Realidades rusas

A primera vista, Rusia tiene muchas de las características distintivas de una gran potencia. Tiene un gran arsenal de armas nucleares, es miembro permanente del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, cuenta con enormes reservas de petróleo y otros minerales, tiene un récord reciente de crecimiento económico robusto y más territorio que cualquier otro país, a pesar de que sólo tiene tres cuartas partes del tamaño de la ex Unión Soviética.

Sin embargo, un examen más cuidadoso muestra una Rusia diferente. Mucha de su riqueza refleja el creciente valor de los energéticos, no una actividad económica productiva. Sus fuerzas armadas pueden proyectar poco en cuanto a poder militar utilizable. La población del país es ahora menor que la de Pakistán y está disminuyendo en 500,000 personas por año, lo cual deja grandes porciones de su vasto territorio casi inhabitadas. La esperanza de vida de los hombres ahora es de menos de 60 años debido al alcoholismo, el crimen, las drogas, las enfermedades y el pésimo sistema de salud pública.

Todo esto resulta en una Rusia, que si bien no es un Estado hueco, tampoco es grandioso. Hay límites a lo que Rusia puede lograr en el mundo en cualquier sentido positivo, aunque su capacidad de echar a perder las cosas o de crear problemas es considerable. Las decisiones que se toman en Moscú pueden afectar los precios mundiales de los energéticos, el futuro de los programas nucleares de Irán y Corea del Norte y el éxito de los terroristas. Para bien o para mal Rusia aún importa. ¿Pero cuánto importará?

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