La gran ilusión

El más triste de los libros del estante de mi oficina es un viejo volumen publicado hace casi un siglo: se trata de The Great Illusion: A Study of the Relation of Military Power in Nations to Their Economic and Social Advantage , de Normal Angell, que intentó probar que la conquista militar era algo obsoleto.

El argumento de Angell era sencillo: en la totalidad de las modernas guerras industriales prolongadas, todos pierden. Los perdedores son quienes se llevan la peor parte, pero también los ganadores terminan peor que si se hubiese mantenido la paz. Muchos padres, hijos y esposos mueren, así como muchas madres, viudas e hijas. Se destruye mucha riqueza. Muchos edificios se convierten en ruinas. Las confiscaciones dañan el imperio de la ley, sobre el que descansa la prosperidad industrial del mundo moderno. Lo más que puede ser dicho, incluso por parte de los vencedores, es que son pequeños perdedores más que grandes perdedores. La guerra industrial moderna es, como lo puso la película de 1982 Juegos de Guerra , un juego muy peculiar: "La única manera de ganar es no jugar".

En la misma época en que Angell escribió, alguna gente argumentaba que la guerra era un medio importante para promover la prosperidad nacional; que la prosperidad comercial era fruto del poder militar. Angell se preguntaba cómo los políticos pangermanos de antes de la Primera Guerra Mundial podían creer que la prosperidad alemana requería de una gran flota de guerra, cuando la ausencia de ella no afectaba en nada la prosperidad de Noruega, Dinamarca u Holanda. Avizoraba la llegada de una era de estadismo racional, en que cada primer ministro y ministro de relaciones exteriores reconocería que, independientemente del tema en disputa, el arbitraje vinculante entre naciones era una mejor estrategia que la guerra.

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