30 de junho de 2011

Para compor o ramalhete ...

Timothy Garton Ash não está muito animado com o que se passa nos EUA, como, aliás, muita outra gente. Convirá ler o artigo na totalidade.

[....] To compare the US in 2011 with the Soviet Union in 1988 is to highlight the huge differences between them. Maybe a comparison with Britain in 1911 would be nearer the mark. Yet clearly the US is wrestling with its own version of the kind of economic, social and political problems that tend to accumulate whenever a country has been a great power for some time.

I sometimes think that the only trouble with the historian Paul Kennedy's famous book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers is that it was published a quarter-century too early, and picked the wrong rising power. Appearing in 1987, shortly before the Soviet Union collapsed and Japan went into a decade of stagnation, it could be dismissed by bullish Americans as scaremongering. But imagine it being first published this year, and identifying China as the rising power.

The US carries some of the burdens of strategic overstretch that Kennedy described. The cost to the US of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other post-9/11 operations, has been calculated at nearly four times that of the cost to the US of the second world war, in today's dollars. Because of the tremendous growth of the American economy this translates into a much smaller proportion of GDP: an estimated 1.2% in 2008, as against 35.8% in 1945. But the decade of worldwide armed struggle – initially forced on the US by Osama bin Laden but then followed by a war of choice in Iraq – has devoured a much larger percentage of Americans' time, attention and energies. Even when Washington tries to leave a conflict to others, as with Libya, it keeps getting dragged in as, so to speak, the military lender of last resort. [....]

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