Es la opinión de grandes especialistas.
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Como François Heisbourg y Walter Laqueur… ‘An Anxious Continent’: on Europe’s Decline.
Opinión que comparto y confirma -a mi modo de ver- mi visión personal del ocaso, declive histórico de la vieja Europa.
Madrid, Puerta de Alcalá, 21 abril 2008. Foto JPQ.
- Tras huelgas y manifestaciones… la OCDE confirma el ocaso de Europa.
- OCDE: Europa, crisis decadente; España, peor.
- Asistimos al nacimiento de un nuevo mundo, post occidental y post islamista.
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Financial Times, 4 / 5 septiembre 2013
The notion that the relative power of the west is receding as emerging economies gain political and strategic heft is not novel. It is clear, too, from the Syrian crisis, that the new great powers, including a reinvigorated Russia, are deeply averse to interference in what they see as inalienable sovereign rights – an attitude explained in many instances by their former colonial or dependent status. Moscow, unreconciled with the loss of empire, takes a particularly harsh stance. This positioning leads in turn to reluctance to give multilateral cover to armed intervention, as demonstrated by the wrangling in the UN Security Council since the beginning of the Syrian insurrection in 2011.
In light of these developments, the west was inevitably going to lose some of its ability to set the global agenda and to conduct foreign military operations. This process has been accelerated by the west’s economic slowdown since 2007.
Some of the manifestations of this trend are mechanical: when defence budgets shrink, the ability to intervene is diminished correspondingly. This explains in part why any military strike against Syria was never going to involve more than a handful of countries: only six Nato members field the sort of cruise missiles needed for a brutal and effective one-day operation without having to demolish air defences beforehand in a campaign lasting weeks.
By contrast, the Kosovo air war in 1999 involved more than 20 countries in combat roles. This trend is accelerating. Europe’s defence spending is plunging (by 15 per cent since the beginning of the economic crisis), with no end in sight. The US defence budget is hammered by across-the-board cuts under sequestration, while China’s military expenditure at a pace roughly equal with gross domestic product growth of 7 per cent or more, a trend emulated by most of the emerging powers.
The west’s strategic decline has also been hastened by its own divisions, even when there has been agreement in the Security Council to authorise the use of force. During the 2011 Libyan air campaign, fully half of Nato’s members, and the same proportion of the EU, refused to have anything to do with it. Among those that supported it, not all flew combat missions. America’s otherwise apposite decision to shift its strategic focus towards the Asia-Pacific region has compounded the material effect of these divisions by imposing a greater burden on a limited set of allies with shrinking defence assets. A fellow analyst, Camille Grand, styles the strategic outcome as the “coalition of the unable and the unwilling”.
The Syrian crisis introduces an additional, self-inflicted twist to this situation. The west’s military power may be in relative decline but as the example of cruise missiles demonstrates, countries such as the US, the UK and France continue to have capabilities second to none. The will to act may be weak in most of the west but it is not universally so. The new factor is the sudden decision of the executive branch in the UK and the US to shift war powers to the legislative branch. This what UK Prime Minister David Cameron did, with parliament’s vote against military action on August 29. President Barack Obama is now seeking not merely Congress’s support or approval for an intervention, but its authorisation. This is understandable in view of the conditions under which those two countries embarked on the catastrophic invasion and occupation of Iraq.
The precedent established by these decisions could have been mitigated if – as soon as Syria in all probability crossed Mr Obama’s “red line” last month with the use of chemical weapons – Washington, London and possibly Paris had stated that the issue would be put to an exceptional show of legislators’ hands, given the inevitable absence of a Security Council go-ahead. This was not done. Process in London, and then in Washington, was helter-skelter.
In the US, it was worsened by Mr Obama’s strange argument that a strike was not time-sensitive. Punishment and/or the restoration of deterrence are by definition urgent in strategic affairs: if you are not ready and able to re-establish deterrence quickly, your ability to do so effectively diminishes rapidly.
The French situation is undecided. Public opinion is increasingly unenthusiastic, given the country’s isolation and the unpleasant prospect of suspending a proud country’s action on the say-so of US Congress. However, the executive did not lose the trust of voters during the Iraq misadventure, and an eventual US decision to strike could still involve substantial French participation. But whatever France does, the basic trend is one of a west that is limiting its own political ability to use force, above and beyond its internal divisions and the changing balance of military power.
The events in western legislatures of the past few days have made the world a safer place for those who use chemical weapons to kill their own populations, and for those powers that aid and support them.
Las negritas son mías.