Unilateralismo vs. Multilateralismo

La nueva doctrina estratégica del presidente Bush establece que aunque Estados Unidos (EEUU) tratará de obtener el apoyo de la comunidad internacional para sus políticas, el país no dudará en actuar solo si le hace falta ejercitar el derecho a la defensa propia. Muchos de los aliados de EEUU expresan su resentimiento ante el excesivo unilateralismo de la política externa de la administración Bush, pero incluso el presidente Clinton argumentó que EEUU debe de estar preparado para arreglárselas solo cuando no haya otra alternativa. Así, el debate acerca del unilateralismo vs. el multilateralismo se ha sobresimplificado en gran medida.

Las reglas internacionales obligan a EEUU y limitan su libertad de acción, pero también satisfacen los intereses estadounidenses al obligar a otros ante reglas y normas observables. Además, las oportunidades para que los extranjeros expresen sus deseos e influencien las políticas estadounidenses constituyen un importante incentivo para participar en las alianzas con EEUU. Quizá la membresía de EEUU en una red de instituciones multilaterales que incluye desde la ONU hasta la OTAN reduzca la autonomía estadounidense, pero considerando esto desde el punto de vista de un convenio constitucional, el ingrediente multilateral de la actual preeminencia de EEUU es clave para su longevidad, pues reduce los incentivos para construir alianzas en su contra.

El multilateralismo, sin embargo, depende del grado en el que se aplique. No todos los acuerdos multilaterales son buenos. Como otros países, EEUU debería utilizar tácticas unilaterales ocasionalmente. Entonces, ¿cómo decide uno dónde y cuándo?

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