producción de petróleo soviético se elevó en un factor de casi 20.

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